Meet the veterans serving as grand marshals in this year's Veterans Day parade – The Arizona Republic

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Icon 10월 18, 2021

Members of the public can meet the seven veterans who will serve as grand marshals in this year’s Phoenix Veterans Day parade at a reception in Scottsdale on Saturday.
The Nov. 11 parade in Phoenix is expected to have 2,500 marchers and 45,000 spectators, according to Honoring America’s Veterans, which hosts the annual event. Last year’s festivities were held virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The veterans serving as grand marshals in this year’s parade are: Edward Chan, Ralph Gastelum, Col. John J. South, Ricardo Carlo, Col. Christine Mahon, James “Jake” Livingstone and MSG Scott Ford, the Honoring America’s Veterans organization announced on Friday.
Chan served as a bombardier in the U.S. Air Force during World War II on a plane called “Hula Honey,” according to a biography included in the Friday news release. Though he “seldom speaks of specifics,” the organization said Chan flew 35 sorties over Nazi Germany and has remained a proud veteran ever since.
Gastelum “fought in the worst of the fighting” during the first year of the Korean War, the organization said. He was part of the Inchon landing in September 1950 and fought in the Battle of Chosin Reservoir that December.
South is a wounded combat veteran who fought during the Vietnam War. He worked his way up the U.S. Army ranks for more than three decades before retiring as a colonel, the organization said. South served as a chaplain for both the military and the Phoenix Police Department, and provided support to teams on the ground in the aftermath of both the Columbine High School shooting in 1999 and the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
Carlo earned two Air Force Commendation medals, one Joint Service Commendation Medal, and four Air Force Outstanding Unit awards throughout his long career as a technical sergeant. Since retiring from the military, Carlo has served as executive director and president of the Associated Minority Contractors of Arizona and sits on various committees and boards across the state.
Mahon, a Desert Storm veteran, served as a nurse in the U.S. Army Reserve for 33 years, the organization said. She was designated as the chief nurse of the 403rd Combat Support Hospital in Phoenix from 1989 to 1992, during which time she was sent to Saudi Arabia. After the area came under missile attacks, Mahon helped establish a hospital that treated 139 patients in its emergency room and performed more than 80 life-saving surgeries during her tour, the organization said. The hospital was the only one supporting the 7th Corps during the ground war and treated one-third of its casualties.
Livingstone served with the U.S. Army Special Forces prior to retiring in 2019 as a Sergeant First Class with 100% disability and a Bronze Star Medal. During his time in Iraq, the organization said Livingstone helped establish the first Iraqi wounded warrior program and secure voting facilities in Baghdad ahead of its 2005 election, which the U.S. Department of State said was the first democratic election in more than 30 years.
Ford served as the team sergeant during the Battle of Shok Valley in Afghanistan in 2008, a team that is now among the most highly decorated. Ten special forces soldiers and their combat cameraman were awarded the Silver Star Medal for their bravery, the highest number of such awards for a single battle since the Vietnam War, the organization said. Ford was seriously wounded and almost lost his right arm in the fight.
The meet and greet reception will be held at The McCormick Scottsdale, at 7421 N. Scottsdale Road, at 9:15 a.m. Saturday.
Reach the reporter at [email protected] or 602-444-8529.  Follow her on Twitter @brieannafrank
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