Tarleton Alumnus Named to Elite US Army Band

Tarleton State University alumnus Akira Okamoto has been selected for the elite U.S. Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps.

STEPHENVILLE — Tarleton State University alumnus Akira Okamoto has earned a position with the U.S. Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, headquartered in the Washington, D.C., area. 

A Frisco native, Sgt. Okamoto graduated with a bachelor’s degree in trumpet performance. He is serving with the 3rd Infantry Division Band.

“We are so proud of our graduates who are not only successful but who represent us at the highest level on a larger stage,” said Dr. Vicky Johnson, head of the Tarleton State Department of Performing Arts.

The Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps carries on traditions accompanying the birth of the United States. It has inspired audiences throughout the nation and around the world for over 60 years.

“This is the premier military band position,” said Dr. Brian Walker, Tarleton trumpet Professor. “It is the top tier in that field and has special designations afforded to that. It would be like winning the New York or Chicago symphony of military bands.”

The Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps is the only unit of its kind in the armed forces and is part of the 3rd Infantry Regiment (the Old Guard). It averages 500 performances annually. 

It has entertained millions of people in parades, pageants and historical celebrations throughout the United States and has served America as a goodwill ambassador around the world. It has performed at major sporting events, including NCAA bowl games, NBA games, NFL games including Super Bowl XVI, the Kentucky Derby, the Indianapolis 500 and the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, N.Y.The Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps performs for all arrival ceremonies at the White House for foreign heads of state and has participated in every inauguration parade since President John F. Kennedy.

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