Fort Knox’s Dragoons entertain Derby crowd

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By The Staff


Turret Staff Writer


The 113th Army Band Dragoons from Fort Knox played Saturday for the day-long race card and for 134th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville.

Given that there were some

vacancies among the ranks due to other commitments and leaves taken by band members, Chief Warrant Officer Jeremiah Keillor, the commander of the Dragoons, invited members of Kentucky’s 100th Army Reserve Band to accompany the 113th. Sgts. 1st Class Curtis Moss and Sandra Baker were among those who accepted his offer, playing the drums and piccolo, respectively.

“It’s a good opportunity for us to train together,” Keillor said, “and it helps both units out.”

Saturday was the first Derby for many of the band members. In fact, Saturday was Pfc. Michael Higley’s first performance anywhere with the band. The 113th is his first duty assignment and he has been at Fort Knox just two weeks.

“It’s been a lot of fun so far,” he said.

First Sgt. Paul Skrbin was also experiencing his first Derby day, but he wasn’t intimidated by the glamour and celebrities in the audience.

“It’s not any harder than any other job,” he said.

It was a little more challenging, however, since the band played from the infield apron and most of the listeners were in the stands on the other side of the racetrack, about 50 yards away.

“You don’t get much feedback from the audience when they’re so far away,” he explained. “It’s more fun if you can see the crowd’s reaction to the music.”

One of the few Derby veterans was Sgt. 1st Class Robert Pritchard. He said, “The Derby is a unique opportunity. It’s the only time of year I gamble. And it should get real interesting in the infield, especially if it gets hot,” he predicted.

Keillor nodded in agreement.

“That’s why I don’t bring my kids anymore,” he said.