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PHOENIX VETERANS DAY PARADE ESSAY CONTEST: Our 1st Place Winner!

1st Place

Ethan Brown – 11th grade, Seton Catholic Prep; Teacher: Jessica Breen

THE UNSPOKEN HEROES: NEVER FORGET

Cold War “duck and cover” drills at elementary schools were a constant reminder of imminent threat.

One of the tensest eras of American history was built not on what happened, but on what didn’t happen. It was an era where there were no direct conflicts between the two enemies. An era where there were no formal shots fired. An era where we protected ourselves against hypotheticals instead of actualities. This was the Cold War, a 46-year standoff between two superpowers. My grandfather is a Cold War Era veteran.

Ethan Brown’s grandfather, Msgt. Paul G. Agne, USAF.

My grandpa, Msgt. Paul G Agne, USAF Ret., enlisted in the Air Force right out of high school in 1971, serving over 22 years. When he enlisted, Vietnam, a proxy war between the U.S. and Soviet Union, was already going on. Everything my grandpa did in his military career was designed to prepare him for full-scale nuclear war.

He was stationed at Davis Monthan in Tucson until 1980 when he was deployed to Turkey to support anticommunism in the Middle East. For the safety of my mom and grandma he went alone, leaving his family for a year. Turkey was a dangerous country, with bombings and violence, but the Americans were there to support the Turks against the USSR. It took an amazing amount of courage to leave everything behind in order to protect the world from the Soviet threat, but like all veterans, he sacrificed because of his love for our country.

My grandpa said one of the toughest parts was the effect on his family. The school my mom went to on base was kept on alert, just like the soldiers. They had nuclear drills just like we have fire drills today. The windows of her elementary school had heavy drapes as protection against nuclear fallout, and they practiced drills, hiding under desks with the drapes shut tight.My grandpa said that serving in the Cold War was difficult in spite of not being a “hot war.” A majority of his time was spent knowing there was a real nuclear threat, tensions rising constantly, but he had to stay strong to take care of his family. Those in the military waited anxiously to see if the USSR would act, if a missile was headed their way or global war was approaching. It was a stressful time watching and waiting to see what happened.

Fortunately, all the preparation for a catastrophic war was for a war that never happened. On November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall came down. December 26, 1991, the Soviet Union dissolved. The Cold War had ended. However, in some ways the Cold War and its veterans have been lost to recent memory. There was no parade for the soldiers when the war ended. There is no Cold War medal for the veterans. They are the silent heroes of a terrifying era in American history. The debt of gratitude we owe them for their sacrifices is indescribable. They are the heroes who stood ready at the watch, preventing the war that never happened.


Please join us for the 2017 Phoenix Veterans Day Parade on Saturday, November 11 to honor our Cold War heroes and all our veterans. Our three Essay Contest winners will be riding on the Hall of Flame fire truck! For more info about the parade, click HERE.

2017-11-03T18:46:18-07:00

HOW YOU CAN HELP ON VETERANS DAY (AND THE REST OF THE YEAR)

Veterans are naturally on our minds at this time of year, particularly with the annual Phoenix Veterans Day Parade right around the corner.

If you have it in your heart to help and honor our veterans, now or at any time of the year, there are many ways you can do that.

Parade Volunteer Coordinator Brian Ishmael

The Phoenix Veteran’s Day Parade (PhoenixVeteransDayParade.org) is scheduled for Saturday, November 11, from 11 a.m. until approximately 1 p.m. in downtown Phoenix. The entire operation relies solely on volunteers and is a great way to honor veterans. This year leading the volunteer effort is the University of Phoenix.  Volunteer Coordinator Brian Ishmael, who serves as Senior Director of Military and Veterans Affairs at University of Phoenix, has been busy managing and developing position descriptions, recruiting volunteers from various organizations and businesses and attending parade team meetings in person.  The parade will need about 300 volunteers to assist in several functions, so he’s asked his colleague Jessica Hutson to help.  Jessica is busy gathering names, emails and phone numbers of volunteers to fill the slots.  If you’re just now seeing this and want to help, it’s not too late to reach out to her; just email jessica.hutson@phoenix.edu.

