On this date (January 10) in 1968, a re-formed Phantom Regiment held their first rehearsal at a small building on the corner of 2nd and State streets in downtown Rockford.
From June 1965 until this date in 1968, Phantom Regiment was dormant, though the cadet corps continued to do parades while taking several names, including calling themselves the Phantom Regiment Cadets, the Blackhawk Cadets and the Forest City Rangers.
During those dormant years, several Phantom Regiment alumni from the 1956-1964 era would gather to play cards and discuss reforming the corps. They tried several fund-raisers (to no avail) and eventually simply pooled their own money, got in contact with the director of the cadet corps (Doug Glasscoe)…and with the cadet members and equipment as a nucleus from which to build, and armed with a hand-written set of by-laws, a Board of Directors (comprised of those 7 card players!) and a legal not-for-profit charter from the State of Illinois in hand, Phantom Regiment was once again off and running.
These 7 men who took that leap of faith and re-started the corps were:
Jim Wren (currently on the Regiment Board of Directors and a DCI Hall of Fame member)
Dr. Dan Richardson (currently on the Regiment Board of Directors and an active staff member)
Of the members at that first rehearsal, 28 marched the entire 1968 season. One of those members, Ron Schulz, continues to this day as a member of the Board of Directors and president of the Phantom Regiment Alumni Association.
Within 6 short years from that date, the corps would earn a spot in DCI’s Top 12, and have continued to do so every year since.