The Reilly Raiders
Corp Frederick W Reilly VFW Post 7947
VFW Senior National Champions
1950, 1951, 1957, 1958, 1959
American Legion Senior National Champions 1952
Prelims - Chicago 1950 Soldiers Field
1949 Phila Area Soprano Bugle Champion recieving award from Judge Charles Nabors
Bill Hooten Accepting 1951 VFW National Championship Trophy
1955 Dream Contest
Rich Mohelski is the Guidon on the far left, followed by Alphonse, Joe Sneidinger and Jack Hackett
Farther down the line is Chick Carr, Bob Adair, Dick McDonald and Ted Locker
Rich Mohelski Alphonse Panebianco Joe Sneidinger Jack Hackett
Ted Locker (Former Osmond Cadet)
Reilly Drum Major in the early 60's
Field Practice 1964
Reilly in Front of Post Home 1964 (Next 4 Pictures)
Reilly at 64 Dream Contest (Next 4 Pictures)
Left Pete Fred Siegfried Front CG Capt Blackie
Reilly Alumni Color Guard 2004
Left Front Pete Right Front Fred Seigfried
1946, after World War II, the returning veterans who had been members of a
long-standing junior corps in Philadelphia before the war, the A.K. Street Post
decided to start a senior corps.
original A.K. Street Post Senior Corps was outfitted in khaki uniforms with
white pith helmets.
The Reilly Raiders honored the name of Cpl Frederick W. Reilly, who was a
Raiders first musical director was the famous C. Russel Murphy. A real
in their first VFW National Convention (Boston, Mass) the corps placed 2nd
bhind the Lt. Norman Prince “Princemen”. It was the following year in
Cleveland, Ohio that the Raiders new dress uniforms of black and green caused a
major sensation! A black officers cap trimmed in chrome, a black ¾ dress coat
trimmed in green with black pants. The coat was modeled after the Royal Irish
constabulary (Not the German SS as some vets thought) A Kelly green “Reilly
Green) bib adorned the front of the
black coat. This entirely new & unique uniform (Wingrade Uniform
Company) caused many good and bad comments. However it was not long before drum
corps from all over the country were to adopt the Raiders full uniform or cap.
In 1948, Reilly was invited to Webster Music Hall in New York City to make several recordings on the Palda Record label. These would be the first professional recordings ever produced of a Drum & Bugle Corps. There remain a few in existence to this day.
Reilly, a distinct underdog, was the winner of the very first Dream Contest held at Roosevelt Stadium in 1949. It eventually had to be moved indoor to the Armory in Jersey City because of inclement weather. Competing against the National Champions of the VFW, Lt. Norman Prince, Boston, MA, and the National Champions of the American Legion, Jersey Joes of Riverside, NJ the Reilly Raiders, were crowned the Dream Contest Champions. This set the stage for their phenomenal winning record that was to follow in ensuing years
Reilly won their first National Championship in 1950, a sentinel accomplishment, from formation to the ultimate prize in only 4 years. Two years later, under the leadership of their Hall of Fame Drum Major, "Wild Bill" Hooton, they became the only Senior Corps in the United States to hold both the VFW and American Legion Championships. They eventually won 7 National Championships and 16 Pennsylvania State titles. From 1946 to 1959, they entered 129 contests with a phenomenal record of 90 first places, 31 second places and 8 third places. This enviable record and their competition accomplishments combined to catapult them to their highest honor, induction into the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame in 1965 as the Senior Corps of the 1950's.
Reilly Alumni Corps Participates in the
2005 St Patrick's Day Parade
in Dublin, Ireland!!
Reilly Alumni Corps participated in the St. Patrick's Day Parade in
Dublin, Ireland in 2005. It had always been a dream of Wild Bill Hooten, their Drum
Major, to ride a White Horse in it. He passed away in 2002 but Joe Ciccippio
remembered that dream and he paid for a White Horse to precede the Corps
the streets of Dublin with a riderless harness to symbolize their fallen
leader. Bill's wife distributed his ashes on the streets of the parade.
Joe was one of the captives taken in Iran when the Embassy was raided a
number of years ago. When asked how he managed to keep his sanity while in solitary
confinement all that time, he said he used to march around his cell humming
and singing the Reilly drill and repertoire (probably drove his captors nuts).
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