Our Heritage

David Beatty


My father was Russ Beatty who enlisted in the USAF during the Korean War in 1951. He was already an accomplished musician who was the leader of a successful dance band in southern California so was assigned duty as an Air Force bandsman. He made rank rapidly and was a TSgt by 1953. Assignments included Ramey, Barksdale, March, Bolling, Lowry (with the fledgling USAFA), Wiesbaden and finally USAFA in 1964. He retired in 1974 as a SMSgt.

C/2C Dave Beatty congratulating his father, SMSgt Russ Beatty on the occasion of the award of the AF Commendation medal in April 1974 as the commander of the USAFA Band, Lt Col Richard Thurston looks on.

A promotion shot of the USAFA Falconaires circa 1966. Led by Captain Terry Hemeyer, this band played at various cadet functions as well as other venues around North America. Dave’s dad, Russ Beatty is on the far right.

WAF softball tourny Barksdale 1955. My dad as leader of a small combo playing a gig for the WAFs. He is second musician from the right, playing the clarinet.

USAFE Band in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. In the spring of 1962, my dad was in this band when it ‘assaulted’ the newly constructed Berlin Wall. It was feared that an American military presence would be too provocative so CINCEUCOM decided to march a military band right up to the wall – my dad said they were all scared to death as they marched unarmed into the teeth of Russian machine guns clearly visible on the wall but it turned out okay – and the Berliners loved it.

USAF Band at Johnson inaugural 1965. Dad is in the bottom right, playing sax. 

USAFA Band circa 1969. Dad had a permanent assignment at the Academy and was there from 1964 to 1974. He ended up as the first sergeant and I learned more about leadership from him than I did in four years as a cadet. In the mid-sixties, one of his duties was to serve as cadre for dooley squadrons from initial induction until BCT formally began with that grenade simulator going off. Upperclassmen took on the initial cadre job sometime in the late sixties. It was kind of cool to march to the noon meal or in a Saturday morning parade with my Dad playing in the band, and I enjoyed sitting with him during home football games where the USAFA Band would play.

A salute for my Dad – thanks for 23 years of your service. (Memorial Day, 2018)