Mike Loewen - Drum Major - Bugle Sgt - 1982
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I arrived at Keesler in the middle of March in 1982, as an A1C in the 305x4 (Computer Maintenance) area.  I just managed to miss the Mardi Gras parades, where the rest of the corps had a great time.  The corps was just what I needed to make my stay at Keesler complete, as I was an avid trombone player before enlisting.  Playing bass baritone bugle and contra in the Blue Knights was just the ticket.

The bass baritone section at the flightline(me in the middle, Scott Newberry, our Quartermaster on the left)

Our NCOIC was SSgt David Cook, assisted by Sgt Legg and SSgt Hal Doyle as the Musical Director.  Hal was an instructor in Radio Maintenance, a great lead soprano player, and had marched with the Reading Buccaneers, a DCA corps from PA.  Our squadron commander was 1LT Dudley Zoller.

My progression through the corps hierarchy was somewhat unusual.  Our Drum Major was leaving, and because of my experience and degree in Music Education I was installed as the new Drum Major.  I remember the final day of rope school, when we all were allowed to don our new ropes - there was some little shock when I whipped out my Red Rope and put it on!  :-)

The Corps salutes

I didn't particularly enjoy the DM job (I'd rather play than direct), and it was with great relief that I was able to step down and hand over the mace to Mike Mayes, who had marched as DM with the Blue Devils from CA.  I took over the job of Bugle Sergeant, and retained it until my departure for McChord AFB in December of 1982.

The Blue Knights, Fall of 1982

After the passing years, I can't remember too many names from the 1982 corps, but a few have stuck with me.  Christine Krebs was a Silk, and a good friend.  Perry "Scott" Newberry and Jim Inscoe were fellow bass baritones.  Scott was also the corp Quartermaster.  Lawrence "Taco" Evarro played contra bass and was a terror to new Boots.  :-)  John Sparks came in later on contra.  William "Spider" Longwell played mellophone, and could really wail.  Colin Hefley played soprano, Bob Reagan was Barracks Chief and Robert "Cookie" Jarvis was later Corps Commander.

The Corps in the Quad

Children of Sanchez was one of our favorites, and Hal Doyle and I traded solos in the breaks.  Hal also arranged Eye of the Tiger shortly after it became popular, and I think we were one of the first corps to play it.  Great Gate of Kiev, Gonna Fly Now and 1812 Overture were other favorites.  Hal even threw together an arrangement of the Muppet Show theme, which we had a hard time playing with a straight face.

The Corps on the flightline

After Keesler, I spent the rest of my stint at McChord working on the Air Defense Computer System (ROCC).  I made it back to Keesler once more for a week's worth of additional training in 1984 or '85, and checked out the corps - Hal Doyle was still there at the time.  I left the Air Force in September of 1986, as a SSgt in the 25ADS at McChord AFB in Tacoma, WA. Now, I'm back in PA working at Penn State as a Lead Applications Programmer/Analyst for the Center for Academic Computing.  I still play, more than ever, in groups ranging from Dixieland Jazz, dance bands, brass quintets, trombone quartet and trombone choir, and community band.

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