Recreating History

The Patton Third Army Living Historians is proud to post this history of a “Band of Heroes”

The 61st Army Ground Forces Band
“Patton’s Third Army Band”
A story newly told

“The Army is a team. It eats, sleeps, and fights as a team.” Patton was right about that and part of his team was the 61st Army Ground Forces Band. Most people don’t know that Patton had a headquarters band in Third Army. Not only do they not know about the band, they have no idea that before the “Patton” movie, there was a real Third Army March and that it was written by Patton’s band leader, Chief Warrant Officer Gregorio A. Diaz.

These men were accomplished musicians, they had to be to be in Patton’s Third Army Band. They were much more. They were soldiers who had duties to perform when they were not performing. Some received Purple Hearts, some the Bronze Star for conspicuous duty. They were armed with M-1 Carbines, slept in pup tents in the field, and traveled with the Army. They were susceptible to being killed or wounded while performing their duties. When they were dead tired, cold and wet, they performed for those who were dead tired, cold and wet. They were there at the hospitals and performed. Their music was soothing and uplifting to the wounded and dying. They helped the morale of the doctors and nurses as they worked continuously in the evacuation hospitals. They were there when the men were awarded or promoted, and performed at their funerals. They were the first to be heard in the morning with reveille and the last to be heard at taps. When others were under fire so too were they.


CWO Gregorio A. Diaz, c. 1945 (Click for full image)

This was a band of heroes of America’s greatest generation. So lets back up a minute and explain how Patton came to have a band.

In fact, it is not generally known why a fighting force would have a band, or even need one.

They had a huge and important mission. Morale! An army with a high morale is hard to beat. It had pride in being the best and the music reminds them they are the best. This is time honored. It was so important that the US Army saw fit to not only describe it but make it into a mission statement.

This information can be found in the new photo book!

Copies are now available using this link. 

The book is also now available, world wide, through Amazon,

FM 28-5
No. 1
WASHINGTON, April 22, 1942.

FM 28-5, March 31, 1941, is changed as follows:

Mission.-Military bands provide a powerful means to commanding officers for stimulating and maintaining the moral of their units. Good bands contribute directly to the contentment and well-being of the troops. Band personnel may be suitably employed in the performance of those combat duties which, their arms and training fit them. It follows, therefore that bands, as military units, must maintain high standards of military efficiency, and that their musical performance be characterized by its excellence and by its spirit. Specifically the missions of the band are-

a. To participate in and to furnish the desired music at military formations.

b. To furnish musical entertainment for the command on such occasions as may be prescribed by the commanding officer.

c. To perform suitable combat duties as directed by the commander of the unit to which the band is organically assigned or attached. 

In the old regular U.S. Army, before the outbreak of World War Two, regiments often had a regimental band. They performed in parades and many played the modern music of the period and played for army dances. Marches were an absolute necessity and the requirements to learn quite a few of them was always constant. John Philip Sousa marches were standards and there were many others required to be played at formal affairs.

For more information see The United States Army Band : Guide To Ceremonial Music

Prior to WWII
If the band was part of the United States Cavalry Regiment, they learned to play while mounted on a horse. In fact the US Army Field Manual FM-28 dated March 31, 1941, gives the orders and positions, it states in part,


a. For organization and duties of personnel, see chapter 1.

b. In addition to the qualities described in paragraph 9, the selection of the drum major should be based upon superior horsemanship and sense of pace and gait.

c. For mounted ceremonies, the band should be furnished with quiet, well-trained horses which by trial have been found not to become excited by the appearance and sound of band instruments. As the band does not have personnel for stable management, the horses selected for the band should be maintained in the stables of some other organization but made available to the band for training purposes.

d. The mounted duties of the band, which are largely of a ceremonial nature, require only a moderate degree of instruction in horsemanship. This instruction should be carried out according to a modified scheme of training, based on the work at slow gaits (walk and trot) as prescribed in FM 25-5

Basic Field Manual : The Band Click to view or download
Technical Manual : Field Music Click to view or download
Fort Oglethorpe Georgia 6th Cavalry Regimental Band performs on the drill field in 1941. Many of the 6th Cavalry regimental band would stay with the band until war’s end. (Click for full image)
General Patton, and Aide Decamp, Lt. Col Charles Codman, confer with Chief Warrant Officer Diaz, Bandleader of the Third Army Band. (Click for full image)
Third Army Trophy Case (Click for full image)

The 6th Cavalry Regimental Band Goes To War.

