2014 Phoenix Veterans Day Parade Grand Marshals
World War II Veteran Grand Marshal
Jack Holder is a World War II Veteran, and is one of a handful of Arizona residents that are Pearl Harbor Survivors.
On December 7th 1941 Jack Holder was an eye witness to one of the most devastating days in military history. Holder was a flight engineer on a PBY aircraft stationed at Ford Island in Pearl Harbor when they were attacked by the Japanese fleet. He survived that fateful day, and continuing in his Navy service, flew numerous missions in the Pacific including searching for and identifying the Japanese Fleet leading to the battle of Midway, Guadalcanal and surrounding areas.
As if the war in the Pacific wasn’t enough, Holder also saw action in Europe. By April 1, 1943 Jack Holder was in England on a B-24 as a flight engineer flying 56 anti-submarine patrols off the coast of France. During his eight year military career he received many decorations and commendations including a Presidential Citation, 7 Meritorious Commendations from the Secretary of the Navy; the Distinguished Flying Cross (2) and 7 Air Medals.
As a civilian Jack Holder was a commercial pilot and spent 10 years as a corporate pilot for Union Oil of California. He was also a department manager in mechanical engineering for Allied Signal which would later become Honeywell.
Holder lives life to the fullest and continues to inspire people every day. He is an avid golfer (with a single-digit handicap) and pilot-he still pilots a plane in his 90s! As noted by nominator Brent Watkins, a friend of Holder’s from real-estate training school “Jack is an inspiration to me and many others that you are never old to follow your dreams.”
Korean War Veteran Grand Marshal
U.S. Air Force
For more than 23 years John Laner served with distinction in the Air Force in World War II, the Cold War including the overlapping Korean Conflict, and Vietnam War.
The years of the Cold War found Laner on the crew with the Military Airlift Command. Years later Laner found himself in the Middle East where he flew commercial aircraft delivering supplies to our troops in Desert Storm.
Although he was never injured flying bombers, the scars have left their mark, and today he suffers from memory loss.
Laner has received the Air Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, Korean Service Medal with 2 Bronze Stars, World War II Victory Medal, Army of Occupation Medal with Japan and Germany Clasp, Berlin Airlift Device, Medal for Humane Action, the United Nations Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal plus the Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation and Distinguished Unit Citation Emblems.
As his nominator Ferris Whitfield says, “It would be a great honor for him to serve as a Grand Marshal before he loses his long-term memory. He is my hero, inspiration, and love of 30 years!” John Laner will turn 88 years young October 21st.
Vietnam War Veteran Grand Marshal
U.S. Marine Corps
“I’m just a farm boy from Missouri” says Colonel Fred Cone, but he is so much more. According to his nominator Janet Humphrey, “Fred is a retired Marine Aviator, a highly decorated Military Veteran, a Hall of Famer, a teacher and one of the greatest human beings I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.”
Colonel Cone served three tours in Vietnam and throughout his career, was the commanding officer of seven different units. His personal decorations include the Navy Cross, the second highest military decoration. His citation reads: “The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Major Fred J. Cone, United States Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism in action against the enemy while serving as a Pilot of an A6A Intruder Aircraft with Marine All Weather Attack Squadron 242 in the Republic of Vietnam on 25 October 1967.”
Additionally, Colonel Cone received the Legion of Merit, three Distinguished Flying Crosses, the Meritorious Service Medal, forty-one Air Medals, two Navy Commendation Medals and the Combat Action Ribbon. He flew a total of 21 different types of planes and was inducted into Arizona Aviation Hall of Fame in 2007.
In 2010, Colonel Cone became the Veterans Coordinator of the Student Veterans Organization at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. More than 200 students are currently attending the university on VA Educational Benefits. His focus is to provide student veterans and dependents with the necessary tools and support to make a smooth and successful transition from military to academic life.
“Colonel Cone has enriched my life and the lives of everyone that has the opportunity to know him,” said Humphrey. “Fred will be 81 this year and I can guarantee you will find him hiking Humphrey’s Peak in Flagstaff or the Grand Canyon.”
Cold War Veteran Grand Marshal
Robert Dale Jones, spent 20 years serving the United States of America in the Navy, from 1975 to 1995. After his Navy Retirement he is still serving by working for the Federal Aviation Administration FAA).
Jones is an Electronics Technician Chief Petty Officer who was stationed upon some of the best naval ships including USS Enterprise and USS Wainwright. He holds the Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist Qualification and has been awarded the Navy Achievement Medal; National Defense Medal, Navy Expedition Medal, (5) Good Conduct Medal, Battle E Ribbon, Marksman 45 (cal)Ribbon,(5) Sea Service Ribbon, and a Unit Commendation Ribbon.
