CAROLE LANDIS, A. P. HILL
SIX June 1944 was D-Day, and it was momentous in more ways than one for members of the 304th Regimental Dance Band, for it was the day of the first rehearsal of a group of men who had gathered together as far back as the beginning of May and had begun to plan a dance band.
The boys were told when they went on furlough in May, to bring back their instruments and by June 6th personnel was sufficiently organized to start rehearsals.
"Mickey Carr and his boys" played their first date for a Div-Arty dance at the Artillery Recreation Hall at McCoy. From then on followed a summer of successful appearances at every Rec Hall and Service Club in McCoy. Not satisfied with McCoy appearances the band played all U.S.O. dances at Sparta, Tomah and La Grosse, American Legion dances, and company parties. They played so often at the Hotel Stoddard in La Crosse that they soon became known as the "house band" there.
The climax of the summer season came the night of August 31st when the 304th Dance Band won the Division Band contest in a walkway. This was in competition with all other bands in the 76th and was held in the form of a musical jamboree with all bands set up around the hall, each giving a performance. (For being voted the best band in the 76th the boys all received a well-earned three-day pass, and their first rest and lay-off since June 6th.)
During this time, all men in the band rehearsed and played on their own time, performing their regular training duties as prescribed. (In cases of emergency, the cooperation of officers was well-appreciated. Ready to leave one evening for a dance, Eddie Cushing, pianist, was discovered missing. A hurried check-up revealed that the key tinkler was in the pits on detail. A call to the range--and the order to cease firing on all ranges was given by the captain in charge. Eddie came dashing out of the pits, to a truck, and the boys were off to Wisconsin Dells.)
In November the instruments were packed, and except for a few jam sessions and the H Company party, the stay at Myles Standish was uneventful.
Then came the trip on the Brazil and "Don Amigo Mickey Carrino and his Seasick Serenaders" in the "Seaweed Room" of the "Hotel Brazil" did fifteen shows in eleven days to establish themselves even more firmly in the hearts of the men of the 304th. Once in England, the instruments were again unpacked. Except for one forty-eight-hour pass to London the boys in the band played a dance or party every night they were in Bournemouth. The highlights of this stay were the Christmas and New Year's Eve parties at the Burlington Hotel. They packed up their instruments for the last time in January, left them at Reims, and resumed their rifle packing duties in their own units as men of the 304th.
8 May was V-E Day and the boys again began thinking of playing. Two weeks later the instruments arrived from Reims. Once more they began boosting morale in the regiment with their swing shows, climaxed by the Infantry Day celebration, in which the band played four shows throughout the regiment.
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