Beginning Thursday, a World War II-era song will ring out through the Quad Cities after “Reveille” on Rock Island Arsenal.
According to First Army Historian Capt. Kevin Braafladt, after the success of First Army during World War II, leaders felt a song would forever honor the command’s accomplishments, a news release says.
“It was only following World War II that First Army addressed its lack of a unit song which most division-sized units had,” Braafladt said in a news release. “In 1946, First Army was settling into its new home at Fort Jay, on Governors Island (New York), when Technical Sergeant (TSGT) Casper L. Boragine composed the ‘First Army March.’”
The march later evolved into the “First Army Song” and was dedicated to Gen. Courtney Hodges and his soldiers who worked to defeat Nazi Germany in World War II.
Braafladt said over the following years First Army evolved a number of times and the song was lost to time to the point that Soldiers of the First Army band, who served in the mid 1990s, had heard about the song but had never seen the music.
In 2018, when Lt. Gen. Thomas S. James, Jr., took command of First Army, he realized during his assumption of command ceremony that First Army did not have a unit song and made a request to the staff to find one.
Through an intensive search of several National and Army archives the original 1946 score was located. It was then arranged by Spec. David P. Hollenbeck and first played by the Pershing’s Own Army band at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Virginia.
It is now played at every formal ceremony at First Army on Rock Island Arsenal.
First Army, as U.S. Forces Command’s designated coordinating authority for implementation of the Army Total Force Policy, partners with U.S. Army Reserve and Army National Guard leadership to advise, assist, and train Reserve Component formations to achieve Department of the Army directed readiness requirements during both pre- and post-mobilization through multi-component integrated collective training, enabling FORSCOM to provide Combatant Commanders trained and ready forces in support of worldwide requirements.