DAYTON, Ohio -- Eisenhower jacket worn by Tech. Sgt. Ray McKinley while a member of the Maj. Glenn Miller Army Air Force Band, including the period he was its leader following Maj. Miller's disappearance. The jacket, donated by Ray McKinley of Stamford, Conn., is on display in the World War II Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)
DAYTON, Ohio -- Poster advertising the appearance of the Maj. Glenn Miller Army Air Force Band at the famous Paris Opera House on Feb. 18, 1945. This was the first time in history that "popular-style" music had ever been played in the Opera House. The event raised several million francs for French Prisoners of War Relief. The poster is on display in the World War II Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)
In September 1942, Glenn Miller, one of America's greatest dance band leaders of the period, disbanded his orchestra so he could join the Army Air Forces to do his part for the war effort. Within a year, he organized and perfected what has been widely accepted as the greatest aggregation of dance musicians ever forged into a single unit, the Maj. Glenn Miller Army Air Force Band.
The band was transferred from the United States to England in June 1944 and immediately began playing in theaters, clubs, hospitals, hangars and even out in the open -- anywhere that U.S. servicemen could gather. In the 15 months the unit served in Europe, it made more than 350 personal appearances, attended by 1,250,000 military personnel. In addition, it made more than 500 radio broadcasts for the pleasure of millions of other soldiers. It brought "a little bit of home" to the lonely serviceman in foreign lands and was enjoyed by our Allies as well.