TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
Service members from the Combat Center and local civilians, gathered in Twenty- nine Palms to participate in the 74th annual Pioneer Days parade, Oct. 16.
The parade is held every year in celebration of the founders of the town, and Combat Center Marines participated to show their support.
“This parade is celebrating the heritage of Twentynine Palms,” said Brig. Gen. H. Stacy Clardy III, the Combat Center’s commanding general. “We are a part of that and they embrace that so I think it is important that they do it and we participate in it because we are all a part of the same community.”
The Marines lead the parade with the colors, proudly setting the parade’s pace. Citizens stood along the side of the road and placed their hands over their hearts in honor of “Old Glory.”
The spectators along the parade route appreciated the Marines participating in the parade since they play an intricate part in making Twenty- nine Palms the town it is.
“Marines are essential to the community,” said Bradley White-Findeisen, the Scout Master for Boy Scout Troop 229 and a native of Twentynine Palms, Calif., which carried the parade flag behind the Combat Center’s Color Guard.
“Half of the businesses in town are about being there for the Marines, and we wouldn’t have half of our athletic teams. Scouting and a lot of the organizations would have a very hard time if it wasn’t for the Marines volunteering,” he said. “We would have a hard time being a town without the Marines.”
Sixty-two Marines from the Marine Corps Communication-Electronics School volunteered to march in the parade on their day off.
Private First Class Kevin Habel, a student with Company B, MCCES, and a native of Cincinnati, said he has been looking forward to this for a couple of weeks and it was a good opportunity to don his dress blue “charlies,” a uniform he almost never wears.
“I think [the Marines] like the fact the people appreciate they are here and they serve our country, and I could hear them back there thanking [the Marines] for their service,” Clardy said. “I think it is important for them to hear that coming from the people out here.”
Sergeant Maj. Harrison L. Tanksley, the Combat Center’s sergeant major, said having Combat Center personnel participate in the Pioneer Days Parade helps show the Combat Center’s support for the local community.
“We are willing to give back and always support whatever endeavors the community may have, because they support us through thick and thin, not only when we have warriors pushing out into theater, but when warriors return,” Tanksley said. “The community turns out in droves to support everybody in the Combat Center.
“I just want to thank the community of Twentynine Palms for everything they do for the war fighters and their families,” he added.