When it comes to martial music and popular songs of a certain era, Col. Thomas Palmatier, recently appointed commander of the U.S. Army Band stationed at Fort Myer, outside Washington, DC., is the Army’s “Music Man.”
He is the eldest son of Harold and Marjorie Palmatier, residents of Harbor Cove mobile home park in North Port, Fla. for the last 21 years.
“Thomas joined the Army in 1977 for two years to get some band experience,” his father explained. “He liked it and decided to make the service band directing a career.”
Known as “Pershing’s Own,” the U.S. Army Band is the infantry’s premier military band. Worldwide the Army has 106 military bands.
“The Army Band supports official events held in the Washington, D.C. area primarily,” Palmatier said. “One of our major duties is to provide music for funerals at Arlington National Cemetery.”
Prior to assuming command of the Army Band, Palmatier was the commander of the Army Field Band stationed at Fort Mead, Md. He and his associate, Col. Tim Holton, who took his place as commander of the Field Band after Palmatier was reassigned to the Army’s Band in D.C. are the only full colonels in the Army’s band corps.
Palmatier has also served as Commandant of the U.S. Army School of Music. In that capacity he was responsible for training all Army band soldiers worldwide. In addition he provided music for the Presidential Inaugural celebrations for President Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and George Bush.
Col. Palmatier received a Bachelor of Music degree, magna cum laude, in Applied Music from the Crane School of Music in Potsdam, N.Y. He also received a Master of Fine Arts degree in Music from Truman State University in Kirksville, Mo. and a Master of Strategic Studies degree from the U.S. Army War College.
Palmatier was awarded the Legion of Merit and seven awards of the Meritorious Service Medal. He is the first Army Band officer to earn both the Parachutist and Air Assault Badges. He also earned a combat patch for participating in the El Salvador Invasion.
This story first appeared in the Charlotte Sun newspaper, Port Charlotte, Fla. on Wednesday, August 17, 2011 and is republished with permission.
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