The UNITED STATES AIR FORCE BAND OF THE GOLDEN WEST received its current name on May 1, 1997. However, the band’s history dates back to 1941, and throughout the intervening decades it was known as the “15th Air Force Band of the Golden West,” the “Air Mobility Command Band of the Golden West,” “America’s Band in Blue,” and the “504th Air Force Band of the Golden Gate.”
The U.S. Air Force Band of the Golden West has two proud parents: the 15th Air Force and the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD).
The 15th Air Force Band of the Golden West, originally called The Air Force Band, was activated on October 1, 1941 at Scott Field, IL. In 1944, the band moved from Scott Field to Camp Shanks, NY, before heading to war-torn Europe. The band was re-designated as the 523rd Army Air Force Band and stationed at Le Havre, France and Warton, England (1945). After the war, the band returned stateside to Camp Patrick Henry, VA, and was inactivated on December 13, 1945. On September 26, 1947, just 8 days after the creation of the United States Air Force as a separate branch of military service, the inactive band was re-designated the 523rd Air Force Band. On December 1, 1952, the band was placed under Strategic Air Command at March Air Force Base, CA. On May 1, 1965 it was assigned to the 15th Air Force and became known as the 15th Air Force Band. In 1991 the band was officially re-designated as the 15th Air Force Band of the Golden West, and in 1994 it became known as the Air Mobility Command Band of the Golden West when it merged with America’s Band in Blue at Travis Air Force Base.
“America’s Band in Blue” has its own unique history and heritage. In 1959, it comprised the Air Force component of the NORAD Command Band. During this time, the band made numerous radio broadcasts and television appearances, including The Today Show, The Tonight Show, and The Dinah Shore Show. In 1979, the band was re-designated the 504th Air Force Band of the Golden Gate and moved to Travis Air Force Base, CA. In 1991 it was re-designated as America’s Band in Blue. On July 1, 1994 the band was inactivated with all personnel and equipment reassigned to the Air Mobility Command Band of the Golden West at Travis Air Force Base, and becoming the only active duty Air Force band west of the Rockies. Changing its name to the “United States Air Force Band of the Golden West” on May 1, 1997, this 47-member organization continues to maintain its rich heritage of musical excellence and outstanding Air Force professionalism in over 500 annual performances throughout the Western states of California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Nevada.