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PHOENIX VETERANS DAY PARADE ESSAY CONTEST: Our Second-Place Winner

Educating our youth about the sacrifices and service our military veterans provide is a part of the mission of the Phoenix Veterans Day Parade. So, the non-profit parade organizers Honoring America’s’s Veterans once again hosted the Phoenix Veterans Day Parade Essay Contest this year as part of the education effort.

Open to all high-school-age students in grades 9-12 in Maricopa County, the essay theme focus this year was the parade theme of “Welcome Home Vietnam Heroes.” A total of 113 essays were received and were judged on creative writing, grammar, originality, content and theme focus. First-, second- and third-place winners receive cash prizes courtesy of Durant’s Restaurant, a ride in the parade and several other “perks” as a way of saying thanks for their efforts.

We are pleased to present this year’s second-place-winning essay by Chelsey Osteros, a 10th grade student at Peoria High School.


NEVER FORGET

The things that every one of our veterans go through and have been through is unimaginable. It is something that you may never forget. I could never know exactly what you all have been through, but I believe it shapes who you are. Veterans are heroes. You have fought for your country willingly and have done it with a pure heart. You have done so much good for our country. You have risked everything – not only to fight for your freedoms, but mine as well. You deserve to be honored and remembered.

rotc-cadetsPeople often ask me why I am so dedicated to the Air Force Junior Reserve Training Corps. My answer is always the same: because I want to fight for my country. The Corps has taught me so much. I want to follow in the footsteps that my family has left for me. I want to give back to something that has given everything to me. I try to imagine what being in your shoes would be like, but honestly I haven’t the slightest clue. The thing I do know is that every one of you did it out of love and respect for our country. The love and respect you show is courageous.

There are not many people who would fight for our freedoms and represent our country without a second thought. You all fought for one reason and towards one goal. The reason was love for your country and the goal was fighting for the freedoms we all have today. Nothing shows more bravery than the things you have done. I am so thankful for every one of you. You may not hear it often, but you are truly cherished. Everything you’ve done is remembered. You’ve given me the opportunity to do things, and the one thing that I plan to do is to make a difference, just as you have.

There is nothing that could compare to the things that you have done. There is also nothing that could compare to the sacrifices that you have made. To serve this country is to put your all into it, and every one of you have done so. You may feel like you are never recognized or you are unappreciated, but take my word for it, there are people out in this world who do what they do because of people like you. Everything that you have done has made this country stronger.

People like you veterans give me the courage to want to fight for my country. I will always remember the things veterans have given to allow me to be where and who I am today. I hope that one day I am a hero just as you are. I hope that I can change someone’s world as you have changed mine.

Thank you for your service and Welcome Home.

2016-10-31T19:13:21-07:00

MEET OUR MARSHALS: Desert Storm Grand Marshal Carlos Lozano

Carlos Lozano

Desert Storm Grand Marshal Carlos Lozano

You might say Carlos Lozano joined the Navy for practical reasons. One of six children living with a single mother in New York City, he realized he was starting to “get into trouble.” So at the age of 16, he marched right down to the Navy recruiting office, who told him he could join when he turned 17 with parental permission. “Being one of six children living with a single mother and representing one less mouth to feed, permission was gladly and eagerly given,” he remembers. “One month after my 17th birthday, I was on my way to boot camp.” The year was 1970. Lozano headed to Aviation School right out of boot camp, where he became an aircraft mechanic; one of his first duty stations was Aircraft Anti-Submarine Squadron 27 (VS-27), and he made two Mediterranean deployments aboard the USS Intrepid.

He later earned his high school diploma and an Aerospace Engineering degree from the University of Texas, and was commissioned as a naval officer. The brand-new Ensign, his wife and their three children went sent to Japan for three years, from where he made numerous Pacific deployments aboard the USS Midway, including being part of the naval forces contingency in the Persian Gulf during the Iranian hostage crisis.

Lozano’s illustrious 34-year naval career has included duty stations aboard the Fighter Wing One, USS Coral Sea, the Pentagon, head of the Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department, NAS Oceana, and Executive Director for Logistics at Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, Maryland. During his Pentagon tour, he studied at night to earn a master’s degree in Organizational Management from the University of Phoenix. He retired as a Captain in 2004 and has many awards, including the Legion of Merit, two Meritorious Service Medals and four Navy Commendation Medals.

