AL, UNITED STATES
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. -Sixty Cottonbaler soldiers from 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, represented the Marne Division at the Hilton Head Island St. Patrick’s Day Parade, March 16.
The Fort Stewart, Ga., soldiers marched with as many as 110 floats representing business, schools, and local organizations in the 31st annual parade, where an estimated 25,000 spectators lined Pope Avenue.
Kim Capin, the parade’s chairman, said the Army was one of the crowd favorites and it showed by the huge applause given by the community, which is very supportive of the military.
“The Army was unable to attend last year, but that was the first time in a while they had not been with us, so we were very happy to welcome them back this year,” she added.
“It feels good to come out here and represent the Army [and] just show people what we’re all about,” said Spc. Daniel Foss, from Portland, Maine, and an intelligence analyst with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3-7 Inf.
Command Sgt. Maj. Todd Galindo, the senior enlisted adviser for 3-7 Inf., marched the unit and led them in singing cadence down the one and a half-mile parade route. Other noncommissioned officers jumped in, which provided a fresh tune while marching.
Many in the crowd stood and applauded to show their respect and support as soldiers led by the color guard, who carried the U.S. flag and unit colors, passed. Military veterans removed their hats as the soldiers marched by and some even walked into the formation to place decorative bead necklaces on the soldiers.
Ralph Tuccillo, from Woodbridge, Va., looked forward to the parade while he visited friends on the island. Tuccillo said he was excited when he saw the Dog Face soldiers. “I saw the patches and I had to talk to them,” said the retired Army officer. “I have more respect for the 3rd Infantry Division because of all they’ve done … all the deployments these guys have been on, it’s tremendous.”
After the parade some of the soldiers met up with friends and family members and stayed to enjoy Hilton Head Island.
Sgt. Pedro Rivera, a Ponce, Puerto Rico, native, and a signal support system sergeant with HHC, said it was a great feeling to march in the parade. “It makes you realize how important the U.S. Army is to people when you see them applauding and thanking you for your service.”
Rivera found his family to see the rest of the parade. His wife Bria, from Jacksonville, Fla., said she had fun and was glad she came.
“I loved it,” she said. “The kids got tons of beads, tons of candy. They had a blast!”
The event was a success, and 1st Lt. Victor Huber, a St. Louis native, and the battalion’s assistant intelligence officer, said, “We had a real positive response from the crowd … we’re all happy with it.”
Huber added he looks forward to making it better next year.
||JACKSONVILLE, FL, US
||PORTLAND, ME, US
||ST. LOUIS, MO, US
||WOODBRIDGE, VA, US
This work, Cottonbalers represent Army in Hilton Head Island’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, by SSG Elvis Umanzor, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.