Sgt. 1st Class David Winterhalter, Army Band Senior NCO of the Year.

Sgt. 1st Class David Winterhalter, Army Band Senior NCO of the Year. (Courtesy of U.S. Army)

HEIDELBERG, Germany — After two decades among gifted musicians, Sgt. 1st Class David Winterhalter is admittedly humble about his recent award.

Winterhalter, a clarinet and saxophone player with the U.S. Army Band, was named Army band’s senior noncommissioned officer of the year. It’s the second year the title was awarded.

He was selected above senior sergeants from 105 Army bands.

“Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate what I’ve received,” Winterhalter, 44, said. “But how can you judge who is the best?”

He credits his selection to the responsibilities he held in 2002, and to the people he worked with.

As operations sergeant, he planned much of the USAREUR band’s engagements, including a spring tour of northern Europe.

And he said it was fellow soldiers who were also talented musicians with advanced degrees, who inspired him to work hard.

After graduating from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Winterhalter joined the hotel circuit with Top 40 bands. But finding good paying jobs in music can be difficult.

So, prompted by another musician and friend, Sgt. Maj. Joe Camarda, he joined the Army for a chance to serve his country and perform music. He has been doing both for nearly 20 years.

He served in New York, Korea, California and Maryland before getting assigned to Germany.

Once assigned to Tompkins Barracks, Schwetzingen, with the USAREUR band, Winterhalter fell in with a group of long distance runners in the band and started developing another interest. He has since run in marathons in Berlin and Frankfurt.

“The burn started once I got into it,” Winterhalter said. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do.”

Also honored by the Army band were Sgt. Terrina Anderson of Fort Huachuca, Ariz., named top junior NCO, and Sgt. 1st Class James LaFlame of Massachusetts and Sgt. Normand Brumblay of Tennessee, who were selected as top senior and junior NCO, respectively, for Reserve component bands.

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