Military Mondays: Illinois Army National Guard, 144th Army Band

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The 144th Army Band of the Illinois Army National Guard performed live outside ABC7 Chicago's State Street studio on Memorial Day.

May is National Military Appreciation Month. We're saluting our military each Monday this month. Today it's the Illinois Army National Guard.

Christopher Jones, 144th Army Band Commander and Coordinator, led the group in a live performance on State Street on Memorial Day.

Mission of the 144th Army Band: The 144th Army Band is the musical representatives of the Illinois Army National Guard, and as such performs performs regularly for audiences throughout Illinois. While our mission as a United States Army band is multi-faceted, our main duties revolve around music. We work to promote readiness by performing music that raises troop morale and promotes esprit de corps. The band provides music for troop gatherings and activities, military and religious ceremonies, and civic affairs -- such as parades and other public events.

How the band supports events: The 144th Army Band capabilities a ceremonial band, marching band, concert band, jazz quartet, brass quintet, woodwind quintet and (on occasions) a variety of other small musical groups. The concert and marching bands consist of everyone within the unit. However, the 144th Army Band frequently breaks down into small ensembles to support a variety of different performance venues. Such performance venues include military balls, change of commands, parades, public concerts and educational outreach.

Civilian jobs of those within the 144th Army Bands: Teachers, IT, factory worker, physical fitness instructor, police officer, college students, social workers, to name a few.

Other Carrier fields are available within the IL Army National Guard: There are 13 carrier fields with more than 150 jobs within the Illinois Army National Guard. Jobs include infantry, aviation, mechanics, musician, medical, system technology, to name a few.

Advantages to joining the IL Army National Guard:
Illinois National Guard Grant
- Free tuition at any State of Illinois public colleges or universities for up to four years
100% Federal Tuition Assistance
- The Army National Guard funds up to 100% of tuition costs and fees, not to exceed $250 per semester hour and will be limited to $4500 per person per fiscal year
Montgomery GI Bill
- Receive a stipend of up to $362 a month, while attending college (or other approved technical school)
Student Loan Repayment
- The Student Loan Repayment Program will pay up to $50,000 in student loans to those who have an existing student loan obligation at the time of enlistment in the Army National Guard
College Credit for Training
- Many colleges and universities give academic credit for Army Guard service and training
- Soldiers and Veterans (and their families) enjoy even more real benefits, such as inexpensive healthcare through the TRICARE system and low-cost life insurance that pays up to $400,000.
Retirement at age 60 after serving 20-years.

(BAND HISTORY) The 144th Army Band is one of the more colorful units in the state of Illinois. An important part of Illinois military history, the band can trace its roots to 1861 and the 33rd Illinois Volunteer Regiment Band. The 33rd Illinois Volunteer Regiment Band was mustered out in 1862 but they left a legacy of professionalism. In 1916, Illinois National Guard was mobilized at Camp Logan, Texas, and there was reorganized into the 33rd Division under the command of Major General George Bell, Jr. The Band became known as the 33rd Division Band and it was attached to the newly formed 33rd Division. On 21 February 1942 the division was re-designated the 33rd Infantry Division. The 33rd Infantry Division got WW II campaign credit for the New Guinea Campaign and the Luzon Campaign in the Philippines, when they fought the Japanese. The division formed part of the occupation forces of the Japanese home islands and was inactivated there on 28 February 1946. The 33rd Infantry Division Band was replaced in 1968 with the formation of the 144th Army Band. The bands is currently stationed at Camp Lincoln in Springfield, IL.

The mission of the Band is to provide musical entertainment for the morale of soldiers and support the local communities. The band has a wide range of musical capabilities from Marching Ceremonial Band, Concert Band, Jazz Ensemble, and a variety of small musical groups. The band is comprised of some 30 "citizen soldier" musicians from all over the state of Illinois and the surrounding area. Many of the members are students, music teachers, or otherwise associated with the music field in their civilian pursuits.


Saturday, May 30 at 11 a.m.
Charter of Freedom Monument
Central Park in Jacksonville, Ill.

Saturday, June 13 at 5 p.m.
Troy Septemberfest
Main State on Main and Center Street in Troy, Ill.

Saturday, June 20 at 12 p.m.
Geneseo Music Festival
Geneseo, Ill.

For more events, visit

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