Fifty years ago today, the band's four-engine transport plane was approaching Rio de Janiero on a goodwill tour when it collided with a Brazilian airliner. All 19 bandsmen aboard died. The Washington Post's story, slideshow and video cover the story and ceremony here.
I was a fleet sailor, my years spent with fleet bands. Like many fleet bandsmen, I harbored both appreciation for and envy of the members of this "special band."
But I have come to realize that every Navy band is special. Each faces special challenges with a special blend of talent, discipline and sacrifice. Whether homeported in Washington, DC or Yokosuka, Japan, or afloat somewhere in the vast stretches between, each is special.
Events such as today's ceremony remind us that no organization can lay a stronger claim to the title "Band of Brothers" than the men and women who have worn the lyre of the U.S. Navy Musician.