This organizational structure found in the field manual was standard operational procedure of all military bands and the 6th Cavalry Regiment had such a band. By 1942 the 6th Cavalry Regiment, complete with its band, awaited entry into the war. There is quite a long story associated with this but to make a long story short, the 6th Cavalry Regiment, an old regiment of mounted horse troops were mechanized and trained to be sent to Europe. They wound up being sent to England and specifically to Scotland and were fully arrived by October 1943. The 6th Cavalry Regiment would soon cease to exist and be reorganized as the 6th Cavalry Group. At the end of 1943 the Regiment was reorganized, and the final parade of the old 6th Cavalry Regiment was held on December 31, 1943 in Tandergee.

Under the new reorganization it became the Sixth Cavalry Group, the Sixth Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron, and the 28th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron combined and reinforced. Through a quirk in organization and much to the great luck of the regiment, the regimental band remained within the new 6th Cavalry Group. However, Army regulations would not allow this to continue for long. They were top notch musicians and well known to General Patton. Patton wanted the 6th Cavalry Group and knew many of the men from his horse cavalry days.

General Patton managed to get the 6th Cavalry Group assigned to him and they would become known as “Patton’s Household Cavalry.” Patton was not done yet. He wanted the band. A regiment could not have a band but an army could. They were top-notch musicians and it was obvious to the commanding generals that entertainment, ceremonies and other official functions would indeed require a band. In an unprecedented move, the band was kept intact during re-organization but army regulations would no longer allow it to be attached to a smaller organic unit. Patton, having heard the band during an inspection trip, quickly moved to have it reassigned as the Third Army 61st Army Ground Forces Band. The band leader was CWO Gregorio A. Diaz.

Now the story of the 61st Army Ground Forces Band and CWO Gregoria A. Diaz was lost to history, but not because it was not a good story. It was lost because no one wrote about it. After the war, most soldiers went their separate ways and those that stayed seldom talked about the war. Books and movies came and went but they were about fighting and heroics of war. Few knew the band were fighting soldiers when not playing music and they were overlooked…but no longer.

The army was a team. They were a group of soldier musicians who did their part and almost 70 years after the end of World War II, part of the story is now being told.

In June of 2012, while on a staff assistance visit of HQ Third Army/U.S. Army Central for the Army Records Management and Declassification Agency, Lawrence A.(Larry) Devron, passed by a trophy case exhibit of the Third Army Band located there. Inside the glass was a score that had the inscription: “Condensed Score”, “Third Army March” and “Respectfully dedicated to Lt.Gen. George S. Patton Jr., and the gallant officers and men of the Third U.S. Army”; Composed and arranged by Gregorio A. Diaz, Chief Warrant Officer (C.W.O.), Bandleader, 61st Army Ground Forces (A.G.F.) Band, Germany, 10th April, 1945. This was the beginning of a story that needed to be told.


April 10, 1945.

General Patton loved the pomp and circumstance of a good military ceremony and a parade. Knowing Patton’s keen love of marches, the band leader of the 61st Army Ground Forces band wrote and finished on this day a March he was a going to call the General Patton March and dedicate it to General Patton. Patton appreciated the gesture but requested it be dedicated to the Third Army. So CWO Gregorio A, Diaz, did both. He changed the title to the Third Army March and dedicated it thus, “Respectfully dedicated to Lt. General George S. Patton, Jr., and the gallant officers and men of the Third US Army.” It was played for General Patton and would have been played at the Guard of Honor and other functions when appropriate. “It was an honor for Gregorio Diaz, who had been born in a poor village in the Canary Islands and left home when he was 12. He’d made his way to Mexico, crossed into the United States in 1924, and went right to Fort Bliss, Texas, where he enlisted in the 7th Cavalry’s band,” his son said in an interview. (Diaz, Gregorio A. CWO; Bandleader, 61st Amy Ground Forces Band, Third U.S. Army, Diaz family collection.)

