Following Nestico's departure the Airmen of Note was temporarily inactivated, and for several months the future of the band hung in the balance. Finally Col. Howard decided that the Airmen of Note should continue as a separate full-time dance band. He put the unit under the direction of MSgt Johnny Osiecki, the accordion soloist that shared the stage at the band's debut back in 1951. Johnny had demonstrated his leadership capability as the organizer and leader of the Crew Chiefs, a jazz-oriented dance combo that often toured with the Note.
Through the summer of 1955, the Airmen of Note had ceased to exist as an operating unit. To keep occupied, the men filled in with the HeadCom Band, dance combos, and other units at Bolling. Johnny was named leader in September. Shortly thereafter the band resumed rehearsals, and Johnny auditioned for men to fill the vacancies that had developed in the interim.
Johnny was to lead the Airmen of Note for the next eleven years and has the distinction of serving longer than any other director. His leadership can be divided into four distinct time periods, which the band called the four "Herds" after the legendary Herman Herds.