Lozano says the highlight of his career occurred during the Desert Storm conflict, as he had the honor of being assigned as one of only 10 Airwing ONE Maintenance Officers (more commonly known as CAGMO) in the entire Navy. He was deployed with the USS America (CV-66), headed for the Persian Gulf, just a few weeks prior to the start of the ground war. “After making the transit across the Suez Canal, Airwing ONE was the only airwing that launched strike missions from both the Red Sea and Persian Gulf,” he remembers. “I am very proud of the fact that it was the only airwing not to sustain any battle losses.”

Although Lozano says the biggest challenge during his military career was enduring the long deployments, separated from his family and missing many special events with them, he is grateful for meeting and working with so many great people, many of whom were instrumental in mentoring him. “This is a debt I could never repay,” he says.

Lozano, who lives in Chandler, Arizona, says he was surprised to find he had been chosen as one of this year’s Grand Marshals, and extremely honored that it was his daughter who nominated him. “I am not sure I deserve it,” he says humbly.

We think he does.


We hope you will join us at the 20th Annual Phoenix Veterans Day Parade on November 11, 2016, to see Celebrity Grand Marshal Pete Hegseth and all eight Veteran Grand Marshals. This year’s parade theme is “Welcome Home Vietnam Heroes.” 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

2016-10-30T22:21:32-07:00

MEET OUR MARSHALS: Cold War Grand Marshal Diana Pike

Diana Pike

Cold War Grand Marshal Diana Pike

Diana Pike is an Army veteran, mentor, executive and Gold Star Mom. No stranger to challenges, Pike had a difficult start growing up in Compton, California, but knew she wanted more from life. So a week after graduating from high school in 1975, she joined the Women’s Army Corps.   After basic training, she attended Morse Incept Operator School in Boston, working in Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) from Japan to Germany for more than a dozen years.

As a Staff Sergeant, she served in Berlin during the pivotal occupation in the early 1980s. Sergeant First Class Pike retired from the Army in 1988, but continued to work in intelligence as part of the National Security Agency (NSA) in Virginia.

In 1993, a tragic car accident left Diana’s two young children, Christian and Denise, without a father.

She sold everything and tried to find a quieter life in Arizona to raise her children. She said it was also good to get away from the stress and haunting images at work. “Terrorism has never gone away, it’s always been there,” she says.

Pike took it upon herself to teach Christian the things she imagined he would have learned from his father Michael, like shooting and working on cars. She also sent him to “Outward Bound” each summer to bond with others and push his limits.  Diana beams, “He never doubted himself. He felt he was capable of anything.”

Christian enlisted in the U.S Navy in 2001, also drawn to intelligence. In March 2013, he was mortally wounded during a fierce gun battle in Afghanistan. Diana found herself in Germany once again, but this time in Landstuhl, to say goodbye to her only son, Cryptologist Tech Chief Christian Pike. “It never occurred to me that he wouldn’t come home – until I got that phone call,” she says. The Gold Star Mom says her son loved his life and she’s grateful they left nothing unsaid.

Co-worker Judy Austed points out, “Even after the loss of her son, Diana has helped my son’s effort to enlist in the U.S. Navy and continues to support him while he serves.”

With the GI Bill, Pike earned her master’s degree in leadership at Western International University and works as a Human Resources Developer for Fox TV, but finds time to volunteer with the “Remembering our Fallen from Arizona” display around the state. “The images of fallen service members since 9/11 on that wall are Arizona children, and my son’s,” she says.

Pike was honored by her selection as a Phoenix Veterans Day Parade Grand Marshal, but stresses, “I would like the emphasis on thanking our veterans. It’s important to know we are still a country at war, and there will be more veterans in years to come.”


We hope you will join us at the 20th Annual Phoenix Veterans Day Parade on November 11, 2016, to see Celebrity Grand Marshal Pete Hegseth and all eight Veteran Grand Marshals. This year’s parade theme is “Welcome Home Vietnam Heroes.” 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

2016-10-28T17:17:14-07:00

DID YOU KNOW? SOME FACTS ABOUT VETERANS DAY AND VETERANS

veterans-parade_1

In anticipation of the 20th annual Phoenix Veterans Day Parade on November 11, here are a few interesting – and some little-known – facts about Veterans Day and veterans. How many did you already know?

