Ian Glenday - Drum Major - 1961-1962 - Rochester, NY
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  I joined the Keesler AFB Blue Knights in January 1961 as a snare drummer.  I had been a percussionist since grammar school and was a member of the East High band and orchestra in Rochester, NY.  I got my Drum Corps experience with the Irondequoit, NY Ridge Culver Fire Department Corps and then went on to play with the Hilton/Irondequoit/Rochester Crusaders until I entered the AF in October 1960.

I was in ATC Radar Maintenance school (52 weeks) so I was at Keesler for a while.  I was chosen to be Drum Major in May of 1961 primarily based on my drum Corps experience.

It was a very exciting time for a young guy and I had a very good group of men in the Corps.  I am sure many of those who were in the Corps did very well in their AF jobs or careers based on the good grounding we had as students and with the extra effort that was required to be in the Corps.

I attended the first “Rope” school and because there were so many different colors of Ropes, I decided to have mine be dark blue.  It looked like a black rope so needless to say there were many “What the hell is a Black Rope?” comments as I went about the base in uniform.

Recruiting for the Corps was always interesting. One day an Airman come in to audition for the drum line.  When asked what experience he had.  He replied, “Last week when I had KP, I was fooling around drumming with the serving spoons and someone said I should try out for the Corps.”

We were in the 90th Squadron on the Old Base during my time there.  We transitioned from the original WWII barracks (two open bay barracks) to renovated ones with two men rooms, very nice toilets and most welcomed the Central AIR CONDITIONING and HEAT.

During the latter part of my tour, the Base Commander decided to assign a KAFB Band member to the Corps to help me manage the day-to-day activities.  He was TSgt Alexander Gombos, a trombone player with the band.

TSgt Gombos had been at Keesler for nearly twenty years as I recall and got us new instruments (bugles and drums) and many other amenities we had not known about or did not have the time to pursue.

In addition to the annual trip to Mardis Gras in New Orleans, he had a trip scheduled for Moody AFB in Valdosta, GA.  We flew there and back on two C-47s. It was pretty exciting at the time.

He was a great asset to the Corps.  Other great events were the Biloxi Firemen’s parade and acting as escorts for the Miss Hospitality contest in Biloxi.

I attempted to have the Corps come into the modern world of drum corps when I became Drum Major, as the accoutrements were WWII in nature.  I eliminated white gloves for drummers, the whistle and the mace (stick).

I did get a front and center with the Base Commander after the first Base Parade when I did not use the mace.  He understood but he won the argument over its use as a historical item and cited that the Service Bands Drum Majors all used one.  He was also an O-6 and I was an A3C.

The Corps was privileged during the latter part of 1961 to get a package of music for AF volunteer drum corps written by MSgt Truman Crawford when he was with the AF Drums Corps at Bolling AFB.  I will never forget that.

I did have the honor of discussing this with retired Marine Corps Colonel Tru Crawford at DCA finals the year before he died.  I went on to become a SSgt in Radar Maintenance then cross-trained into AFOSI as a Special Agent.  I retired as a SMSgt after 24 years.

There were many highlights to that career including being Program Manager for the AF TSCM Program, establishing some of the security requirements for the Shuttle program and, being in Tehran doing protective service for Americans before the Shah fell.

I’ve since worked on the Shuttle Program as a Security Specialist and was a Security Manager at Sikorsky Aircraft until my early retirement in 1999.  My wife and I are now in Rockledge, FL enjoying the rays.  We do travel up North to attend DCA finals each year.


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