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1st Marine Division Band

1st Marine Division

Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003)

President Bush declared a “War on Terror” after terrorists attacked the World Trade Center and Pentagon on September 11th, 2001. Soon after, Marines deployed to Afghanistan in support of “Operation Enduring Freedom.” The Marines of the 1st Marine Division Band took up guard duty at Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton and prepared for deployment. In February of 2003, the 1st Marine Division Band began deploying to Kuwait in support of the war on terror.

While in Kuwait, the band stood duty as well as trained on machine guns and convoy security prior to deployment into Iraq. In March, the band crossed over into Iraq, providing security for the Division Headquarters both while on the move or at each nightly stop digging fighting positions and forming perimeter security. They traveled by convoy to Baghdad in a little over 2 weeks. The band finally stopped at the Secret Police Headquarters in Baghdad for eight days until moving south to Ad Diwaniyah.

Once the band reached Ad Diwaniyah they retrieved their instruments and started performing morale boosting concerts all over Iraq. They played in Babylon, Camp Commando, and around Diwaniyah for the numerous units in the surrounding area.

In early June the band returned to the United States and within a few days they were out providing musical support as if they hadn’t left.


Operation Iraqi Freedom II (2004)

Soon after returning from Operation Iraqi Freedom I, the 1st Marine Division Band started training for the next deployment. Late in 2003 they were informed that they would be returning to Iraq. In February 2004 the band deployed to Kuwait and remained there until the 1st Marine Division advanced into Iraq. Soon thereafter, they began a 3-day push to Ar Ramadi. This was to be the band’s home for the next seven months.

In Ar Ramadi they took control of perimeter security from the U.S. Army. For this deployment, their primary mission was to control the base operations and provide perimeter security for Camp Blue Diamond. Additional assignments for the band included security on convoys to nearby bases and patrols outside the perimeter. Even though the base endured countless indirect fire attacks, the Marine Musicians still kept an intense vigilance.

Although performances were very limited during this time, 1st Marine Division Band still participated in several ceremonies including the change of authority ceremonies in both Ramadi and Fallujah, and the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing and Division change of commands.


Operation Iraqi freedom III (2005-2007)

In the most recent deployment, the band was attached to Headquarters Company, Regimental Combat Team 5 and was deployed to Camp Fallujah, Iraq from February 2006 to January 2007 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom 05-07. This deployment differed from OIF I and II in that the band continued its musical mission at home, while elements of the band deployed.
 

The band’s primary role in Iraq was as a security detachment. Command element members served as the Security Officers, Security Platoon Commanders, Company Gunnery Sergeants for Headquarters Company, Convoy Commanders, and Security Platoon Sergeants. Other members of the band were stationed at the Government Center in Fallujah providing over-watch security for the compound. This security allowed Civil Affairs Group personnel, as well as government, military and civilian officials to conduct business at the compound in safety. Division bandsmen were also attached as gunners, drivers and vehicle commanders to the security element of an Explosive Ordinance Disposal team, and also a multi-purpose security convoy.
 

Following redeployment at the end of January 2007, the 1st Marine Division Band was once again a full unit and continued their musical mission aboard Camp Pendleton. An annual concert at The Center for the Performing Arts, in Escondido, California marked the first major public performance following the deployment.
 





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