US Congresswoman Denigrates Military Bands And Musicians

Adaptistration People 153Regular readers are already aware that the single largest US employer of full-time professional musicians is the United States Armed Forces. In addition to their critical role inside the US Armed Forces, their contributions to the cultural and artistic fabric of communities they are stationed are practically too large to measure. But that doesn’t seem to stop legislators from looking at their meager budgets as fertile ground for cuts or to denigrate their value as artists and soldiers.

The latest public display of open hostility toward military musicians from a member of congress is Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ), who was quoted in an article by Oriana Pawlyk in the 3/22/2016 edition of advocating for gutting the entire United States Air Force band program because it doesn’t contribute enough to national security. Titled Congresswoman to Air Force: Put down the tuba, pick up a gun, the article reports Rep. McSally’s disdain for military musicians.

“If we really had a manning crisis, from my perspective, we would really tell people to put down the tuba and pick up a wrench or a gun,” McSally said at a House Armed Services Committee hearing.

There’s an articulate and thoughtful reply to Rep. McSally’s position from Eric W. Benken, Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force (the highest noncommissioned officer position in the United States Air Force) from 1996 to 1999. His reply came via Facebook so you may not be able to access the post; as such, a screencap is provided here.


Unfortunately, the sort of behavior displayed by Rep. McSally is not unique nor restricted to political party affiliation. We examined an attempt from 2011 to gut military band funding via legislation proposed by Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN).

For now, you can respond to Rep. McSally’s remarks directly via her Facebook page where she posted the article. to date, the vast majority of comments have been sharply critical of her remarks.

In addition to her Facebook page, you can contact Rep. McSally via her Twitter account or email via her webpage.

I also recommend setting aside some time today to learn more about the US Armed Forces ensembles and their missions.

Comments (powered by Facebook)

6 Responses to US Congresswoman Denigrates Military Bands And Musicians

  1. Erich Graf Fri, Mar 25, 2016 at 8:42 am #

    anyone tired of mouth-breather politicians?

  2. Gregory Nigosian Fri, Mar 25, 2016 at 9:31 am #

    What is it with women in Congress, and bands?

  3. Jon H Mon, Mar 28, 2016 at 8:55 am #

    The bands are also part of our cultural heritage – and there are people who are just looking at any way to “save money” at any cost. Point #1 – there’s more to life than money. Point #2 – the band musicians do provide a service – then they go home and with that money buy food and gas in their communities. So, if they suffer, so do their communities.
    It doesn’t take masters’ degrees to see the problems with that way of thinking.

  4. Bill Graham Thu, Jun 23, 2016 at 8:32 pm #

    I am a retired Marine, two tours of duty in Vietnam, and after 26 years of continuous active duty I feel qualified to offer my opinion on the musician/band issue. I often tell people that I do not want to be a member of the band in a combat zone. Not only did the band play for morning colors and special occasions, which were many, but they provided perimeter security, they were litter bears, they performed police details around the compound, they are weapons qualified, they are physically qualified, I can go on and on. Representative McSally has no idea of what a musician/band member is called upon to perform. Much of it is outside the musical realm. I would suggest McSally hangout with a band in a combat zone and see for herself. Of course with the bunch in congress, seeing does not mean believing.


  1. ACTION ALERT: Here’s What You Can Do To Help Defeat The Destruction Of Military Bands | Adaptistration - Sun, Jun 26, 2016

    […] musicians back in March, 2016 when she proposed eliminating the entire US Air Force and program (details). She received a tremendous amount of public backlash but that didn’t appear to dissuade her […]

  2. “It’s Smart, It’s Delicate, And It’s Diplomacy At Its Finest” | Adaptistration - Mon, Aug 1, 2016

    […] the USAF seeing that the amendment’s sponsor, Rep. McSally, is a retired USAF Colonel and made waves for publicly denigrating military bands and belittling their soldier musicians because she finds […]

Leave a Reply


Send this to friend