  • According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, there are over 23 million war veterans living in the United States.
  • elderly-vetVeterans over the age of 65 number 9.2 million, while 1.9 million are under the age of 35.
  • Female veterans number 1.8 million.
  • Veterans who served during the Vietnam War era (1964-1975) number 7.8 million, which represents 33 percent of all living veterans.
  • Veterans who served during the Gulf War (representing service from Aug. 2, 1990, to present) number 5.2 million.
  • Veterans who served during World War II (1941-1945) number 2.6 million.
  • Veterans who served during the Korean War (1950-1953) number 2.8 million.
  • Six million veterans served in peacetime.
  • Five states have more than one million veterans in their population: California (2.1 million), Florida (1.7 million), Texas (1.7 million), New York (one million) and Pennsylvania (one million).
  • Veterans more likely to vote: 14.7 million veterans voted in the 2012 presidential election. That’s 70 percent of all veterans.
  • pinup-girlVeterans Day was originally called “Armistice Day.” Originally on November 11, 1919, it was the first anniversary of the end of World War I and was originally established to honor veterans of World War I, but now it extends to all veterans. Congress made it a national holiday in 1938 and renamed it Veterans Day in 1954.
  • In 1968, the Uniform Holidays Bill was passed by Congress, which moved the celebration of Veterans Day to the fourth Monday in October. The law went into effect in 1971, but in 1975 President Ford returned Veterans Day to November 11, due to the important historical significance of the date.
  • The song “God Bless America” debuted on the radio for Veterans Day in 1938. Although Irving Berlin wrote it in 1918, it was another 20 years before he changed the lyrics and turned it into the patriotic ballad we now know. It debuted as part of an Armistice Day radio special on November 10, the day before Veterans Day, and was performed by “The First Lady of Radio,” Kate Smith. She became best known for her rendition of this song.
  • biplanesThe motto of the Department of Veterans Affairs is a quote from Abraham Lincoln. “To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan” is from the final paragraph of Lincoln’s second inaugural address.
  • Britain, France, Australia and Canada also commemorate the veterans of World Wars I and II on or near November 11th: Canada has Remembrance Day, while Britain has Remembrance Sunday (the second Sunday or November). In Europe, Britain and the Commonwealth countries, it is common to observe two minutes of silence at 11 a.m. every November 11.
  • Every year on Veterans Day, at exactly 11 a.m., a wreath-laying ceremony is held at the Tomb of the Unknowns in the Arlington National Cemetery.
  • The first Veterans Day parade was held in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1947 and remains an annual tradition there.

We hope you will join us at the 20th Annual Phoenix Veterans Day Parade on November 11, 2016, to see Celebrity Grand Marshal Pete Hegseth and all eight Veteran Grand Marshals. This year’s parade theme is “Welcome Home Vietnam Heroes.” 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

 

2016-10-26T18:26:43-07:00

PHOENIX VETERANS DAY PARADE ESSAY CONTEST: Here’s our third place winner!

Educating our youth about the sacrifices and service our military veterans provide is a part of the mission of the Phoenix Veterans Day Parade. So, the non-profit parade organizers Honoring America’s’s Veterans once again hosted the Phoenix Veterans Day Parade Essay Contest this year as part of the education effort.

Open to all high-school-age students in grades 9-12 in Maricopa County, the essay theme focus this year was the parade theme of “Welcome Home Vietnam Heroes.” A total of 113 essays were received and were judged on creative writing, grammar, originality, content and theme focus. First-, second- and third-place winners receive cash prizes courtesy of Durant’s Restaurant, a ride in the parade and several other “perks” as a way of saying thanks for their efforts.

We are pleased to present this year’s third-place-winning essay by Koriana Cannon, a 10th grade student at Peoria High School.

Welcome Home Heroes

solemn-vetsThank you and welcome home to all the Vietnam heroes. Thank you for being brave and loyal to our country. Thank you for trying your very best. Thank you, Vietnam vets – you are truly American heroes.

Over three-fourths of you who served in the Vietnam war were volunteers. You volunteered to serve in a war that not many people liked. You cared when no one else cared. You saluted a flag that turned its back on you. You did not get the thank you and welcome home you deserved. Thank you to all the volunteers, draftees and everyone who served for America in the Vietnam war.

Many of you came home with PTSD. You still carry memories that burn deep inside you. You remember fighting in jungles and sleeping in the strangest places. You remember fighting endlessly for our country. You remember fighting for America’s freedom and America’s future. You don’t remember many people welcoming you home, so we want to say, “Welcome home, heroes.”

