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History of the Assistant Directors


There have been 21 Assistant Directors of “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band since its establishment July 11, 1798. The earliest recorded Second Leader of the United States Marine Band, as they were known until the 1950s, was Salvador Petrola.

Marine Band cornetist Walter F. Smith, who performed under 17th Director John Philip Sousa, became the first official Second Leader when an Act of Congress established the positions of First Leader and Second Leader of the Marine Band in March 1899. The titles of First and Second Leader were changed during the Dwight D. Eisenhower administration (1953-1961) to Director and Assistant Director.

In 1956 , during the second year of Albert F. Schoepper, a second Assistant Director was added to the Marine Band leadership. Today, the Assistant Director positions are designated in two titles: Senior Assistant Director and Executive Officer, and Assistant Director.