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West Point Band : Command_Staff

Command Staff Musicians Support Staff
Col. Andrew J. Esch, a native of Fairfax, Virginia, holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Michigan State University and a Master of Arts degree in conducting from George Mason University. He was originally commissioned through ROTC in 1986, as a Distinguished Military Graduate.
Col. Esch served six years as an Army Quartermaster, first as a Platoon Leader and Executive Officer in the 11th Transportation Battalion, Fort Story, Virginia, and then as a Staff Officer in the Casualty Branch Command during Operation Desert Storm.

In 1992, he left the Army to join The U.S. Air Force Band in Washington, D.C. as a French horn player. After three years as an instrumentalist, Col. Esch returned to the U.S. Army as a commissioned band officer.
Col. Esch is a graduate of the Quartermaster Officer Basic Course, the Adjutant General Captain’s Career Course, Command & General Staff College-Intermediate Level Education Course, Airborne School, Surface & Air Deployment Planning Courses and the NBC Officer Defense Course.
Previous assignments have included Deputy Commander, The U.S. Army Band "Pershing’s Own" at Fort Myer, Virginia; Commander, U.S. Army Europe Band & Chorus in Heidelberg, Germany; Commander, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command Band, Fort Monroe, Virginia; Executive Officer and Ceremonial Officer of The U.S. Army Band "Pershing’s Own"; and Commander of Student Company, U.S. Army School of Music in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Col. Esch is married; he and his wife have three children. Commander
A native of Bountiful, Utah, First Lieutenant Darrin Thiriot holds a Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Utah and a Master of Music in Clarinet Performance from Northwestern University. In 2011 he completed both the Army Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia, and the Army Band Officer Course at Little Creek Naval Base, Virginia.

Earlier in his career, 1st Lt. Thiriot served as a clarinet player with various military bands: 23rd Army National Guard Band in Utah (1995-1999); U.S. Air Force Band of the West at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas (1999-2001); and the U.S. Air Force Band in Washington D.C. (2001-2011). 1st Lt. Thiriot is an avid soccer fan. 
Associate Bandmaster
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Michael J. Franz is a native of Los Alamos, New
Mexico. He entered the Marine Corps in 1998, and attended Marine Corps
Recruit Training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, California. He
joined the Army in 2006 after a short break in service, and attended Warrant Officer Candidate School at Fort Rucker, Alabama in 2009. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Thomas Edison State College, New Jersey.

His assignments include the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Band, 29 Palms, California, Navy School of Music, Little Creek, Virginia, Marine
Forces Reserve Band, New Orleans, Louisiana, 3rd Infantry Division Band,
Fort Stewart, Georgia, 77th Army Band, Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and the 82nd
Airborne Division Dand, Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

His military education includes Marine Combat Training, Navy School of Music Basic Course, Navy/Marine Corps Drum Major and Enlisted Conductor Course,Marine Corps SNCO Academy, Warrior Leaders Course, Senior Leaders Course, Warrant Officer Candidate School, Warrant Officer Basic Course, Warrant Officer Advanced Course, Basic Airborne Course, Marine Corps Martial Arts Program First Degree Black Belt, Small Arms Master Gunner Course, Combat Lifesavers Course, and Equal Opportunity Leaders Course.

His military awards include the Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf
clusters, Army Commendation Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal with bronze star, National Defense Service Medal, Iraqi Campaign Medal with campaign star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, NCOPD Ribbon with 2 device, Basic Parachutist Badge, the Danish Contingency Medal, and the Honorable Order of St Barbara.
Band Sergeant Major
Command Sergeant Major James Mullins is originally from Florence, Alabama. He enlisted in the Army in 1986. After attending the Armed Forces School of Music in Norfolk, VA and continuing his first enlistment with the 392nd Army Band at Fort Lee, Virginia, Command Sgt. Major Mullins attended Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia where he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Music degree in 1993. He then attended the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University where he was awarded a Master of Music degree in 1995.

He returned to military service in 1995 by joining the Army Ground Forces Band at Ft. McPherson in Atlanta, Georgia as Principal Oboist, where he served alongside the West Point Band’s current commander, then 2nd Lt. Jim Keene. Command Sgt. Maj. Mullins joined the West Point Band in 1996 as the Assistant Principal Oboe and Solo English Horn. He has held many additional duties including Woodwind Group Leader and Administrative NCOIC.  In 2008, he became the Concert Band NCOIC and was assigned to serve as Family and Support Division Sergeant Major.

Command Sgt. Major Mullins served as principal oboe in the concert band from 2002 to 2013 and has performed throughout the country with the West Point Band. One career highlight is serving as concertmaster of the West Point Band during two sold out performances at the New York Philharmonic’s Avery Fisher Hall. Command Sgt. Major Mullins served as the oboist with the Academy Wind Quintet from 1996 to 2013. As a member of the quintet, Command Sgt. Major Mullins has performed recitals for diverse audiences from coast to coast.
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