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Photos: Air Force Band of the Pacific

John Rider played Tuba in the Air Force Band of the Pacific-Alaska. The group has been disbanded by the military, and the 15 band members are being reassigned. The group was the oldest of its kind in Alaska. June 3, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Jordan Kimball, on bass, and Mike Williams practice in the former home of the Band of the Pacific, on JBER. The group has been disbanded by the military, and the 15 band members are being reassigned. June 3, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Jordan Kimball, on bass, and Mike Williams practice in the former home of the Band of the Pacific, on JBER. The group has been disbanded by the military, and the 15 band members are being reassigned. June 3, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Jordan Kimball, left and Andy Tucker move a vibraphone out of their former practice space at JBER. The pair, former members of the Band of the Pacific, have been reassigned. June 3, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Andy Tucker, left, and Jordan Kimball take a break from moving instruments out of their former practice space. June 3, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
The former practice space of the Air Force Band of the Pacific-Alaska. The group has been disbanded by the military, and the 15 band members are being reassigned. The group was the oldest of its kind in Alaska. June 3, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Jordan Kimball practices alone at the former headquarters of the Air Force Band of the Pacific-Alaska. The group has been disbanded by the military, and the 15 band members are being reassigned. The group was the oldest of its kind in Alaska. June 3, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Andy Tucker takes a break from moving musical instruments, playing a long-forgotten vibraphone. June 3, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Music from the Air Force Band of the Pacific-Alaska. The group has been disbanded by the military, and the 15 band members are being reassigned. The group was the oldest of its kind in Alaska. June 3, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Andy Tucker's personal instruments being prepared for moving. Mr. Tucker played percussion with the Air Force Band of the Pacific-Alaska. June 3, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
A map of Alaska, with pins highlighting some of the places that the band has performed in the past 8 years. The Air Force Band of the Pacific-Alaska is over 70 years old. June 3, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Gail Tucker and Mike Williams look at housing options at their new assignments. The two are former members of the Air Force Band of the Pacific-Alaska, which was disbanded by the military. June 3, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
The former home of the Air Force Band of the Pacific-Alaska. The group has been disbanded by the military, and the 15 band members are being reassigned. The group was the oldest of its kind in Alaska. June 3, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Laurel Andrews

Master Staff Sgt. Gail Tucker’s office is scattered with trophies and books stacked in haphazard piles where shelves used to be, as she prepares to shut down operations of the longest serving military unit in continuous active duty in Alaska, the Band of the Pacific.

Pointing to a white board with the names of her band members and their departure date, she had already erased the names of three members who have left.

Her name is the last on the list. “It’s going to be very quiet,” she said.

What is lost in the band’s deactivation is a mission to engage Alaska’s diverse community, educating kids and an experience for band members that Tucker, a clarinetist, called “phenomenal.”

“It’s a shame to see this mission go away [in Alaska]. It’s unlike anywhere else that I’ve ever been, and I’ve been all around,” she said.

The Band of the Pacific -- Alaska’s only Air Force band -- first formed in 1941 and officially designated in 1943, has been deactivated due to budget cuts and their members reassigned across the U.S. The Band of the Pacific is a unit existing in three parts in Alaska, Japan and Hawaii. Tucker’s unit reorganized a year ago, and they sent their entire jazz band -- 14 of the band's thirty members -- to be stationed in Japan, where she said there is a great appreciation of jazz music. Left behind was their rock band named Top Cover and Alaska Brass, their brass quintet. Now, they've all been reassigned. Alaska Brass played their last show on June 1.

Although not related to the federal spending cuts known as the sequester, military budget cuts in the past several years prompted the Chief of Staff of the Air Force to reexamine where dollars were flowing, and cutting band positions was a part of that process.

READ MORE: After 70 years, Air Force Band of the Pacific waves goodbye to Alaska