Fast forward to 2012.

After the war’s end, the “Third Army March” musical score was hidden in plain sight for over 40 years in a band trophy case dedicated to the musicians of the Third Army of WWII.  In 2012 a former member of The U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own”, Colonel (Va.ARNG-Retired) Lawrence Devron, noticed the aged score which lay dormant in the trophy case. He asked if there was a recording of it. It had never been recorded. Devron later searched online resources and records and found an article, Mr. Tom Diaz, CWO Diaz’ son, had written about  his father’s story. He also had a detailed scrapbook and memorabilia of this famous Bandleader father and helped put the history together. Devron worked with The US Army Band staff and located the instrumental parts written from the score and in little over a year, on November 6, 2013, the “Third Army March” was performed and recorded by The U.S. Army Band (TUSAB) “Pershing’s Own” at Brucker Hall on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Arlington, Virginia. The performing ensemble was The U.S. Army Concert Band conducted by First Lieutenant (1LT) Silas Huff and engineered by the production staff. Mr. Tom Diaz, the late CWO (Retired) Gregorio A. Diaz, Bandleader of the 61st Army Ground Forces Band in Germany, attended the recording session. The recording was the first time the march had been recorded since it was composed for General Patton and the Third US Army. The March had not been heard publicly since 1973 when the Third U.S. Army and the Third Army Band were deactivated. Tom Diaz heard it for the first time and was delighted. Tom’s father had been gone for 24 years and the memories of a soldier father came back. Tom had kept his father’s memory alive and would occasionally go through his father’s WWII scrap book and read about the band, his father, Third Army, and General Patton.

His father had come by ship from Spain to Mexico as a youth. He, like so many, came in from Mexico, undocumented. The U.S Army offered an opportunity. CWO Diaz, joined and later became the Bandmaster for the 6th Cavalry Regiment Band and was stationed with them at Fort Oglethorpe Georgia in 1941.
For years, Tom Diaz had remembered and honored his father’s memory through the scrapbook his father had left him. The images and history of the 61st Army Ground Forces Band and the contribution of the musicians, their names, and the information about his father Gregorio Diaz lay out of the public eye for almost 70 years.
Now part of the story is being told on this website to honor this “Band of Heroes,” whose legacy of service is still being carried on in the US Army today by soldier musicians. What you are reading was all made possible for the inclusion in an upcoming book by Denny Hair all about Patton’s Third Army Headquarters in Europe. Mr. Tom Diaz, son of the Bandleader, COL(Ret) Lawrence A. Devron and the United States Army Archives allowed Mr. Hair to obtain the information they had.

This, together from information found in Denny’s upcoming book, and a short history has been provided on this website until the book comes out. Special thanks goes to the Washington Post and their journalist Michael Ruane, who wrote the original article. He forward Denny’s request to Lawrence Devron and from there was allowed to obtain the necessary information to include them in his book before it went to the editor. Many thanks go to several people but chief among them was Mr. Tom Diaz, son of the famous bandleader of the Third Army band.

Here is the link to the story that appeared in the Washington Post :
Toe-tapping Patton march is finally recorded, to the joy of composer’s son

Now let us take a journey back to World War Two and see how Patton came to have the “Third Army Band” as it was known informally.

Colonel E. M. Fickett a he appeared in 1944 as commander of the 6th Cavalry Group in Europe for Patton’s Third Army headquarters. (Click for full image)

