Constituted on February 5, 1943 as the 42nd Infantry Division Band, the “Rainbow Band” can trace its linage back to 1852. The Band serves as the musical ambassador for the 42nd Infantry Division and the New York Army National Guard. Its parent organization, The 42nd Infantry Division, which originated during the First World War was nicknamed the “Rainbow Division” by Colonel (later General of the Army) Douglas MacArthur after he commented that the component regiments of the Division “stretched over the whole country like a rainbow.”
Composed of skilled musicians from all walks of life and professional occupations, the 42nd Infantry Division Band performs a variety of musical genres, ranging from Symphonic/Orchestral, Jazz, Rock and Contemporary Pop. Though the mission is primarily a musical one, the members of this band are Soldiers first and foremost and were ordered into active Federal Service in 2004 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom III. In addition to its deployment, the Band has also served in support of numerous State natural disasters to include State Active Duty to assist in the clean-up efforts following Hurricane Sandy.
Campaign Participation credits for the “Rainbow Band” include the Civil War Streamer, the World War I Somme Offensive, Ypres-Lys and the Flanders 1918 Streamers, the World War II Rhineland and Central Europe Streamers and the War on Terrorism Iraqi Governance Streamer. In addition, the Band has also been decorated with the Portuguese Ordem da Torre e Espada, streamer embroidered FRANCE.