You sacrificed your lives for our country. Not just physically, but mentally. You left your families to fight, knowing you may never see them again. Some died for red, white and blue. Some died as worthy, proud and amazing American soldiers. Thank you very much to the 58,272 Vietnam heroes who never returned – you won’t be forgotten.

You are heroes. You are our heroes. You fought and died for us to live free. You were treated so poorly when you came home, and we apologize for that. We apologize for what you went through when you returned. We apologize for not giving you the welcome you deserved when you finally returned home. Heroes deserve way more than what you got when you came home. We hope you have forgiven us for our actions. We thank you and we love you for fighting for our freedom.

Thank you and welcome home to all the Vietnam heroes. Thank you so much for being brave and loyal for 19 years and 180 days. Thank you very much to the 58,272 heroes who tried their very best and didn’t return home – may you all rest in peace. Thank you so much to the three-fourths of you who volunteered. Thank you so much to those who were drafted. Thank you so much to the heroes who still suffer from PTSD – we hope you get better soon. Thank you so much for being strong and fighting for the red, white and blue. Thank you, Vietnam vets – you are truly American heroes. You may not know us, but we know you.

Welcome home, heroes!

2016-10-25T17:54:20-07:00

MEET OUR MARSHALS: Korean War Grand Marshal Bill Kummer

Bill Kummer

Korean War Grand Marshal Bill Kummer

The month after he turned 18, Kummer officially entered the Navy as a Seaman Second Class. It was 1943 and many pilots were in training; the program was lengthened and toughened. But Kummer persisted and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the Marine Corps in January 1946 – only to be sent home several months later after budget cuts were passed by Congress.

Still undeterred, Kummer joined an Idaho National Guard Army tank battalion that had a unit in Moscow, becoming a USAAF pilot and, a short time later, received an order from the brand-new USAF that designated him as a “Liaison” pilot. In 1950, he was activated for Korea, once again with a new designation of Army Aviator with a new Army wings badge. That’s right – Kummer served in four branches as a pilot!

During the Korean War, he was an artilleryman and helicopter pilot. Kummer’s unit would contact the USAF bases nearby when they had an injured soldier or airman. “Our small, light helicopters paved the way to the famous ones used in Vietnam,” Kummer says. “Ours were so underpowered that strapping an injured person on the helicopter stretcher was a tense trip for machine and pilot – but we were successful!” He remembers the “photo” missions as being the most tense, as they had to fly the small aircraft at maximum speed – around 110 mph – right by the enemy position behind hills.

Kummer came away with a great admiration for the Korean people. “What a terrible cancer destroyed their county,” he says, “but look at them now!” He remembers going out of his way to meet them, and they just bowed their heads and worked. Seeing the plight of the orphans in the country, he sent word back to his hometown of Fairbault, Minnesota, for clothing donations. “They reciprocated very well,” he remembers. “I took the boxes in my H-13 helicopter to the orphanage. The kids were awed!”

In total, Kummer had over 22 years of active and National Guard duty, and was awarded a number of World War II and Korean (ROK) War victory and service medals and ribbons, as well as four Air Medals. He recorded an astounding 123 enemy territory flights. One of his most memorable passengers was General James Van Fleet, Commander of all troops in South Korea.

Kummer credits famed aviator Charles Lindbergh for instilling in him a passion for flying. “Lindberg was a fellow Minnesotan and made his epic flight in 1927, just a couple of years after I was born,” he says. “The local media featured many articles about flying as I was growing up, and our basement was full of model planes. I knew I would become a military pilot.”

Eventually settling here in Arizona, Kummer was employed right up to age 85. He and his wife Janet have lived in Phoenix for over 40 years; his daughter and grandchildren also live here. He has volunteered with Luke Air Force Base’s Retiree Activity Office, which he says has been “interesting and productive,” and is humbled by the honor of being selected as a Grand Marshal.