December 31, 1943 :
In the courtyard of the Tandergee Castle, in Armagh Northern Ireland, a ceremony quite sad in nature for the men of the 6th Cavalry Regiment was taking place. The final parade of a proud cavalry regiment of the US Army was taking place. They had been in continuous service since 1862. The 6th Cavalry Regiment was one of the last regular army cavalry regiments to be de-horsed in 1942. It was one of the first to be fully mechanized. Most standing in the formation had started their military career as mounted horse cavalry. The 6th Cavalry Regimental Band was told they were to no longer be part of the new organization.  This was their last performance as the 6th United States Cavalry Regimental Band. This day they once again played the rousing marches and participated in the parade under the able direction of Chief Warrant Officer Gregorio A. Diaz who had the band together with the same men since before the war. The commanding Officer of the 6th Cavalry Regiment gave his prepared remarks. Col. Edward M. Fickett was not sure as to their future as he stood and addressed the 6th Cavalry Regiment for the last time. On January 1st they were to be part of a mechanized Cavalry Group. Unknown to them, this was not a separation but would be the beginning of a fateful year and a half that would bring them into the most celebrated army and under the most colorful combat army leader the world. But for now the sadness of a disbanded regiment was heavy on their hearts and minds.

General Patton was in England and was top secret. He was forming the third US Army but was under wraps to still be pretending he would be leading the invasion of France with the 1st US Army. Quietly he was reviewing his command all over the United Kingdom that would be coming ashore after the Normandy invasion.

April 1, 1944 :
It was on this date, while Patton was in Northern Ireland, reviewing his future command that Patton heard again the music of the 6th Cavalry Regimental band that was now in limbo. The regimental band could not stay as part 6th Cavalry Group, which the regiment had now become and new army regulations prohibited a cavalry group from having a band. The band and the 6th Cavalry Regiment had been together and separation was going to be tough. Patton, an expert in behind the scenes maneuvering, and knowing the relationship of the regiment to the band, quietly moved behind the scenes and unknown to the band, as he heard their performance that night, he worked out a way to have them transferred as the official 3rd Army band.  This suited Patton as he knew of the high caliber of musicians they were. They had been together for a long time and knew their job to perfection.

CWO Gregorio A. Diaz conducting 3d Army Band, June 17, 1944 in the field played for a review for the 6th Cavalry Group, North Leach England, Concert for Enlisted Men, 1950 to 2030 hrs. (Click for full image)

April 19, 1944 :
On this date the 6th Cavalry Regimental Band arrived at Knutsford, Cheshire England and reported for duty as the band assigned to the Third United States Army. They would soon officially be known as the 61st Army Ground Forces Band, but to all concerned they would be known as “Patton’s Third Army Band.” There were 28 men assigned to the band and the following is a list of them that was composed at wars end.  CWO Gregorio A Diaz*, band leader and he had under his command, There were to be 28 men assigned to the band originally. Note: The official rooster as listed at the end of the war was CWO Gregorio A Diaz*, band leader and he had under his command, Pac Dixon T. Apel, Pfc Frederick W. Bickering, Pfc Leroy Brown, T-5 Clarence J. Chapman, Pfc William M. Drapela, Pfc Kenneth E. Gross, T-5 T-5 Earl E. Diehl Jr., T-5 Warren H. Dungan, T-5 Lousis J. Elster, T Sgt’s Richard W. Farrell, T 4’s Benard L. Shendell*, Norman S. Hess, SSgt John A. Hooks*, Pfc Carence E Holley*, T-4 Carl D. Howell*, T Sgt Luther S. Jones*, T-4 Joseph J. Krol, Pfc William M. May, T-4 Hubart N. Mazerole*, T-5 Charles B. Mitchell, T-4 Delwin B Murphy*, T-5 John G. Perkins, Pfc Roger H. Williams, T-5 Richard S. Winvick T-5, Anthony D Borrelli, Pfc Charles A Edgerly, Pfc Robert Meisch, Sgt Ferris C. Frees.  The * represent those who were in the band in 1941 and remained through out the war. (Diaz, Gregorio A. CWO; Bandleader, 61st Amy Ground Forces Band, Third U.S. Army, Diaz family collection)

 The * represent those who were in the band in 1941 and remained through out the war.

April 23, 1944 :
The band played its first appearance for the Enlisted Men of the Third Army Headquarters rear echelon.

