Provo Honors the 1-211th Aviation

as July 4th Parade Grand Marshall

 

Written by Maj. Hank McIntire

Published July 7, 2005

   

Members of the 1-211th Aviation, grand marshall for Provo's July 4th Freedom Festival, wave to the crowd.

Photo by Maj. Hank McIntire

Members of the 1-211th Aviation, grand marshall for

Provo's  July 4th Freedom Festival Parade, wave to the crowd.

 

PROVO 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 vehicle.

 

“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 1-211th.

 

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 Iraq.

 

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.” 

 

Soldiers, Airmen, and family members represent the Utah National Guard in the July 4 parade in Provo.

Photo by Maj. Hank McIntire

Soldiers, Airmen, and family members represent the

Utah 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 Josh.

 

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 City.

 

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.