The distinctive uniform worn by The U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own” was created and adopted in the late 1960s, and was debuted at the Inauguration of President Richard Nixon on January 20, 1969. It was designed for the band by the Army’s Institute of Heraldry at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. This distinctive uniform is only authorized for wear by The United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own.”
The uniform is patterned after traditional 19th century military uniforms, featuring Civil War style inverted rank and frock coat. The eight buttons down the front of the blouse allude to the eight notes of the musical scale, and each button is stamped with the Great Seal of The United States. The high collar, known as a standing military collar, is directly linked to the uniforms that General Pershing wore.
The collar insignia features the crest from the unit’s Coat of Arms. The use of miniature medals was started by order of Chief of Staff General Harold K. Johnson. The use of a gold braid is for decorative purposes, and the red color in the hat represents the red coats frequently worn by musicians up to the time of the Civil War.
General John J. Pershing
“Pershing’s Gray” Uniform
Until World War II, The U.S. Army Band wore several variations of the “Pershing’s Gray” uniform. During World War II, slate blue uniforms were worn. After World War II, the band wore a variety of olive-drab uniforms, including “Ike” jackets.
In 1949, the standard Army dress blue uniform with cap insignia and yellow aiguillette was adopted.
The “Lion Tamer” Uniform
During the early 1950s, the band briefly wore a yellow uniform, known as “The Lion Tamer.”
In 1957, the more elaborate Army dress blues were adopted (worn at Kennedy funeral).