Peover Hall Camp, England, April 1944. The band performed many times in the court yard of the Knutsford Headquarters of Third Army. (Click for full images)

April 28 1944 :
“General de Brigade LeClerc, who commands the French 2nd Armored Division, which is now attached to the Third Army, came to call. We had a guard of honor for him, which pleased him. He is the man who marched to Tunisia all the way from Central Africa. He is a good type French soldier and, I believe, quite intelligent. He said one strange thing, however: that since his Division was the only French Division in the Third Army, it was very important that it should not be killed off too soon. He also pointed out that he had no replacements and asked me to use my good offices to secure them. He looks just like an American and I think speaks better English than he admits.” (Patton, George S, George S. Patton Papers; Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. Patton Diary 1943-1945 BOX 3 Annotated transcripts Diary entry April 28, 1944.) The guard of honor was accompanied by a rousing number of songs played by the band. (Diaz, Gregorio A. CWO; Bandleader, 61st Amy Ground Forces Band, Third U.S. Army, Diaz family collection.)

Salute the Soldier Week, Knutsford, Eng. 1944 (Click for full image)

May 6 1944 Saturday :
In Knutsford, there was a parade that was called the Salute to the Soldier and the Third Army band marched in the parade.

June 14, 1944 Wednesday :
As Third Army was about to embark to the continant of France, General Patton ordered The Blessing of the Official Third Army Flag. General Patton ordered a general assembly of the 3rd Army Headquarters and assembled was an honor guard manned by the 503rd MP battalion and participating to their left was the now official 61st Army Ground Forces Band. The Honor guard marched forward and dipped the Third Army Colors. At that moment the Army chaplain came forward and officially Blessed the flag of the Third United States Army and read some scriptures and prayed. (Ov 19 Library of Congress Patton Papers photograph and Diaz, Gregorio A. CWO; Bandleader, 61st Amy Ground Forces Band, Third U.S. Army, Diaz family collection)

Patton’s Third Army loaded on transports, proceed to the continent of France. Fierce fighting had caused many casualties. The Third Army Band proceeded to the evacuation hospitals and performed for the wounded, and Evac hospital staffs.

Concert for 101st Evacuation Hosp., Normandy July 1944 (Click for full image)

July 21, 1944 Friday :
The Third Army Band traveled to the 101st Evac Hospital and made it first appearance on the continent playing for the wounded soldiers at the hospital.

Paddy Flint Funeral 3rd Army Band (Click for full image)
Beauchamps, France, Aug. 44, First bombing here. (Click for full image)

July 25, 1944 :
Patton asked the Third Army Band to play at his good friend, Col. Paddy Flint’s funeral.

On August 7, 1944, Monday :
At Patton field headquarters German fighters bombed in the evening as this was not a one time event. Men of the army band remembered it well enough to mention it in the unofficial history. They slept in pup tents and scrambled to slit trenches, dug for such emergencies.

G-2 Robert Allen wrote “Early in the morning, 30 minutes past midnight, there was a bombing attack near the headquarters by German aircraft. An ammunition dump close by was destroyed. It was thought to contain about 6000 tons of ammunition and portions of the 35th Division was hit by the enemy air attack near St. Hilaire.

September 15, 1944 :
The 3rd Army Band left on tour for four days, and played at 12th Evac Hosp 1/2 Mile north of Vadelaincourt , 34th Evac Hosp, Verdun, 104th Evac Hosp , ½ miles NE Hammerville, and the 109th Evac Hospital near Doncourt. They would travel 103 miles round trip.

September 24, 1944 :
The Third Army Band left on their second concert tour and traveled to 6th Con Hosp & the St Mihiel, 39th Evac Hosp, 3 miles north of Voie. They then traveled and performed for the 106th Evac Hosp, returned to their base camp at Third Army headquarters which was a round trip some 132 miles.

Orchestra #1, Nancy, France. (Click for full image)

November 11, 1944 :
Armistice day and Patton’s Birthday

1. Louis J. Elster, 2. Joseph J. Krol, 3. Carl D. Howell, 4. Earl E. Diehl, 5. Warren H. Dungan, 6. John G. Perkins, 7. Norman S. Hess, 8. Dixon T. Apel, 9. Anthony D Borrelli, 10. Richard W. Farrell, 11. John A. Hooks, 12. Richard S. Winvick
This picture is believed to taken at the November 11, 1944 Patton’s Birthday honors.
That evening at a concert at the American Red Cross they had a party honoring General Patton on his birthday. (Diaz, Gregorio A. CWO; Bandleader, 61st Amy Ground Forces Band, Third U.S. Army, Diaz family collection November 15 1944

