Joined June 18, 1948, as a cornetist
Assistant Director Nov. 2, 1977-June 30, 1988
Charles P. Erwin joined “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band in June 1948 as a cornetist.
He began his musical career by participating in school band programs throughout junior and senior high school and received numerous awards for his abilities as a cornet soloist. Prior to graduating high school, his band director encouraged him to audition for “The President’s Own.” He was accepted and reported for duty immediately following graduation in 1948.
During his 26 years as a performing member of the Marine Band, Erwin earned the reputation as being one of the world’s finest cornet soloists. He as appeared on numerous occasions in virtually every state and held the principal chair as solo cornetist and concertmaster for the final 18 years of his playing career.
In 1960 he was one of the first members of the Marine Band to ever attain the rank of master gunnery sergeant.
Erwin served as the band’s first operations officer. He was appointed a warrant officer in January 1975 and was promoted to the rank of chief warrant officer in February 1977. As operations officer his responsibilities included scheduling and coordinating all musical activities of the organization. He acted as direct liaison between the Marine Band and the White House regarding musical support for State functions.
Erwin was named Assistant Director and commissioned a first lieutenant on Nov. 2, 1977. On March 1, 1985 he was promoted to lieutenant colonel making him the first Assistant Director in the Marine Band’s history to attain that rank.