Another way to help is by volunteering with or donating to Honoring America’s’s Veterans (HAV), the organization presenting the annual Phoenix Veterans Day Parade. The HAV was formed to help Arizona’s veterans heal and reintegrate through recognition events and other programs that support the mission.

Of course, you can always say “thank you.” It is simple but makes an impact. Many veterans never heard those words. If you know a veteran or see someone in a military uniform, express your gratitude.  It may make his or her day – and yours.

Here are some other ways you could help a veteran:

  • Offer your home repair skills to a veteran or military family in need.
  • Volunteer your financial, legal, or career expertise via MilServe.
  • Deliver a meal or care packages to veterans – or donate clothing, household items, vehicles and much-needed funs – through certified organizations such as the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) or Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA).
  • Help a veteran tell their story through a project such as the Veteran’s History Project. (You can download a VHP field kit from the Library of Congress website.)
  • Volunteers with an organization that provides therapy dogs to veterans, such as Canine Companions for Independence.
  • Support the Disabled American Veterans (DAV), which provides free transportation to men and women unable to travel to VA medical facilities on their own.
  • Send a letter or care package through Operation Gratitude, which serves both current military members as well as veterans. It has a letter-writing campaign encouraging everyone to write handwritten letters of gratitude to veterans.
  • The Honor Flight Network helps veterans of the “greatest generation” make a free pilgrimage to the World War II Memorial on the National Mall in Washington. You can volunteer to escort these men and women on the flight. The program also helps terminally ill veterans who served in any conflict visit memorials to those wars in Washington as well.
  • Hire a veteran! Several organizations match employers with qualified veterans. The S. Department of Labor’s website is one example, and the nonprofit Hire Heroes USA offers opportunities for people to donate, volunteer or host a fundraiser.

Did you know that an estimated 40,000 veterans go homeless on any given night in the U.S.? That is according to a report from the National Alliance to End Homelessness, and that number does not include the 1.4 million or so vets who are at risk of homelessness, according to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans.

You can help those heroes get back on their feet by volunteering, donating or even hiring a veteran. Sign up through the Department of Veterans Affairs Voluntary Service page. Shelters are always in need of personal care items and clothing. To locate a service organization near you, refer to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans’ website, which provides an interactive map of local shelters and community centers. You can also call 1-800-VET-HELP. (You can refer to websites like Charity Watch and Charity Navigator for ratings on organizations’ contributions and expenses.)


If you are a veteran in need of help or if you are homeless or at imminent risk of becoming homeless – contact either the VA medical center or Community Resource and Referral Center. You can also call 1-877-4AID-VET (1-877-424-3838).

2017-11-03T18:20:51-07:00

“M*A*S*H” TV Star Loretta Swit to serve as Celebrity Grand Marshal for Phoenix Veteran’s Day Parade on Sat. Nov. 11 at 11 a.m.

Who: Loretta Swit, TV Star, Big Screen Star, Broadway Star
What: To serve as Celebrity Grand Marshal in Phoenix Veterans Day Parade
When: Saturday, November 11th at 11 a.m.
Place: Parade staging, NE Corner of Montebello and Central

Few actresses can capture the imagination of generations of audiences with the certainty and charm of Loretta Swit. As quick-witted, impassioned Major Margaret Houlihan of television’s most honored series, “M*A*S*H,” Swit became an American icon and, with its popularity now in worldwide syndication, new fans continue to enjoy her lavish portrayal of the sensuous, sensitive, comedic Major Houlihan.

She is so moved by the military and veterans she supports them to this day and recently narrated the film “Never the Same: The Prisoner of War Experience,” in support of the American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor Memorial Society.

Swit has been honored with such recognition as the People’s Choice Award, The Genie Award, The Silver Satellite Award, The Jean Golden Halo Award, the Pacific Broadcasters Award, two Emmy Awards, 10 Emmy nominations and eight nominations for the Golden Globe Award.