Wednesday :
Guard of Honor for General Eisenhower
Patton wrote, “Eisenhower came at noon. Seemed well pleased and got copiously photographed standing in the mud talking to soldiers.
He was treated to a Guard of Honor and the Third Army Band played Honors for him. (Diaz, Gregorio A. CWO; Bandleader, 61st Amy Ground Forces Band, Third U.S. Army, Diaz family collection)

February 10, 1945 :
The Third Army Band had organized a second group of soldier musicians that they called the Orchestra No. 2 and it played for the first time at the American Red Cross on this date. The second band appeared to be geared toward modern Jazz band music.

Presentation ceremony of Purple Heart and C. of M. Luxembourg City, 26 Feb. 1945 (Click for full image)

February 25, 1945 Sunday :
At 1000 hours, General Patton had an award ceremony and the band found a particular pride in playing at this event. Several of the band members, who had been wounded in combat, while doing double duty as soldiers, received purple hearts from General Patton. They were awarded by Col Kelly, HQ Com HQ Sp TRS, Tusa, who presented the purple heart to PFC John B Hanson, and Certification of Merit to Sgt Johns, Sgt. Farrell, T-4 Shindell, T 5 Chapman, Hess, Winvick, PFC Holley. In the evening the Orchestra No. 2 played the ARC dance.

Col. Kelley and Capt. Cochran (Hq. Commandant & Adjutant Special Tps) (Click to view full image)

February 26, 1945 Monday :
The Third Army Band played its first broadcast on the radio and it was broadcasted over Luxembourg radio.

April 6 1945 Friday :
This was a very busy day and in addition to all that occurred, Patton arranged a Guard of Honor for his guest. The Band’s unofficial history records on this day state that the band played “honors” for a Major General and three Brigadier Generals at 1330. Later the band played at a ceremony for the 301st Signal Bn at 1545 hours.

Gen Patton Review - Combined Bands 3d Army and 14th Arm. Div, July 1945 (Click for full image)

April 10, 1945 Tuesday :
General Patton loved the pomp and circumstance of a good military ceremony and a parade. Knowing Patton’s keen love of marches, the band leader of the 61st Army Ground Forces band wrote and finished on this day a March he was going to call “The General Patton March” and dedicate it to General Patton. Patton appreciated the gesture but requested it be dedicated to the Third Army. So CWO Gregorio A, Diaz, did both. He changed the title to “The Third Army March” and dedicated it thus, “Respectfully dedicated to Lt. General George S. Patton, Jr., and the gallant officers and men  of the Third US Army. “It was played for General Patton and would have been played at the Guard of Honor and other functions when appropriate. “It was an honor for Gregorio Diaz, who had been born in a poor village in the Canary Islands and left home when he was 12. He’d made his way to Mexico, crossed into the United States in 1924, and went right to Fort Bliss, Texas, where he enlisted in the 7th Cavalry’s band, his son said in an interview. (Diaz, Gregorio A. CWO; Bandleader, 61st Amy Ground Forces Band, Third U.S. Army, Diaz family collection,.

On July 6, 1945 Friday :
Patton was honored by his men and given a Guard of Honor. Here the 61st Army band played for him and most assuredly played “The Third Army March.”

By war’s end the band had racked up an expressive performance list. They reported ; “During the 281 days of combat the Band of Heroes received high praise from many hospitals, line outfits, and the American Red Cross. During 281 consecutive days of duty, the 61st Army Forces band played 304 jobs, including concerts for hospitals and messes.”

From their official log, the wrote the following:
Band Performances were conducted at:
Concerts- 52
Hospitals – 32
Formations- 32
Retreats- 24
Misc. Concerts – 27
Beer Bar, EM -11
Broadcasts – 4
Mess Halls
Enlisted 61
Dances 84
Hospitals 80
ARC (American Red Cross clubs) 80

The following is a list of Organizations and VIP Persons before whom the Band or Orchestra appeared while in the ETO.

