Gene Wood is a proud veteran who served as an advisor to the Army and the National Guard in the southeast part of the United States. His experience includes helicopter mechanics, a leadership role as Crew Chief, as well as advisor to the Technical Assistance and Fielding Team (TAFT) between the Saudi Arabian and United States Armies in Desert Storm. He fielded the Saudi Army’s first attack helicopter battalion.

Among the many significant events during his time in service, Wood remembers a time when the war broke out and the 18-person TAFT team performed all of the operations with the Saudi Army, while he advised them. The concept of “team” is something that Wood clearly focuses on while sharing his experiences.

His time overseas taught him a very valuable lesson: to be patient with other countries and populations of people they served around, especially those who don’t understand what American servicemen do. Wood also proudly notes that the most important aspect of his job was to take care of the servicemen under his supervision.

Wood’s notable career accomplishments include the Bronze Star, Air Medal, and Master Air Crewman’s Wings, as well as the Meritorious Service Medal for his outstanding achievements and service to the United States.

The work and training Wood experienced in the military inspired him to work for U.S. Airways as quality control for aircraft maintenance. It’s clear that the patience and safety of others remains as a strong purpose for him.

It’s easy to see that Wood is a patient and caring veteran who also attributes the success of veterans to those that support them “back home.” He respectfully speaks about the hard work and sacrifice his wife endured during his 23 years in service. With the number of times that he was overseas or away from home, she took exceptional care of the home front and managed their separation well.

Wood says Veterans Day remains as “the time we honor ourselves as brothers and sisters in arms for our particular sacrifice.” His wish is for civilians to understand the true purpose of observed holidays like Veterans Day and Memorial Day, as well as the difference between the two. “Let us honor those who have served and live during Veteran’s Day,” he says, “and those who have passed during Memorial Day.”

Wood is humbled and honored to stand up and represent veterans alike. Proudly, he always makes it a point to thank veterans, in and out of uniform, for their service and contributions to our country.

We hope you will join us at the 22nd Annual Phoenix Veterans Day Parade on Monday, November 12, 2017, to see all our Grand Marshals. This year’s parade theme is “OUT OF THE TRENCHES: A Century of Remembrance – WWI 1918.” The parade typically boasts more than 100 entries, and this year will have a special float with nearly 20 Vietnam Veterans riding on it. The parade will also feature patriotic floats, high school marching bands, JROTC marching units, color guards, Veterans Service Organizations, animals, novelty units and much, much more.

For more information on the parade and the parade route, click HERE.