u.s coast guard pipe band

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CWO Kevin Gilheany, stationed at the Marine Safety Office Louisana, learned to play the Bagpipes several years ago under the tutelage of LT Steve Young, who is currently assigned to the Telecommunications Information Systems Command in Alexandria, VA.

Some time in the year 2001, CWO Gilheany wondered if there were many other Pipers in the Coast Guard and what it would be like to gather for some camaraderie while sharing their mutual enjoyment of Piping. What better place to gather than at Grand Haven, Michigan (A.K.A. Coast Guard City, USA.)

The plan was set to meet in Grand Haven for the 2002 Coast Guard Festival. A bulletin was posted on the Internet via Fred’s Place. Approximately fifteen Pipers responded expressing the same interest. By August 2002, seven Pipers and three Drummers were committed to the event.

Traveling at individual expense from as far as Seattle, Washington, and New Orleans, Louisana, everyone met on the grounds of Coast Guard Group Grand Haven on Friday morning, August 2, and played for the first time as a group. For historical purposes, their first tune was Semper Paratus. They practiced their musical sets in preparation for the Memorial service to be held later that day and a Parade on the following day.

On Friday afternoon, they played Amazing Grace at the National Escanaba Memorial Service held at Escanaba Park. Following the Service, the Band played at the Enlistedmen’s Dinner across the street at the American Legion. At the Legion, they Piped in the Vice-Commandant of the Coast Guard, Admiral Ronald Barrett, as a prelude to his awarding the American Legion with a Plaque in appreciation for their continued service to the Coast Guard.

Saturday morning the Pipe Band was the lead Band kicking off the 2002 Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival Parade. Through the course of the several mile parade, the tunes played were; Semper Paratus, Scotland the Brave, Minstrel Boy, Green Hills of Tyrol, and When Battle’s O’er.

After the Parade, the Band played at the Annual Festival Picnic as well. Throughout the weekend, the Band received numerous accolades. The Band was invited to return in 2003. On September 6th, 2002, the U.S. Coast Guard Pipe Band became incorporated as a non-profit organization and currently has a roster of nearly 30 members. Authority to use the name U. S. Coast Guard Pipe Band Inc. was granted by Headquarters, U. S. Coast Guard, pursuant to Commandant (G-I) letter dated 6 November 2001.

The U. S. Coast Guard Pipe Band is not an official part of the United States Coast Guard but is recognized by the U. S. Coast Guard as an affiliated organization. The purpose for which the corporation is organized, and will be exclusively operated, is charitable purposes.

Specifically, the corporation is organized exclusively to benefit the men and women of the United States Coast Guard, and further, to support and carry out, for the benefit of all members of the Coast Guard, and their families, activities to foster and promote greater public understanding, recognition and appreciation of the history, traditions, contributions, sacrifices, roles and missions of the men and women of the U. S. Coast Guard.

The corporation will operate to raise funds and support projects that enhance the lives and well-being of all Coast Guard members, and their families; to address needs that cannot be met through the Coast Guard’s budget, especially for morale, welfare and recreational purposes; and, to promote greater public recognition and awareness of the sacrifices, services and accomplishments of the men and women of the Coast Guard, in war and peace.

The corporation will promote greater public recognition and appreciation of the history, traditions, contributions, sacrifices, roles and missions of the men and women of the U. S. Coast Guard, by various activities including, but not limited to, participation of the pipe band in memorial services, military balls, highland games, patriotic and military parades, public ceremonies, public concerts, Commissioning Ceremonies for Coast Guard vessels and units, Change of Command Ceremonies, Retirement Ceremonies, funerals of Coast Guard members, or similar ceremonies and events in which any active, reserve or auxiliary component of the Coast Guard or U. S. Armed Forces is participating.

Membership in the corporation is open to all active duty, reserve and retired members of the U. S. Coast Guard, active members of the U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and honorably discharged wartime Coast Guard Veterans who support the purposes of the corporation.

Membership is not limited to persons of Scottish descent but open to any person meeting the membership requirements regardless of race, color, national origin, ethnic origin, age, religion, sex, handicap or marital status. Membership is also open to those who are otherwise qualified but who are not proficient in the playing of bagpipes or drums but who can serve the Pipe Band in other capacities such as color guards, liaison coordination and similar support functions.


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