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MaryBelle Nissly

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Then

Conducted by Captain MaryBelle J. Nissly, the Women in the Air Force "WAF" Band created a unique and exceptional chapter in US Air Force and women's history. The band was created in 1951 as the 543rd Air Force Band (WAF) and, over its ten year history as the US WAF Band, was made up of 235 members, with about 50 women musicians comprising the band at any given time.

The "WAF" Band was one of the few places women could perform as professional musicians. For ten glorious years The WAF Band performed in countless parades and concerts for the pleasure of thousands of music lovers who had the opportunity to hear the all-woman band.

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Last Update 4/14/12 ©1998-2012

Webster: Dixie L. Johnson.

Now

One of the Air Force’s greatest musical treasures, The WAF Band is unique in that it is the only all-woman former military band still performing publicly today and traveling at their own expense to entertain veterans at VA hospitals or retirement homes. The WAF Band continues to give concerts at its reunions, and will once again prove definitively that patriotism never gets old and WAF Band members simply defy age.

During the past ten years of renewed band activity, archives of the band's history were created by Dixie Johnson, then President of The WAF Band, those materials now are available for researchers interested in women's military/band history. The archives reside at the Schlesinger Library at Radcliffe/Harvard colleges.

In addition, Ms Johnson has written the history of the band in a book "The U.S. WAF Band Story," available at the Women in Military Service to America "WIMSA" memorial in Arlington, VA.

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