VIP Performances :
Gen Eisenhower, Gen Patton, Gen Spaatz, Lt Gen Lee, Lt Gen Smith, Maj Gen Gaffey, Maj Gen Gay, CG XV Corps, French General LeClerc, Chinese General,

American Red Cross Clubs In: Portadown, NI, Belfast, NI, Toome Bridge, NI, Knutsford, England, Stone, England, Nancy, France, Luxembourg City, Erlarigen, Germany, Bad Tolz, Germany, Munich, Germany

ORGANIZATIONS the band performed for :
Headquarters Third US Army (Forward & Rear) 4th Armored Signal Bn, 6th Cavalry Recon. Sq, 6th Convalescent Hosp., 7th Field Hospital, 12th Evacuation Hosp., 14th  Liaison Sq,14th Cavalry Group, 24th Regulating Station, 27th AAA Group, 28th Cavalry Rcn sq, 32nd Evacuation Hosp., 34th Evacuation Hosp., 35th Evacuation Hosp, 39th Evacuation Hosp., 94th Gas Cas Treatment Bn, 65th Medical Battalion
92nd Signal Battalion, 1O1st Evacuation Hosp, 102nd Evacuation Hosp., 103rd Evacuation Hosp., 104th Evacuation Hosp, 106th Evacuation Hosp., 107th Evacuation Hosp., 109th Evacuation Hosp., 11Oth Evacuation Hosp., 2202nd Cons Engineers, 246th Signal Opn. Co, 287th Combat Engineers, 301st Signal Battalion, 436th Convalescent Hosp., 502nd Car Company, 575th AAA Battalion, 63lst Tank Destroyers Bn, 654th Tank Destroyers Bn, 2188th Quartermaster Co, 3457th Ordnance Company, 6903rd European Civil Affairs Regt

Incoming Troops at Belfast, NI, Toome Bridge Air Base, Toome Bridge, NI, North Arhaagh Harrier’s Hunt Club. Third United States Army Headquarters.

The Third Army March Original Third Army March condensed score. Click to view or download
The Third Army March Original Third Army March Individual Instrumentation Scores. Click to view or download

The music “The Third Army March” was performed and recorded at The U.S. Army Band (TUSAB) “Pershing’s Own” Brucker Hall at Fort Myer, (Arlington), Virginia. Ensemble: The U.S. Army Concert Band conducted by First Lieutenant (1LT) Silas Huff and engineered by the production staff. The composer of the “Third Army March”, the late CWO Gregorio A. Diaz, Bandleader of the 61st Army Ground Forces Band in Germany has a son who attended the recording session.

An MP3 of the recording was emailed to COL Bryan Hilferty, Public Affairs Officer, Third Army/U.S. Army Central, Shaw AFB, Sumter, S.C. COL Hilferty also provided the MP3 to Washington Post journalist Michael Ruane for a future story.

Gen Patton Reviews Combined Bands 3d Army and 14th Armored Division in July 1945 (Click to view full image)

Now we bring history alive. Hear “The Third Army March” as performed by The U.S. Army Band  (TUSAB) “Pershing’s Own” Brucker Hall at Fort Myer.

Imagine you are present with General Patton as the band marches by.

To view Lieutenant Huff conducting the U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own” Concert Band performing “The Third Army March” Click Here

The score and arrangements are complements of 1LT Silas Huff, who dedicated countless hours of his personal time to meticulously edit the original hand written score and each instrumental part from the original 1945 hand inscribed Score and parts. Kudos to 1LT Huff !

To the right is a modern arrangement and score suitable for today’s instrumentation in ensembles, bands and orchestras to use.

Chief Warrant Officer Gregorio A. Diaz received the Bronze Star on August 30, 1945. To lead an army band is a tough duty. To do it in time of war is even tougher. To do it under General Patton CWO Diaz received the Bronze Star. Click for full image

As you are listening, here is what remains of the regalia worn by the original 61st Army Ground Forces Band of WWII.

The Third Army Banner : 43"x 24" The banner is for recognition of the band that carries it while suspended from a pole held by two soldiers in front of the marching band. Image courtesy of "United States Army Central Archives."
3rd Army Guidon Image courtesy of "United States Army Central Archives."

