— First Battalion, 211th Aviation,
recently returned from service in Afghanistan, was
honored as grand marshall of Provo’s Freedom Festival
Parade July 4.
Leaders and soldiers of the 1-211th received
the longest and loudest ovation of all parade entries as
they rode along the route down Provo’s University Avenue
and Center Street in a vintage World War II Half-Track
“I was awestruck and humbled by the response of the
crowd and appreciative of the many vets who came up to
shake my hand, said Capt. Matt Badell of the reception
he and his fellow Soldiers received in representing the
The Utah Air National Guard provided a KC-135 refueling
tanker and the Utah Army Guard added Apache helicopters
in two separate flyovers for the parade.
The 1-145th Field Artillery supplied a 155mm M109A6
self-propelled howitzer as the Utah Guard’s parade
“float.” The Paladin, as it is called, is the assigned
weapon for Utah’s artillery units currently serving in
Identical banners on both sides of the howitzer read,
“We salute our 4,500 Army Guard Soldiers and 1,700 Air
Guard Airmen currently serving throughout the world. We
also recognize the support and sacrifice of their
families and employers.”
Photo by Maj. Hank
Soldiers, Airmen, and family members represent the
National Guard in the July 4th parade in Provo.
Riding on top of the howitzer were Sgt. Jordan Grimstead,
Senior Airman Stephanie Wassmer, Master Sgt. Robert Bean
and Staff Sgt. Doug Kunkel with his wife Donna and son
Grimstead, of the 116th Engineer Company in
Spanish Fork, returned from deployment to Iraq earlier
this year and was the Utah Army National Guard Soldier
of the year in 2004.
Wassmer is the 2005 Utah Air National Guard Airman of
the year and an information management technician with
the 169th Intelligence Squadron, Salt Lake
Bean was deployed to Krygyzstan in support of Operation
Enduring Freedom with the151st Air Refueling
Wing, Salt Lake City.
Like Grimstead, Kunkel also served with the 116th
Engineer Company in Iraq.