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.