For over a century-and-a-half Quartermasters marched off to war, first to the tune of a fife and a drum, and later a full-scale Army band. But something was still missing. What about an official marching song?
On 14 October 1959, Major General Andrew T. McNamara, The Quartermaster General, surprised the QM senior leaders attending a conference at Fort Lee, Virginia, with the announcement that, at long last, we now have an official QM marching song. At that the 392nd Army Band, under the direction of Chief Warrant officer Ralph C. Church began playing a rousing version of With Sword and Key.
From that day till this, the QM marching song is played at all official functions where The Quartermaster General is inattendance. But not without a bit of unsolved mystery.
Because the song’s composer, a civilian employee named E. Reginald Hinchley, left government service and moved to Canada, and was never heard from again. Apparently unaware that his composition had been selected for this honor. And he was never properly thanked for a job well done.
So, here’s to you, Mr. Hinchley, WHEREVER YOU MAY BE!
For more information on this topic go to: Quartermaster Song
Compiled by Dr. Steven Anders, former Quartermaster School historian
Event: QM Marching Song adopted
Date: 14 October 1959
"I don’t believe we can have an army without music."
- General Robert E. Lee Quoted in Burke Davis, Gray Fox (1956)