SAN ANTONIO - Juan Garcia was newly married and a brand new member of the United States Army when he was stationed at Ft. Sam Houston in 1974.
"I had been playing with many Chicano bands," Garcia said. "When i came in, I worked with people from all over the country. There were different backgrounds and musical experiences. It was great. A whole new world."
During his time in the Army, Garcia quickly realized the importance of a military band.
"When in Germany and Korea," Garcia added, "We could see it. Concerts, where hardcore infantry guys cry because of the American Flag and the songs they know, bring home to them."
On Sunday, September 24, the 323rd U.S. Army Band known as "Ft. Sam's Own," will host its final reunion concert. The band is being deactivated in 2018, and Sunday's concert will be the final reunion concert for the group.
"It's always great going should to shoulder with past members," Specialist Brian Bull said. "They tell you stories of what it was like when they were in. It's comradery they haven't had since they left the Army."
This is not the first time an Army band at Fort Sam Houston has gone through change. The 323rd came to San Antonio in 1946 when the Army Medical Schools moved to the Alamo City.
The band was deactivated in 1975 and returned 20 years later. Although the final chapter for this band is underway, these soldiers will continue doing their job.
"There's a little frustration," Chief Warrant Officer 4 Jonathan D. Ward said. "In the 23 years I've been in, we've closed the doors. This, sadly, has to be one of those. As they say, the Army goes rolling along."
The 323d U.S. Army Band reunion concert will take place at The Alamo at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, September 24th. For more information on how you can hear the concert in person, click here.
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