When an army band was mounted on horses they carried a guidon. It meant they guided on to it to get the formation in the correct distance. Later the guidon was used for the same purpose by dismounted troops and to identify where they were in a large formation, as many of them were in WWII. (Note: The original guidon was missing the end of its swallow tails. They have been added to the image to allow it to be pictured as it once was)

The significance of the guidon is that it represents the unit and its commanding officer. When the commander is in, his guidon is displayed for everyone to see. When he leaves for the day, the guidon is taken down. It is an honor to be the guidon carrier for a unit, known as a “guidon bearer” or “guide”. He stands in front of the unit alongside it’s commander and is the rallying point for troops to fall into formation when the order is given. In drill and ceremonies, the guidon and commander are always in front of the formation.

Images courtesy of "United States Army Central Archives." (Click to view full image)

Third US Army Drum Major’s Mace 1944-1945: 59″x 13″ diameter, made by Potter London England. Embossed engraved: Top of Mace ball engraved with embossed A Third Army emblem, sides of ball of mace marked Third U S Army, three embossed engravings: Third US Army emblem, U S Amy of Occupation Germany, United States of America War Office, Battle Honors: On staff of mace with five engraved silver bands, Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace, Central Europe




USAD : The Manual Of The Mace(Click to view or download)

Drum Major’s Baldric (sash): 32"x 6" (Click to view full image)

Images courtesy of "United States Army Central Archives." (Click to view full image)

Drum Major’s Baldric (sash): 32″x 6″
Battle Honors: Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace, Central Europe
The baldric represent the heraldry of the unit. The Third US army colors are represented with the battles fought in the five campaigns recognized by the War Department in WWII.

Now, for the first time since it was written, you can listen to the “Col. Fickett March”,written to honor Col. Neal Fickett; commander of the 6th Cavalry Group, by the Third Army Bandleader, CWO Gregorio A. Diaz. Col. Fickett was CWO Diaz commanding Officer when he commanded the 6th Cavalry Regiment in the states before the war.

All that can be found of the Col. Fickett March is the piano score. Mr. Ken Garrick, who plays for Denny’s band Thunder, and performs as a solo artist for private parties in the Houston Area, agreed to record the march, free of charge for this web site. If you live in the Houston area, you can contact Ken Garrick at

"Col. Fickett March" (Click to view or download)

All of the above information and images were used by permission and supplied to Denny Hair for use in the upcoming book and this web page. Special thanks go to the to the following:

Third Army/US Army Central (ARCENT), COL Hilferty, the chief of public affairs, LT Fruto, Heather M.J. Hall MAJ, Public Affairs Community/Media Relations, U.S. Army Central , Lawrence A. (Larry) Devron The U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own” Horn, SP5 ’67 – ’70 257th Army Band (DCARNG)  Horn, SP5/SGT Brass Section LDR DCARNG OCS Class 20, Commissioned MAY ’77 MAJ, US Army (Active Duty-Retired) NOV ’95COL, (Va-ARNG-Retired) AUG ’13, Mr. Tom Diaz, son of, Gregorio A. Diaz, CWO; Bandleader, 61st Amy Ground Forces Band, Third U.S. Army, (Diaz family collection) The Washington Post, Michael E. Ruane, and phone interview with Tom Diaz, by Denny Hair, December 18, 2013.

This web page has been created to honor the memory of all the musicians who served in WWII and the Greatest Generation’s Soldier Musicians and is dedicated to all of our hero Soldier Musicians who have served in the Armed Services of the Untied States. The next time you come in contact with a soldier past or present, thank them for their service.

Freedom is not free, it comes at a cost.

For more information visit the following web sites

All rights are reserved and Copy Righted on this web site. You may not copy it or take the images from it but you may link to it. You are encourage to use this page for educational purposes and to learn about Patton’s Third US Army.

For inquires you can contact

If you are a member of the news media and wish to do a story on this newly discovered “Band of Heroes” is fought and played under General Patton, contact
Larry Devron <
He can provide you with non watermarked images and the background for the story including contact information.