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Arnald Gabriel

Colonel (Ret.) Arnald Gabriel started his 36-year military career when he joined the Army June 28, 1943. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Krystal Ardrey)

Colonel (Ret.) Arnald Gabriel started his 36-year military career when he joined the Army June 28, 1943. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Krystal Ardrey)

Colonel (Ret.) Arnald Gabriel started his 36-year military career when he joined the Army June 28, 1943. After a brief time in the Army Air Corps as an aviation cadet, he transferred back into the Army to prepare for the upcoming raid on Omaha Beach in Normandy, France. Gabriel was assigned to the 29th Infantry Division as a machine gunner in April, 1944. On June 6, 1944, he landed on Omaha Beach with the 116th Regiment. Gabriel was awarded two Bronze Star medals, the Combat Infantry Badge and the French Croix de Guerre. After World War II, he separated from the Army and enrolled in Ithaca College, New York, where he reconnected with his lifelong love of music. In 1951, Gabriel rejoined the military as a warrant officer in the Air Force and became a conductor for the Air Force Band. His leadership was instrumental in developing the Air Force Band into what it is today. His dedication and service has earned him numerous awards including induction into the Bands of America Hall of Fame and being named the first Conductor Emeritus, or conductor for life, with the United States Air Force Band. Today, Gabriel is often the guest conductor for several organizations including the Army National Guard Band and the Virginia Grand Military Band. He also spends time collaborating and mentoring musicians.