Entertaining the troops in the ’60s at the old Clinton County Air Force Base


By Gary Huffenberger - ghuffenberger@wnewsj.com



Details were obtained about the “Throwback Thursday” photo published Aug. 30 when the drummer in the band pictured performing at the former Clinton County Air Force Base (CCAFB) called in response to a News Journal inquiry.

Drummer Chris Branham, who now lives in Waynesville, said the name of the band at the time was The Fabulous Tijuanas. The vocalist pictured is Brenda Davis, who later became Branham’s wife, and has passed away.

Playing guitar on the photo’s left is Danny Smart, who still lives in Wilmington, according to Branham. And the guitarist on the right is the late Gary Hartman who died at a young age.

The band played at the air base and “from there as time went on, we played every major Air Force base in the Midwest,” said Branham. Branham later would be drummer for Dick Clark’s “Rock, Roll & Remember” weekly radio show.

He’s not sure which CCAFB building was the site for the performance in the 1965 “Throwback” photograph. It may have been at the NCO (Non-Commissioned Officers) Club, he said.

Branham described the News Journal file photograph as rare.

He still has a band — called Mr. Chris and the Cruisers. Just recently, he entertained for a four-star lady general, continuing the penchant for entertaining the troops.

He said his start in music was in Martinsville.

A son, Chris Branham Jr., followed in his father’s footsteps and is in the band Reeking Havoc which plays ’80s and ’90s hard rock. They’re scheduled for a show on Saturday, Sept. 29 at Chief’s Lake near Clarksville.

By Gary Huffenberger

ghuffenberger@wnewsj.com