CRESTVIEW — If President Barack Obama’s first inauguration is a guideline, chances are high that a Crestview High School graduate will take another salute from his commander in chief this afternoon.
Since 2003, Ben Cadle, 35, has been a member of the U.S. Army Ceremonial Band, part of the United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own,” which is traditionally the first unit to march in inaugural parades. When they marched past the presidential reviewing box on Jan. 20, 2009, President Obama snapped a salute.
Following his 1995 graduation from Crestview High, Ben Cadle, son of Crestview Mayor David Cadle and his wife, Shirley, earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Louisiana State University. He studied at Longy School of Music in Boston before he auditioned for an opening in the Army Ceremonial Band at Fort Myers in Washington, D.C.
Since he was accepted in the band, Ben Cadle has performed for two presidential inaugurations — George W. Bush’s second and Obama’s first — and Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan’s funerals. He has advanced to being a drum-major-in-training.
“I’ve been drum majoring for the past two and a half to three years,” Ben Cadle said. “There’s just a handful of us. It’s been great to have a position of responsibility in front of your peers. They are amazing musicians. It has been a little intimidating at first but I love it. I love every second I’ve had as drum major.”
“It’s an exciting job because he gets to see a lot of history up close and personal,” David Cadle said. “He’s just learning so much.”
He said he and his wife often catch glimpses of their son during television coverage of ceremonial events.
“We saw him once when Bush was president and they were lighting the Christmas tree (in) front of the White House,” David Cadle said. “He was in the group that played and it was like zero degrees. The TV caught him several times; I think you could see his hands shaking from the cold. He accompanied Eartha Kitt. I think she sang, ‘Santa Baby.’”
A former president’s admittance to the hospital shortly before Christmas could have derailed Ben Cadle, his wife, Carrie, and their 14-month-old son Matthew’s visit home to Crestview.
“He had some anxiety over the holidays,” David Cadle said. “He’s the Army band’s liaison for funerals and former President (George) Bush went in the hospital. They practice all the presidents’ funeral plans.”
However, with Bush recuperating, Ben Cadle has been concentrating on Monday’s Inaugural Parade, his father said.
“He dreads it because of their rehearsal times,” David Cadle said. “They have to rehearse when the city’s asleep.”
“The rehearsal we had this past Sunday was at 3:15 in the morning,” Ben Cadle said. “You put in a full seven-hour day and you’re done at 10 in the morning.”
On Monday, the mayor will try to catch Inaugural Day coverage on what should be a long but memorable day for his son, “one of the horn players in the mix,” as Ben Cadle put it, of the 99-piece band.
Their job begins before the parade even kicks off.
“I’m anticipating being there at 0500 to start off the morning,” Ben Cadle said. “There’s a lot of waiting. The parade starts soon after 1 p.m. They have a luncheon after the swearing in. We’re officially the escort to the president on his way to the parade.”
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Brian Hughes at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbBrian.