Winning best performance for large ensemble band last year just wasn’t enough. After being so close to winning the Marine Corps Band of the Year Award in 2012, the U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific Band went into 2013 with a newfound hunger and a chip on their shoulder, and it paid off.
The MarForPac Band was recognized as the Marine Corps Band of the Year during a ceremony here, Jan. 9.
After more than a year of dedication – not only to music, but to all aspects of Marine Corps training – their efforts were rewarded. From swim qualification, to fitness tests, and even the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program, the MarForPac Band topped the charts.
“When they won Performance of the Year (in 2012), they wanted and thought it was in their grasp to win Band of the Year,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Michael J. Smith, band officer, MarForPac Band.
The Marines learned of the award from the band officer and Master Gunnery Sgt. Mark D. Gleason, the MarForPac bandmaster, in mid-December.
“The band was stoked,” said Smith, explaining that this marks the first time that the MarForPac Band has been named the best band in the Marine Corps. “Emotions were high.”
Just like everything in the Marine Corps, the band understands that the unit is very important.
“Teamwork has to exist for the unit to succeed. … It’s essential,” Smith said. “Nothing is on an individual. So to (win the award,) they had to agree together that they were going to push each other and motivate each other for 365 days. They earned it.”
The MarForPac Band did not place under fourth in any of the four musical categories out of the 10 field bands across the Marine Corps. They also scored highest in the swim qualification and received a high average score of 290 on the CFT.
With regard to the results, Smith said only one word, “Consistency.” It signified that the band’s consistent scores across the board are what won the award; they weren’t the highest in everything, but they were always close to the top.
Once Lt. Gen. Terry G. Robling, MarForPac commander, heard the news, he wanted to recognize the band in front of the entire command, and he did so. Amidst applauding Marines, he stated how proud he was to have “the best in the Corps.”
“The target is on your back now,” said Smith to the band at the conclusion of the ceremony. “Everyone knows what you can do, now you have to do better than last year.”