Well here it is years later and I still remember the 9 months I spent at Keesler AFB. I remember that 1st week waxing the bay floor with shoe/furniture polish, pingers always got the crap jobs of policing the barracks. The 2nd week marching in the Endymeon Parade (Mardi Gras) as a boot. Wheeling on to the parade route and the smell of beer hitting you in the face, Girls coming up to pinch you on the rear. What a contrast basic training was to this. We marched for miles that night with the parade finishing in the Superdome.
I had only vaguely heard of drum and bugle before Keesler. Some of the guys that had trickled through the door came from the world of DCI. They opened my ears to the sound of drum & bugle; what great stuff this was. My room dog, Ken, spent some time with the Madison Scouts. He would play some pretty good tapes of this corp or that corp.
Having been a big fan of Maynard Ferguson I loved the wall of sound that DCI pushed out. I still watch the DCI championship competition on PBS when I can catch it. Some day I hope my kids will want to do this ( I have 3 boys and three horns) it has to be a great experience.
The Worlds Fair was that summer, we went to New Orleans to spend a day marching and playing. I remember walking up to Pete Fountain’s club and peeking in the side door to see what was going on. I can’t remember who was with me I think it was Joe Lopez (we were in our uniforms). The guy watching the door wouldn’t let us in, a minute later, another guy came out and pointed us to a couple of empty seats at the bar so that we could watch the end of the set.
Remember any of the negative stuff? Whack n Puff? Beat and Blow? I’ll never figure why some of the instructors persisted in these comments. Yes our primary purpose was to learn a technical skill to do our jobs. My work never suffered because of D&B, my beer drinking probably did. My grandmother told me once, "You’ll always find the time to do what you really want to do." The Blue Knights were a great diversion. I was proud to represent the Air Force in the Biloxi community in this small way.
I remember going back to Keesler for NCO leadership school, I went back to the 3419th one evening, and I sat on the curb and watched practice. I actually believe that the Blue knights made me a better airman.
I owe a lot to Keesler and the Air Force for what it did for me. It was Sophocles who said, "One must wait until the evening to see how splendid the day has been." -Rob Mayer
Enjoy some more of Robs pictures
Here are a couple of pictures from Rich Kirchner's alumni page that Rob is in.