The Cold War involved a great deal of spy vs. spy activities and Jones was involved in operations in Tasmania; the Mediterranean; and the crisis in the year 1976 when Idi Amin was in the headlines. He was a technician in depth for the URN-25 TACAN, working on a spy ship, the USS Sphinx ARL-24, off the coast of Nicaragua. He was also brought in as a technical expert to assist the Spanish frigate the Santa Maria. Jones served three years instructor duty at Great Lakes; commissioning duty for the USS Shenandoah AD-44; USS Mahan DDG-42 and MOTU-12 in Mayport Florida.
Following retirement from the Navy, Robert worked for Intel, taught college and has been with the FAA in Phoenix since 1999.
Jones’ daughter Kristen writes, “He has taught me many valuable life lessons and I am proud to be his daughter. I would love for my father to be one of the Grand Marshal’s this year to show him how proud and how lucky I am that he is my father and that I love him.”
Desert Storm Veteran Grand Marshal
U.S. Navy and U.S. Army National Guard
“First Sergeant Daniel Way, is my hero”, says his wife Brenda Way who nominated Daniel to be a Grand Marshal.
Daniel joined the Navy in 1988 where he served 7 years on active duty which included serving two tours to the Gulf during Desert Storm; One to Bahrain and the other on Failaka Island after the Iraqi Invasion of 1990. Upon his discharge from active service he joined the Arizona Army National Guard where he has served since December 1999.
The US Army recalled him to active duty with 3 days’ notice to serve in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom from February 2003 to January 2004. He hauled bulk fuel in tanker trucks throughout the war torn country. He was recalled a second time to active duty to serve in Iraq during Operation Enduring Freedom from March 2010 to March 2011. His company was assigned convoy security for this tour driving the Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle where he served as Platoon Sergeant.
Daniel has earned the prestigious Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist Insignia; Joint Service Commendation Medal; Army Commendation Medals, Navy Achievement Medal; Joint Meritorious Unit Award; Navy Good Conduct Medal; National Defense Service Medals; Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal with bronze star; Iraqi Campaign Medal; Armed Forces Reserve Medal with M device; Navy Sea Service, Battle E, Army Service and Overseas Ribbons plus numerous campaign ribbons.
Daniel continues to serve his country in the Guard and plans to stay for 30 years. He and his wife met and married when they we were both E-5’s in the Navy. Brenda also continues to serve and is now a Lieutenant Commander. They have two children, Lena, 17 and Keifer, 16 who were in Kindergarten and 1st grade the first time Daniel deployed.
Ernest M. Urquieta
Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom
Veteran Grand Marshal
Major Ernest M. Urquieta hails from Superior, Arizona. He is the son of Inez “Neto” and Lydia Urquieta. He enlisted into the United States Army, December 1988, where he completed One Station Unit Training as a Combat Engineer at Ft. Leonard Wood Missouri. He later received his commission as a second lieutenant in the Army Corps of Engineers through Officer Candidate School. Most recently, he served as the Chief of the Engineer Basic Officer Leader Course, United States Army Corp of Engineers, Maneuver Support Center of Excellence.
He has held a variety of leadership positions as an enlisted and commissioned officer beginning as a Sapper in Company Alpha, 5th Engineer Battalion (Combat) (Corps), Fort Leonard, Missouri, along with numerous other assignments throughout his career. His campaigns include Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Uphold Democracy (Haiti), Iraqi Freedom III and Enduring Freedom III.
Major Urquietas’ awards and decorations include the Bronze Star (two oak leaf clusters), Meritorious Service Medal (one OLC), Army Commendation Medal (eight OLC), Army Achievement Medal (12 OLC), Valorous Unit Award (two OLC), Meritorious Unit Citation (two OLC), Army Good Conduct Medal (four OLC), National Defense Service Medal (two OLC), Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Southwest Asia Medal (three Stars), Afghanistan Campaign Medal (two stars), Iraq Campaign Medal (two stars), Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, NCO Professional Development Ribbon (three OLC), Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon (numeral four), NATO Medal, Kuwait Liberation Medal and the Southwest Asia- Kuwait Liberation Medal. His decorations include the Sapper Tab, Ranger Tab, Combat Action Badge, Master Parachutists, Air Assault, Pathfinder, Mountain Warfare Ram’s Head Device, and Drill Sergeant Badge. He has received the Bronze Order of the DeFleury Medal from the Engineer Regiment and is an Audie Murphy inductee.
His nominator Daniel Ochoa says, “It is with great honor that I nominate my cousin Ranger and Sapper Brother to be your Parade Grand Marshal as he honors our Veterans. Welcome Home!”