We hope you will join us at the 20th Annual Phoenix Veterans Day Parade on November 11, 2016, to see Celebrity Grand Marshal Pete Hegseth and all eight Veteran Grand Marshals. This year’s parade theme is “Welcome Home Vietnam Heroes.” 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

2016-10-24T17:14:27-07:00

MEET OUR MARSHALS: World War II Grand Marshal John Kolling

John Kolling

World War II veteran Grand Marshal John Holling, a Purple Heart recipient

John Kolling left his family’s North Dakota farm and joined the Army at Fort Snelling, Minnesota, when he was 20 years old. He traveled by ship from New York to Scotland aboard the Queen Mary to fight in the war with duty in Central Europe, Rhineland and the Ardennes. He was an armored car driver leading the way for the tanks in the Battle of the Bulge, the last German offensive campaign.

Describing his unit’s wartime experiences, he says, “My squadron saved the bridge of Remagen and were the first to cross it. My squadron then posted a sign that read ‘Cross the Rhine with dry feet courtesy of the 9th Armored Division.’” Kolling earned a Purple Heart during the war.

After the war ended, since he spoke German, he was reassigned to the 387th Military Police Battalion in Berlin and worked out-processing the prisoners of war for their return home.

He faced a number of challenges during his service, the toughest of which was battling the unusually bitter winter cold weather without the proper clothing and gear while fighting in the Battle of the Bulge. He sadly recalls many soldiers suffering severely frozen hands and feet and other cold-weather injuries, eventually taking their lives.

“It was a great honor for me to be part of World War II,” he says, “and I’m thankful that we have a Veterans Day to honor those who did not make it back home.” Kolling and his son traveled on the Honor Flight from Phoenix to Washington, D.C., a few years ago to see the World War II Monument. “Every veteran should go, so that we never forget,” he says.

Learning that he had been selected as a Phoenix Veterans Day Parade Grand Marshal, Kolling said, “It was a special honor that I had never expected. I’ve been going to my squadron reunions for years and there are only three of us left now.” Kolling celebrated his 94th birthday this year on April 15.

Kolling said that the most important lessons he learned during his wartime service were “following orders and how to get along with people.” These lessons served him well after he returned to the U.S., moved to Arizona in 1958 and became a successful businessman, owner of Kolling’s Auto Service, a 13-bay automotive garage in Mesa, Arizona. He retired from the automotive business in 1990.

After the war, Kolling married and raised four children.


We hope you will join us at the 20th Annual Phoenix Veterans Day Parade on November 11, 2016, to see Celebrity Grand Marshal Pete Hegseth and all eight Veteran Grand Marshals. This year’s parade theme is “Welcome Home Vietnam Heroes.” 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

2016-10-21T18:29:35-07:00

CALLING ALL SCOUTS! Here’s how to get involved in the Phoenix Veterans Day Parade

scouts

The Phoenix Veterans Day Parade is a great, patriotic event – and a great way for Scouts to perform some important community service by distributing flags and programs! If your troop would like to get involved, here is everything you need to know.

WHO:

First, contact Perry Mason, Principal of Mountain Sky Junior High School, the Wake Up! Club Sponsor. Prior to the event, he can be reached at perry.mason@wesdschools.org, or call 602-896-6105. (The day of the event, he can be reached at 602-757-0890.)

WHAT:

Programs and flags will be distributed out of Washington Elementary School District passenger vans. Mountain Sky Wake Up! Club students will be responsible for helping Scouts distribute the flags and programs, while maintaining safety around the vehicles.

north-phoenix-baptistWHERE & WHEN:

Scouts should meet at the North Phoenix Baptist Church on November 11 at 9:45 a.m., at the big star shown on the map at right. After everyone checks in and any possible changes to the plan are reviewed, everyone will proceed to the vans. Scouts will begin to walk down the parade route at approximately 10:30 a.m. (or whenever we are given the signal to start).

DROP-OFF/PICK-UP:

  • Central will only be open to parade traffic, so plan ahead to drop off near the church and walk to the meeting point. We will meet the distribution vans at Montebello and Central, where the parade officially begins.
  • Your vehicles can pick you up at 7th Street and Indian School, where the parade ends, but it will be congested there as well.
  • The light rail is a suggested way to avoid parking hassles. Introducing Scouts to public transportation might be a good learning opportunity. The closest stop to the start is at Camelback and Central, and within walking distance (1 mile, roughly 30 minutes). Near the end, there is a stop at Indian School and Central, so when the parade is over you can walk (0.6 of a mile, roughly 15 minutes). A walk through Steele Indian School Park is nice, too, but will take longer.