Her television career boasts over 25 movies, including the original “Cagney and Lacey,” in which she created the role of Chris Cagney, with contractual obligations to “M*A *S*H” preventing her from shooting the series. Other memorable TV films are “Games Mother Never Taught You,” “Hell Hath No Fury,” “The Kid from Nowhere,” “Mirror, Mirror,” “The Execution,” “Dreams of Gold,” “Valentine” and “A Killer Among Friends.”

Most recently on the stage, she was “Eleanor Roosevelt” in sellout runs in Los Angeles and Chicago. A highlight was meeting Eleanor’s granddaughter at a Meet and Greet. This show and “Me and Jezebel” continue to appear on her calendar.

Her wildlife series, “Those Incredible Animals,” was shown twice weekly on the Discovery Channel for an amazing five-year run, and later viewed on Animal Planet airing in over 30 countries. Ms. Swit is as impassioned about animals as she is the theatre and is regarded as a leader in the Humane Environment. The proceeds from her recent book, “SWITHEART” (www.switheart.com) support the Animal Alliance Foundation, ending cruelty for all animals and she has a second book in the works. She has been named Woman of the Year by both the Animal Protection Institute and the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

2017-11-01T22:50:56-07:00

Cold War Veterans Focus of the 2017 Phoenix Veterans Day Parade

Parade Celebrates 21 Years with Theme “Silent Sacrifice”

Glowing with tributes to our nation’s true heroes, our veterans, the Phoenix Veterans Day Parade will once again be presented by Honoring America’s’s Veterans (HAV).

Time: LIVE Shots available from 5:30 to 9 a.m.

Time: Parade start 11 a.m., open to media

Date: Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017

Place: Central and Montebello, south on Central, east on Camelback, and south on 7th Street to Indian School Road

This year’s parade theme is “SILENT SACRIFICE: Honoring Our Cold War Veterans.” The parade has nearly 100 entries, and this year will have a special float with nearly 20 Cold War Veterans riding on it. The parade will also feature:

  • 14 Floats
  • 12 Marching Units
  • 7 Color Guards
  • 8 novelty units
  • 5 bands
  • Four large helium balloons, including Uncle Sam, the Bald Eagle, the Purple Heart and – new this year – the military service and HAV balloon.
  • Dozens of military vehicles
  • We’ll also have animal entries, and much, much more.

MEDIA PLEASE NOTE: Live shot availability will begin at 5:30 a.m. Several entries will be available throughout the morning, including:

  • Arizona Public Service Float
  • Department of Corrections Float
  • POW/MIA/KIA Honor Guard
  • Arizona Twirlers
  • Specialty vehicles

Now in its 21st year, the parade is one of the premier Veterans Day events in the nation, with tens of thousands of spectators. Several streets will be closed to make way for the Parade.

“I’ve been working with the parade team for five years now, and it’s still amazing to me to see how it helps our veterans heal. The men and women who serve in our military face many unique challenges, and when they return they are a source of pride for us. We can never repay them for their service and sacrifice, so having an event, like this, shows the gratitude we have as a community for them. That in turn helps us to honor them and that’s why Honoring America’s’s Veterans puts on this event,” said Aaron Dudney, HAV president.

Celebrity Grand Marshal Loretta Swit

This year’s Parade Grand Marshals include:

  • Celebrity Grand Marshal Loretta Swit (Emmy Award-winning actress best known for “M*A*S*H,” animal activist, artist, veteran supporter)
  • Harold Bergbower, World War II (former Prisoner of War)
  • Melvin Brody, Korean War
  • Larry Leighton, Vietnam War (Purple Heart recipient)
  • Bernard O’Keefe, Cold War (8-time recipient of Meritorious Service Medal)
  • John Scott, Desert Storm (Retired Major General, Bronze Star recipient)
  • Raul Sanchez, Operation Enduring Freedom
  • Richard Arnold, Operation Iraqi Freedom
  • Carol Culbertson, Veteran Community
  • Alan Powell “AP,” HeroZona
  • Craig Opel, Business Community
  • Katie Schaaf, Arizona Pageant Queen

