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Marines lead the way in NYCs 100th Veterans Day Parade with commandant as grand marshal

By: Philip Athey

Marines lead the way in NYCs 100th Veterans Day Parade with commandant as grand marshal
Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger, as honorary grand marshal, will lead a contingent of Marines up New York City’s Fifth Avenue in the Big Apple’s 100th Veterans Day parade on Monday, Nov. 11.

The parade also will feature Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard units, according to a Monday press release.

Five official grand marshals will “represent every generation of American warrior from World War II through current post 9/11 service," said a press release from the United War Veterans Council.

The five official grand marshals will include three Medal of Honor recipients: West Virginia’s last surviving World War II Marine Corps Medal of Honor recipient Herschel “Woody” Williams was a corporal with 1st Battalion, 21st Marines, 3rd Marine Division, on Iwo Jima in 1945. When U.S. tanks were maneuvering through “reinforced concrete pillboxes, buried mines, and black volcanic sands” he “daringly went forward alone to attempt the reduction of devastating machinegun fire from the unyielding positions.”

On one occasion he “daringly mounted a pillbox to insert the nozzle of his flamethrower through the air vent, killing the occupants and silencing the gun,” according to his award citation.

Also in the parade will be 94-year-old Army veteran Hiroshi “Hershey” Miyamura, who in September was said to be in declining health. He was the son of Japanese immigrants and was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in the Korean War.

On the night of April 24, 1951, Miyamura’s company was under heavy attack and he jumped from his shelter wielding a bayonet and killed 10 of the enemy in hand-to-hand combat, Army Times previously reported.

Also serving as grand marshal will be retired Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.), from the Vietnam War, who was the first U.S. Navy SEAL to receive the Medal of Honor.

He went above and beyond the call of duty to “while serving as a SEAL Team Leader for Seal Team ONE during action against enemy aggressor (Viet Cong) forces in Nha Trang Bay, Republic of Vietnam, on 14 March 1969," according to his award citation.

The three Medal of Honor recipients will be featured alongside two more Marines: Corps veteran Eddie Ray, who received the Navy Cross for “decisive leadership” and courage during the Gulf War during an attack in Kuwait on the 1st Marine Division by an Iraqi mechanized division. And Marine veteran Zachary Iscol, who deployed twice to Iraq and participated in the second battle of Fallujah, according to the press release.

The United War Veterans Council, which produces the parade every year, said it will have a nearly 300 marching units made up of active duty and veteran members of every branch of the military.

More than 25,000 people will participate in the Nov. 11 march through the nation’s largest city, bringing in representatives from nearly 30 states.

“On November 11, we come together as one people to honor and thank our veterans, people like General David Berger who has served this nation for 38 years,” said United War Veterans Council Chairman Douglas McGowan. “We are proud to highlight these five veterans as our Grand Marshals and the Commandant as our Honorary Grand Marshal, and the opportunity to thank all those who served in our military at this year’s Centennial Veterans Day Parade.


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