Media Meet and Greet with the Veterans Grand Marshals of the 2021 Phoenix Veterans Day Parade

Honoring America’s Veterans is proud to present the Phoenix Veterans Day Parade in 2021.  After a year-long hiatus, the event will be in person this year on the streets of Phoenix on November 11.

This year’s Veterans Grand Marshals will represent veterans from World War II to today, including a highly decorated veteran who served in Afghanistan.  We hope you will join us!

  • Edward Chan, World War II Veteran, U.S. Air Force, Mesa, AZ: Chan was a bombardier on a B-24 bomber in the European conflict.  His plane was called the “Hula Honey.”  He flew 35 sorties over Nazi Germany.  He was born in San Francisco but spent most of his life in Tucson.  His wife of almost 70 years recently passed away in March.  He now resides with his son’s family in Mesa.  Chan is a proud veteran of a war long ago.  While he seldom speaks of specifics, he shares stories of being on the plane and his responsibilities.  As an Asian American, he is proud to serve his country while representing his heritage.
  • Ralph Gastelum, Korean War Veteran, U.S. Marine Corps, Chandler, AZ:  Gastelum made the famous Inchon Landing on September 15, 1950, and fought in the epic battle of the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea.  His service was in the winter of 1950 as a US Marine encircled by hundreds of thousands of Chinese communists.  The Marines broke out of the encirclement and survived.  They defeated the Chinese and the overwhelming forces of the frigid weather of 40 degrees below zero temperatures.  Gastelum continued fighting in the Spring Offensive battles and fought in the worst of the fighting during the first year of the Korean War.
  • Colonel John J. South, Chaplain, U.S. Army (retired), Vietnam War Veteran, Phoenix, AZ: Chaplain South is a wounded combat veteran of the First Infantry Division who fought during the Vietnam War. Chaplain South has more than thirty years’ service in the Army, working his way up through the ranks from enlisted to Officer and retiring as a Colonel. He was the first Army Reserve Chaplain selected for the resident Army War College in Carlisle, PA, and still serves as a Deacon in the Protestant Faith.  In addition to his military service, South served as a policeman in civilian life and then as the Phoenix Police Dept Chaplain, where he was called in to talk to those contemplating suicide.  He was also a counselor to police who were involved in the Columbine CO shootings.  On 9-11, he accompanied teams at the World Trade Center as they sifted through the rubble, looking for victims. Once the remains were found, Chaplain South formed the appropriate pastoral ministry actions.
  • Ricardo Carlo, U.S. Air Force, Cold War Veteran, Phoenix, AZ: Ricardo Carlo retired from a long career with the USAF as a Technical Sergeant, earning two Commendation Medals, one Joint Service Medal, and four Outstanding Unit Awards. One of his tours of duty included serving with the Strategic Air Command. After retirement, he became the Executive Director (and later President) of the Associated Minority Contractors of America to champion diversity, economic development, and entrepreneurship among Arizona’s Small Contractor businesses.  He sits on numerous committees and boards in the state, including Rio Salado’s President Advisory Council, the City of Phoenix’s Small Business Enterprise Oversight Committee, and West-MEC’s Industry Advisory Council, to name a few.
  • Christine Mahon, U.S. Army Reserve (retired), Desert Storm Veteran, Ahwatukee, AZ: Col. Mahon served in USAR for 33 years as a Nurse.  She was assigned as the Chief Nurse 403rd Combat Support Hospital (CSH) Phoenix 1989-92.  During this time, she was mobilized to Saudi Arabia which came under scud attacks.  Her unit was moved to a troop assembly area where she prepared their hospital equipment. At MEDCENWEST she was part of the team that established the hospital.  Ground war casualties began arriving, and during her tour there, 139 patients were treated in their hospital Emergency Room, and 80+ life-saving surgical procedures were performed. This Reserve Hospital was the single one in support of the 7th Corps during the ground war and treated one-third of the 7th Corps casualties.
  • James “Jake” Livingstone, U.S. Army Special Forces, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Glendale, AZ: Livingstone departed military service in 2019 as a Sergeant First Class with 100% disability, earning the Bronze Star with two Oak Leaf Clusters. Livingstone served in the 10th Mountain Division and then as an 18D in the 3rd Special Forces Group. During one of his tours in Iraq, he established the first Iraqi wounded warrior program and treatment. Livingstone also helped secure voting facilities in western Baghdad during the first free and democratic election in Iraqi history. While with Special Forces, he trained Iraqi Special Operations Forces and conducted Joint Operations with them. Later headed a special activities section supporting the National Mission Force, embassy assault force, Iraqi counter-terror forces, U.N. medical operations, and various other U.S. agencies.
  • MSG Scott Ford, U.S. Army, Special Forces, (retired), Phoenix AZ: MSG Ford most notably served as the Team Sergeant during the Battle of Shok Valley Afghanistan. The Battle of Shok Valley, also known as Operation Commando Wrath, was a joint U.S.-Afghan raid designed to kill or capture Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the leader of Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin. This team was most of the most highly decorated, including ten Special Forces soldiers and their combat cameraman being awarded the Silver Star for bravery, the most significant number of such awards for a single battle since the Vietnam War. MSG Ford was seriously wounded during the fight and almost lost his right arm.

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