The parade will also feature the three Durant’s essay winners, who will ride in the “Hall of Flame” fire truck:

  • 1st place: Ethan Brown, 11th grade, Seton Catholic Preparatory High School
  • 2nd place: Ruby Price, 11th grade, Shadow Ridge High School
  • 3rd place: Craig Zeigler, 12th grade, Sunrise Mountain High School

Each writer shared a different perspective for this year’s theme “SILENT SACRIFICE: Honoring Our Cold War Veterans.”

For the fifth year in a row Durant’s fine dining restaurant in Phoenix has provided cash awards for the essay contest winners: $500 for first place, $250 for second place and $100 for third place. In addition, the teacher for each of the students will receive a $150 gift card to use in his or her classroom.

The University of Phoenix and TriWest Healthcare Alliance hold the top spots for sponsorship of this event and have veteran and civilian employees in the parade.

The Stearman Group – World War II bi-planes led by Roger Parrish and Fred Gorrell – followed by Joe Sottile, Kurt Gearhart and Billie Walker, will once again officially start the parade with their flyover.

2017-11-01T22:45:46-07:00

Cold War Veterans Focus of the 2017 Phoenix Veterans Day Parade

Parade Celebrates 21 Years with Theme “Silent Sacrifice”

 

 

 

Glowing with tributes to our nation’s true heroes, our veterans, the Phoenix Veterans Day Parade will once again be presented by Honoring America’s’s Veterans (HAV).

Time:  LIVE Shots available from 5:30 to 9 a.m.

Time:  Parade start 11 a.m., open to media

Date:  Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017

Place:  Central and Montebello, south on Central, east on Camelback, and south on 7th Street to Indian School Road

This year’s parade theme is “SILENT SACRIFICE: Honoring Our Cold War Veterans.” The parade has nearly 100 entries, and this year will have a special float with nearly 20 Cold War Veterans riding on it. The parade will also feature:

  • 14 Floats
  • 12 Marching Units
  • 7 Color Guards
  • 8 novelty units
  • 5 bands
  • Four large helium balloons, including Uncle Sam, the Bald Eagle, the Purple Heart and – new this year – the military service and HAV balloon.
  • Dozens of military vehicles
  • We’ll also have animal entries, and much, much more.

MEDIA PLEASE NOTE:  Live shot availability will begin at 5:30 a.m. Several entries will be available throughout the morning, including:

  • Arizona Public Service Float
  • Department of Corrections Float
  • POW/MIA/KIA Honor Guard
  • Arizona Twirlers
  • Specialty vehicles

Now in its 21st year, the parade is one of the premier Veterans Day events in the nation, with tens of thousands of spectators. Several streets will be closed to make way for the Parade.

“I’ve been working with the parade team for five years now, and it’s still amazing to me to see how it helps our veterans heal. The men and women who serve in our military face many unique challenges, and when they return they are a source of pride for us. We can never repay them for their service and sacrifice, so having an event, like this, shows the gratitude we have as a community for them. That in turn helps us to honor them and that’s why Honoring America’s’s Veterans puts on this event,” said Aaron Dudney, HAV president.

Celebrity Grand Marshal Loretta Swit

This year’s Parade Grand Marshals include:

  • Celebrity Grand Marshal Loretta Swit (Emmy Award-winning actress best known for “M*A*S*H,” animal activist, artist, veteran supporter)
  • Harold Bergbower, World War II (former Prisoner of War)
  • Melvin Brody, Korean War
  • Larry Leighton, Vietnam War (Purple Heart recipient)
  • Bernard O’Keefe, Cold War (8-time recipient of Meritorious Service Medal)
  • John Scott, Desert Storm (Retired Major General, Bronze Star recipient)
  • Raul Sanchez, Operation Enduring Freedom
  • Richard Arnold, Operation Iraqi Freedom
  • Carol Culbertson, Veteran Community
  • Alan Powell “AP,” HeroZona
  • Craig Opel, Business Community
  • Katie Schaaf, Arizona Pageant Queen

The parade will also feature the three Durant’s essay winners, who will ride in the “Hall of Flame” fire truck:

  • 1st place: Ethan Brown, 11th grade, Seton Catholic Preparatory High School
  • 2nd place: Ruby Price, 11th grade, Shadow Ridge High School
  • 3rd place: Craig Zeigler, 12th grade, Sunrise Mountain High School

Each writer shared a different perspective for this year’s theme “SILENT SACRIFICE: Honoring Our Cold War Veterans.”

For the fifth year in a row Durant’s fine dining restaurant in Phoenix has provided cash awards for the essay contest winners: $500 for first place, $250 for second place and $100 for third place. In addition, the teacher for each of the students will receive a $150 gift card to use in his or her classroom.

The University of Phoenix and TriWest Healthcare Alliance hold the top spots for sponsorship of this event and have veteran and civilian employees in the parade.

The Stearman Group – World War II bi-planes led by Roger Parrish and Fred Gorrell – followed by Joe Sottile, Kurt Gearhart and Billie Walker, will once again officially start the parade with their flyover.

2017-11-01T20:13:26-07:00

MEET OUR MARSHALS: HeroZona Grand Marshall Alan Powell (AP)

HeroZona Grand Marshal Alan Powell (AP)

Alan Powell is an entrepreneur, consultant and philanthropist. He graduated from Suda E. Butler Traditional High School in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1986, attended College of Coastal Georgia for Physical Education, and transferred to Missouri Valley College on a basketball scholarship in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in sports administration. He enlisted for three years in the U.S. Army and served in the Gulf War under Operation Desert Storm.

After the Army, Powell started a career in the sports and entertainment industry as the Director of Player Personnel for Worldwide Sports and Entertainment in Newark, New Jersey, was President of International Sports Entertainment Management in Louisville, Kentucky, and served as Vice President of Marketing at Management One in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 2000, Powell became Vice President of Development at The Firm, Inc., an entertainment management company in Beverly Hills, California.

While at The Firm, Powell started a career in the independent film and music industry as the co-executive producer for the movie soundtracks of “Bullethead” and “Jacked Up,” was the associate producer of “Jacked Up The Movie,” and created major music collaborations, including Reginald Arvizu (Fieldy) of Korn featuring E-40 and Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit featuring 8 Ball.

Powell inked a $7-million-dollar deal for Dallas hip-hop group Dirty South Rydaz to record for Universal Music Group, and then in 2005 became Co-CEO of T-Town Music/Universal Republic and served as executive producer of rap artist Big Tuck’s album “Tha Absolute Truth” and Tum Tum – “Eat Or Get Ate.”

Powell is chairman and CEO of AP & Associates, LLC, which he founded in 2004 in Louisville, Kentucky, and relocated to Phoenix, Arizona, in 2008. Powell’s consulting firm specializes in strategic alliances and channel development for a number of Fortune 500 companies. He also served on University of Phoenix College of Security and Criminal Justice Advisory Board in Phoenix, Arizona.

In 2011, Powell founded the Checkered Flag Run, a multi-cultural motorcycle rally, in conjunction with Phoenix International Raceway in Phoenix, Arizona, to advance the quality of life and education for those living in under-served communities. Programs created by the Checkered Flag Run Foundation include My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge in Phoenix, Phoenix Tools 4 Schools, The Bridge Forum, Veteran’s Reach to Teach and Voting for Veterans.

Powell has been recognized for his community leadership and in giving back to the Phoenix community with the 2016 Corporate Choice Award from Black Chamber of Arizona, and in 2017 earned the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Living the Dream Award, Whitney M. Young Jr. Award from Greater Phoenix Urban League, and Edward M. Kennedy Community Service Award from American Association for Access, Equity and Diversity.

Powell serves as an advisory board member for the City of Phoenix Aviation Advisory Board, Phoenix Military Veterans Commission, District 8 African-American Advisory Council, 7th District Congressman Ruben Gallego’s Veteran Advisory Council, Phoenix Theatre, and is an Executive Board Member of American Legion Travis L. Williams Post 65.


We hope you will join us at the 21st Annual Phoenix Veterans Day Parade on November 11, 2017, to see all our Grand Marshals. This year’s parade theme is “SILENT SACRIFICE: Honoring Our Cold War Veterans.” 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.

2017-10-31T16:13:54-07:00

MEET OUR MARSHALS: Cold War Grand Marshal Bernard O’Keefe

Cold War Grand Marshal Bernard O’Keefe

Bernie O’Keefe was in his first semester in college and “wasn’t crazy about it,” as he puts it. He wanted to start his life and wanted direction, particularly because things were getting pretty serious with his girlfriend, Pat (with whom O’Keefe just celebrated 45 years of marriage). “I am the oldest of 10 kids,” he says, “and I didn’t want to be a goof.” That – combined with the draft, the fact that a couple of his friends joined the military, and his father having served in the Air Force – led him to enlist in the USAF in 1972.

O’Keefe turned out far from a “goof.” His nearly 27 years in the Air Force included four overseas tours (England, Turkey and twice in Germany), as well as many “temporary duty” (TDY) assignments around the globe.

He found serving during the Cold War had some unique aspects. “I was always working with security of nuclear weapon systems and just realizing their power – rather not understanding their power was a big deal,” he recalls. “In my first tour in Germany I went through Checkpoint Charlie into East Berlin. I was required to wear my uniform there. The Berlin Wall was something that brought the whole idea of the Cold War into focus. The Soviet threat was real.”

O’Keefe, who retired from military service as the Senior Enlisted Advisor (now called the Command Chief Master Sergeant) at Luke Air Force Base in 1998, is particularly proud of being on the team that put the Ground Launched Cruise Missile program into action. “That included working through the testing phase of deployment and security, opening the formal Cruise Missile School at Davis-Monthan, and the initial operation of the 38th Tactical Missile Wing in Germany,” he says. “It was five years of hard work with great people.” O’Keefe is quick to point out, however, that his job at Luke AFB was the greatest position and hardest job he had, saying, “Working directly for the General was awesome.”

The most challenging aspects of his service? “Being away,” he says without hesitation. “It just doesn’t get easier. From a job standpoint, supervising airmen, finding the balance between the operational tempo and taking care of the airmen is tough.”

O’Keefe feels that no one can go wrong by entering the military. “In that first enlistment, you mature so much and grow in life skills,” he says. “You learn the importance of teamwork and responsibility. You really grow up.”

It is clear that the Air Force knew they had a leader in their ranks, honoring O’Keefe with both the AF Achievement and AF Commendation awards. Impressively, he is also an EIGHT-TIME recipient of the Meritorious Service Medal.

After his retirement from the Air Force, O’Keefe worked in the corporate world, and taught and coached at Desert Vista High School for 11 years before completely retiring in May 2017. He earned multiple awards in his civilian life as well, including the Tempe Diablos Excellence in Education for Going Above and Beyond and Junior Achievement Teacher of the Year.

O’Keefe and his wife Pat live in Mesa. They have two children, Paul and Kacie, and three granddaughters.


We hope you will join us at the 21st Annual Phoenix Veterans Day Parade on November 11, 2017, to see all our Veteran Grand Marshals. This year’s parade theme is “SILENT SACRIFICE: Honoring Our Cold War Veterans.” 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.

2017-10-27T20:13:26-07:00

MEET OUR MARSHALS: Veteran Community Grand Marshal Carol Culbertson

Veteran Community Grand Marshal Carol Culbertson

A native of Honolulu, Hawaii, Captain Culbertson – attracted by the challenge of serving in the military, something none of her female relatives had ever done – was recruited by the U.S. Navy in 1963 into a communications unit while a student at the University of Hawaii. By graduation time, she was promoted to Petty Officer Third Class. On Graduation Day in 1967, she was commissioned Ensign along with graduating Army and Air Force ROTC cadets. She graduated Officer Candidate School in 1967 and reported for duty to Patrol Squadron Thirty-One at Naval Air Station North Island, San Diego, California, where she served as Classified Materials Control Officer, Assistant Administrative Officer, and Public Affairs Officer. After honorable discharge, she traveled to work at Fleet Activities, Yokosuka, Japan for seven years.  While in Japan, she re-affiliated with the Navy Reserve. Returning stateside to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, in 1975, her last civilian assignment was Director, Morale, Welfare, and Recreation for Commander U.S. Naval Forces, Japan; her Navy Reserve rank was Lieutenant.

Her civilian career took her to the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, Directorate of Education; U.S. Dept of Agriculture; U.S Forest Service in California and Arizona for 11 years; and her last assignment was Personnel Chief, Coconino National Forest, Flagstaff.

In 1988 Culbertson transferred to the Internal Revenue Service in Phoenix, and later to IRS Denver. She had 16 years of service in Human Capital Management and Equal Employment Opportunity, retiring in 2004 with 33 years total of Federal civil service. During this time, she served in the Navy Reserve in a number of intelligence commands; served as an Intelligence Unit Executive Officer and Commanding Officer; worked at the Naval Intelligence Command, the Pentagon, and the Defense Intelligence Agency; served as Battle Watch Officer or Senior Controller on four warfighting exercises in Pearl Harbor, Japan, and Korea, and retired as Captain (O-6), U.S. Navy, in 2003.

Captain Culbertson’s patriotism and service to country was kindled in the last four years of high school by serving in the Girl Scouts as a Senior Scout, and as a Brownie leader while a college student. She has been a volunteer community leader during all of her adult life.  Now in her 13th year of retirement from the Navy and the Federal civil service, her volunteer work continues to the present time.

She was inducted into the Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame Society as a member of the Class of 2007, for outstanding community service after honorable discharge, and remains an active member of a number of military and veterans organizations in Arizona.

Culbertson and her husband Claude live in Phoenix, and are blessed with four children, two grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.


We hope you will join us at the 21st Annual Phoenix Veterans Day Parade on November 11, 2017, to see all our Grand Marshals. This year’s parade theme is “SILENT SACRIFICE: Honoring Our Cold War Veterans.” 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.

2017-10-27T20:09:13-07:00

MEET OUR MARSHALS: Operation Iraqi Freedom Grand Marshal Richard Arnold

Operation Iraqi Freedom Grand Marshal Richard Arnold

Rick Arnold has had a long military career as a helicopter pilot. When he joined the military, he was looking for educational opportunities. He knew the military would offer great training and would be an excellent job recommendation on his resume. Arnold originally joined the Air Force and trained as a Nuclear Weapons Specialist. He flew Blackhawk helicopters for most of his military career, and then cross-trained on the Chinook.

Arnold was deployed several times in Somalia, and then most recently served three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. While serving in Iraq, Arnold was engaged in Operation Wolf Pursuits, an important mission that took him and his pilots into high-risk areas to destroy enemy supplies. It was a very high operational tempo. During that mission, Arnold learned that in the military, the teamwork, professionalism and dedication of those you serve with are also a source of motivation.

In Afghanistan, Arnold served as standardization instruction pilot for Task Force Knighthawk, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB), developing 94 aviators and 68 non-rated crew members in four flight companies – totaling more than 20,000 combat hours during his 2010-2011 deployment.