ALONG THE PARADE ROUTE:

  • We know the Scouts are excited to give out items, and it often turns into a race to get the flags and programs into spectators’ hands – but we want this to be a fun experience with no injuries, or Scouts having negative interactions with crowd members. To that end, we will ask the adult leaders to supply and monitor their Scouts. We regulate the flow of items so Scouts will be forced to stay behind the vans, and therefore have a more even coverage of items all the way to the end of the parade.

SAFETY FIRST:

  • Only uniformed parents/leaders walk in the parade with the Scouts. Obviously, this allows for a more unified look, but also makes it easier to spot people who do not belong with the Scouts.
  • If Scouts are present without a leader, they will not be allowed to participate unless some other unit leader claims responsibility for them. No unattached Scouts. (Note: If a non-uniformed parent wants to talk the route, it is easy to follow along in the crowd. We will be travelling at a slow enough pace, they will never lose sight of their child.)
  • Scouts should not get ahead of the vehicles. It is not a race. We want to be reverent and keep Scouts within sight.
  • It is recommended that Scouts go no further than the front layer of spectators. We do not want leaders losing sight of Scouts in the crowd.
  • Make sure the Scouts bring water. It still gets warm and it can be a long walk, especially when they are excited.
  • Leaders are recommended to bring a first-aid kit. Each year someone trips and skins a knee. Be prepared.

scout-distributionIn an attempt to keep a steady and safe pace, and to make sure we spread the programs and flags evenly along the route, we will assign groups to certain vans to work one side of the road or the other. The Wake Up! Club members will be responsible for handing the items from the van to Scout leaders, who can distribute the items to their Scouts. The Wake Up! Club members are there to prevent Scouts from approaching the vehicles.

We are excited about this 20th Annual Phoenix Veterans Day Parade and look forward to having our great area Scouts there to honor our veterans with us!

2016-10-20T22:12:21-07:00

MEET OUR MARSHALS: Celebrity Grand Marshal Pete Hegseth

 

2016 Phoenix Veterans Day Parade Celebrity Grand Marshal Pete Hegseth

2016 Phoenix Veterans Day Parade Celebrity Grand Marshal Pete Hegseth

Pete Hegseth is the author of the highly acclaimed new book “In The Arena,” as well as a Fox News Channel contributor, appearing regularly as a correspondent and guest co-host for the network’s morning show, “Fox & Friends.” He also appears frequently on “The Kelly File,” “Outnumbered,” “America’s Newsroom” and “Happening Now.” Pete is also a frequent contributor on FoxNews.com and National Review Online.

Pete is an Army veteran of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and was also a guard at Guantanamo Bay. He holds two Bronze Stars and a Combat Infantryman’s Badge for his time in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In 2012, Captain Hegseth deployed to Afghanistan with the Minnesota Army National Guard where he was the senior counterinsurgency instructor at the Counterinsurgency Training Center in Kabul. Before that, First Lieutenant Hegseth deployed to Iraq with the 3rd Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division for their 2005-2006 tour, serving as an Infantry Platoon Leader in Baghdad in 2005, and as a Civil-Military Operations officer in Samarra in 2006. A year before that, Second Lieutenant Hegseth served in Guantanamo Bay (JTF-GTMO) with his New Jersey Army National Guard unit from 2004-2005. Pete was recently promoted to the rank of Major, and is currently in the Individual Ready Reserve.

Pete is the former CEO of Concerned Veterans for America (2012-2015), where he built the largest conservative veterans advocacy organization in America and led the charge for real reform at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Before that, Pete was the Executive Director of Vets for Freedom (2007-2010), leading the “ground truth” charge for success on the battlefield in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is also a member of the National Rifle Association.

Pete graduated from Princeton University in 2003 with an undergraduate degree in Politics. While at Princeton, Pete was also a member of the varsity basketball team, an Army ROTC cadet and the publisher of the campus conservative publication “The Princeton Tory.” A decade later, Pete completed a Masters in Public Policy at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, graduating in 2013.

Pete and his wife Samantha live in Minnesota and have three young sons ‒ Gunner, Boone and Rex.  They attend Eagle Brook Church and proudly send their kids to Liberty Classical Academy.


We hope you will join us at the 20th Annual Phoenix Veterans Day Parade on November 11, 2016, to see Pete Hegseth and the eight other Veteran Grand Marshals. This year’s parade theme is “Welcome Home Vietnam Heroes.” 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

2016-10-19T18:53:13-07:00