Military bands have been present since early in America’s history. Prior to the signing of the Declaration of Independence, colonial soldiers march to the sound of fife and drums. Civil War soldiers depended on company musicians to entertain the troops, to position them in battle and to stir them to victory.
Military bands have been decorated for their performance in battle, have entertained at official functions, both military and civilian, have entertained troops worldwide, and have aided public relations between civilian and military functions.
The band was organized and federally recognized 20 June 1919 as the Band Section, Service Company, 162nd Infantry, at Portland, Oregon. Several reorganizations followed with the band remaining primarily a part of the 162nd Infantry, an element of the 41st Division, later the 41st Infantry Division until 1940.
The band was inducted into Federal service 16 September 1940 at Portland; band members saw service in the South Pacific and received campaign participation credit for Luzon, New Guinea (with arrowhead) and Southern Phillipines (with arrowhead) campaigns. The band also received the Phillippine Presidential Unit Citation for service from 17 October 1944 to 4 July 1945. The band was inactivated 30 June 1946 on Okinawa, redesignated the 234th Army Band on 17 May 1947, and organized and federally recognized 24 June 1947 at Portland, Oregon.
Members of the Oregon National Guard are Army Band musicians, soldiers, and dedicated community memebers who serve the Nation through music. Musicians in the 234th Army Band support the State of Oregon and local community by performing various ceremonies: Deployment, Demobilization, Change of Command, Retirement, and Patriotic Holiday celebrations and much more. National Guard musicians typically work a minimum of one weekend a month and two weeks a year, in support of their musical mission.