Interview With Alfred Simonette

From the interview with Alfred Simonette of Carmichael, CA conducted by phone from the Fort  Worden History Center by Patience Rogge  in 2009.  Mr. Simonette served in the 360th US Army Band from 1947 through 1949. When McCormick General Hospital in Pasadena closed, the band was transferred to Fort Worden, where Mr. Simonette was stationed for six months.  Here he describes his time on the Olympic peninsula:

“I was a clarinet player in the 360th.  We occupied one of those old two story barracks, our back yard was up in the trees.  The band rehearsed downstairs and those fellows who were single and lived on the post were upstairs.  About half of the band members were married, so they lived in the quarters on base.  The band was 28 pieces. …

We marched up and down the parade field out in front of those permanent barracks; the wind coming off that water there was pretty cold and would come whistling up through, he’d give you an earache….

We had a little combination band, only five or six pieces.  We played the Officers Club on Friday or Saturday and the NCO Club on either Friday or Saturday, one or the other, played the Service club once a week and then there was a little bar or restaurant downtown where we played once a week.  Once in a while we had to go over to Whidbey Island to play formation.  They took us over as a unit on M-boats, they’re big landing craft that can haul a couple of trucks. If the water was too rough, they’d use crash boats sort of like a PT boat.

I remember we played in a parade in Port Angeles and we had our white leggings and all that kind of stuff and white gloves.  But the clarinet players had to cut the ends off the gloves because you have to finger, you have to cover up the holes.  That was cold.  When it was raining we didn’t play… It was a nice part of my life and I’ll always cherish it. “

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