In 2011, he earned the Order of Daedalians U.S. Army Exceptional Pilot award for flying a rescue mission for emergency personnel extraction, which Arnold considers the biggest honor of his life. He took fire en route to the destination, but managed to land near the exhausted crew of a downed helicopter. “I noticed they were dragging one of their comrades, a hero who had been killed,” Arnold recalls. When an American flag was requested to cover the fallen hero, Arnold volunteered one he carried. “I remembered I had a flag underneath my body armor that had been with me during my previous Iraq deployment,” he said. “I had originally flown the flag for myself, but realized that the flag had a different destiny.”

“Arnold’s impact on Army aviation goes far beyond this award,” 10th CAB Commander Col. David J. Francis said at the time. “He has trained generations of Army aviators for combat operations. The impact of his training will be felt in the Army for years to come.”

According to Arnold, it was easy to stay inspired while deployed, because he knew the importance of the mission. While it was difficult to be away from family, Arnold understood the opportunity he had as a service member to help the people in the countries in which he served. The impact he was able to have on the lives of so many gave him the power to focus on the mission. According to Arnold, the military has given him the opportunity to help others have a better life.

As our Grand Marshal representing OIF veterans, Arnold – a resident of El Mirage – is both proud and grateful for his time serving, and has great appreciation for the support of the American people. He also has important words to those serving now: “Regardless of branch, you are part of the most elite team in the world. You are untouchable, you cannot be replaced. Embrace this opportunity and use it to make your life and the lives of others better.”


We hope you will join us at the 21st Annual Phoenix Veterans Day Parade on November 11, 2017, to see all our Veteran Grand Marshals. This year’s parade theme is “SILENT SACRIFICE: Honoring Our Cold War Veterans.” 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.

2017-10-27T16:11:26-07:00

MEET OUR MARSHALS: Operation Enduring Freedom Grand Marshal Raul Sanchez

Operation Enduring Freedom Grand Marshal Raul Sanchez

Born and raised in Arizona, Raul Sanchez joined the Arizona National Guard at 17. He found himself, like many young people, needing a sense of discipline and direction.

His mother had raised him to believe in himself and knew that he could create his own story. Based on the trust that she had in her son, she gave him her blessing and Sanchez began a 10-year journey. He was attracted to the military because of the opportunities, and the National Guard was no exception.

Sanchez has deployed many times in his decade of service, including Kosovo, Afghanistan (twice). While deployed in Afghanistan, Sanchez worked as a Financial Management Technician and was also in charge of Outserve: Afghan, serving more than 400 active military members.

“I organized groups and brought together soldiers that have had no support in their life during the military,” says Sanchez. “It was in Afghan that I found who I was as a man and a human being. I spent every waking moment creating culture and positive leadership, which is a pivotal and important moment in my life.”

As our Grand Marshal representing OEF veterans, Sanchez remembers Afghanistan as the origin of his own leadership development. It was during his service in OEF that he learned to trust himself, as his mother had, and found the strength inside of him to inspire others to have courage.

Sanchez later changed his specialty to Media Engagement Specialist and deployed to Guantanamo Bay (GTMO), Cuba, where he worked with every media outlet assigned to GTMO. During his tour, Sanchez was chosen for a secret mission as a Combat Cameraman on the island and received a Letter of Commendation from the Naval Commander of Guantanamo Bay.

As a leader, Sanchez brought his positive culture to others serving with him. In civilian life, he continues to follow the same convictions he developed in service. In life, Sanchez takes every opportunity to make an impact on others, encouraging them to be strong and stand by their own convictions.

He currently lives in Phoenix and works diligently in the LBGT community to spread his belief in the power of one’s own self-worth. He also assists with St. Jude’s in his off-time. Sanchez, who has a culinary degree, is pursuing his Bachelors in Business while working as a general manager for a well-known restaurant in the Valley.

In all endeavors, Sanchez believes, “Dream of what you want to do and then do it!”


We hope you will join us at the 21st Annual Phoenix Veterans Day Parade on November 11, 2017, to see all our Veteran Grand Marshals. This year’s parade theme is “SILENT SACRIFICE: Honoring Our Cold War Veterans.” 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.

2017-10-25T16:29:04-07:00