552nd Air Force Band
Newburgh, New York, located in Orange County, sits on the west bank of the Hudson River, opposite Beacon, New York, and 60 miles north of New York City, and nearby to the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. Its major industries include the manufacture of textiles, clothing, bricks and floor tiles, electronic components, sportswear, handbags, plastics and cosmetics. Stewart International Airport has become a major cargo facility and has brought in new businesses, i.e., Miller Brewing Co., can operation, and a flourishing service industry. The Standard Met¬ropolitan Statistical Area, which includes only Orange County, has a population of 300,000. New York State Routes 87 and 90 (the New York State Thruway) meet at Newburgh.
Congressional Districts: 21-22
The 552nd Air Force Band is collocated with Head¬quarters, New York Air National Guard. It provides ceremonial music at various military and New York community events to reflect favorably on the military.
The 552nd can be divided into several smaller elements with the capability to per¬form at a wide range of musical affairs. This requires members to be diversified in per¬forming many styles of music. The various musical groups within the 552nd are: Con¬cert Band, Ceremonial Unit, Protocol Combo, Stage Band, Jazz and Pop Group, and chamber ensembles.
Many of the people live in the Newburgh area but they also draw from the New York City/Long Island area. All of the members are engaged in the music industry them¬selves as educators and/or performers with various local groups and community bands.
The 552nd Air Force Band was activated on August 16, 1942 at Pueblo Army Air Base, Colorado, as the 52nd Army Air Forces Band. The unit was later re¬designated as the 552nd Army Air Forces Band in March 1944. A year later, the unit was transferred to an overseas assignment at Casablanca, French Morocco, North Africa, assigned to the Air Transport Command. The unit remained in Africa until April 10, 1946, when it was inactivated and its personnel were transferred or absorbed into other units. The 552nd Army Air Forces Band was allotted to the New York State Air National Guard in May 1946 with an auth¬orized strength of 29. In September 1947 the band was redesignated 552nd Air Force Band with an assign¬ment station at the State Armory in White Plains, New York.
The band was ordered to active duty during the Korean Conflict on March 24, 1951 and assigned to the 15th Air Force of the Strategic Air Command at March Air Force Base, California. On December 1, 1952, after 21 months of active duty, the band was relieved from active military service and returned to the State of New York in an inactive status. In 1954, the band was again reformed and assigned to West¬chester County Airport as a New York Air National Guard contingent. The band operated from the State Armory in White Plains and the Dean Street Armory in Brooklyn until July 1959 where it relocated to Roslyn Air National Guard Station in Roslyn, Long Island. While stationed at Roslyn Air National Guard Station, the 552nd performed at such historic events as the 1961 departure ceremonies at Hancock Field in Syracuse, New York; for the federal activation of NYANG forces being sent to Berlin, Germany; the opening ceremony of the lower level of the George Washington Bridge in August 1962, the New York State Winter Olympics at Lake Placid; and the New York City Marathon.
In May 1986, the 552nd Air Force Band was relo¬cated to Stewart International Airport in Newburgh, New York.
New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs: Military