By LESLIE KELLYlkelly@soundpublishing.com
W elcome to the 2015 Armed Forces Day Festivities. Bremerton celebrates its 67th annual Armed Forces Day on May 16 with a parade, pancake breakfast, barbecue lun-cheon and a host of festive activities honor-ing our veterans, active duty personnel and reservists.
According to local officials, this event is the longest-running Armed Forces Day parade in the U.S. and is officially recog-nized by the Department of Defense.
This years parade Grand Marshal is Vice Adm. Charles W. Ray, Pacific Area Commander, Defense Force West, U.S. Coast Guard.
Ray assumed the duties of Commander, Coast Guard Pacific Area in April 2014, where he serves as the operational commander for all U.S. Coast Guard missions within half of the world that ranges from the Rocky Mountains to the waters off the East Coast of Africa.
He concurrently serves as Commander, Defense Force West, and provides Coast Guard mission support to the Department of Defense and combatant commanders.
Vice Adm. Rays previous assignments include Commander, Fourteenth Coast Guard District, service with U.S. Forces Iraq as director of the Iraq Training and Advisory Mission for the Ministry of Interior, and as the military adviser to the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.
He is from Newport, Arkansas, and is a 1981 graduate of the Coast Guard Academy. After an assignment as a deck watch officer aboard USCGC Acushnet (WMEC-167), he was selected for Naval Flight Training and earned his wings in
1983. He earned a masters degree in industrial administration from Purdue University and a masters degree in national resource strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in Washington, D.C.
Rays personal awards include five Legion of Merit Medals, one Bronze Star Medal, two Meritorious Service Medals, one Coast Guard Air Medal, three Coast Guard Commendation Medals and the Coast Guard Achievement Medal.
He is expected to be in one of the first vehicles in the parade.
The annual parade is sponsored and planned by the Bremerton Chamber of Commerce and the Bremerton Central Lions Club.
Bremerton Chamber Executive Director Gena Wales said she anticipates 120 entries in this years parade, some coming from out of state to participate.
Included will be representatives of all branches of the military, police and fire-fighters, pageant queens, commercial busi-nesses, car clubs and more.
There will be a number of high school, junior high and middle school bands as well.
Bremerton started the parade in 1948 to honor John Bud Hawk, a hometown hero who was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Harry Truman at the state Capitol in Olympia. Hawk died in November 2013.
Hawk, who taught fifth- and sixth- grade in Bremerton beginning in 1952, started his teaching career at Tracyton Elementary. In addition to his Medal of Honor, Hawk was the recipient of four Purple Hearts and a Distinguished Conduct Medal from the United Kingdom.
The first Armed Forces Day was cel-ebrated nationally on May 20, 1950, one month before the Korean War began. The holiday was officially designated in 1949.
Prior to that, each branch of the mili-tary had its own special day. The day was created by President Truman on Aug. 31, 1949. The five branches of the armed forces had just been consolidated under the Department of Defense.
Bremertons Armed Forces Day cel-ebration in 1950 had the slogan, Teamed for Defense. C.A. Buzz King, general chairman of the Armed Forces Day event,
wrote in a typed and mimeographed report to Capt. C.O. Humphreys that there were seven speaking engagements and one parade.
King estimated 14,000 people attended the parade, 800 people attended a military ball and 11,750 individuals visited the Bremerton shipyard and shops.
This year, 25,000 to 30,000 people are expected to attend the parade.
The 1950 Bremerton Armed Forces Day schedule of events included a public judg-ing of baked beans and cornbread contest (won by the U.S. Naval barracks) at the shipyard cafeteria, formations of Navy aircraft from Whidbey Island flying over Bremerton, and a public military ball at the Bremerton Civic Center from 9 p.m. to midnight.
While still maintaining the tradition of the parade, Bremerton has incorporated additional events, such as a golf tourna-ment, a pancake breakfast and a free barbe-
cue for active duty, reservists and veterans.Parade attendance is two or three people
deep along the entire parade route.Along the parade route, Warren Avenue
will remain open to traffic. The parade will start at 11th Avenue and Park.
Classic cars will assemble in the Olympic College parking lot and will then merge onto the parade route. This is the third year for the parade route through down-town Bremerton.
Expected again this year will be some vendors along the sidewalks on Fifth Street, including parade souvenirs and arts and crafts.
The A section of the parade will have many local military dignitaries in restored military vehicles driven by members of the West Sound Military Vehicles Collectors Club.
Classic cars and the Shriners clowns will also be in the parade. The parade is expected to last about an hour.
A SUPPLEMENT OF THE BAINBRIDGE ISLAND REVIEW, BREMERTON PATRIOT, CENTRAL KITSAP REPORTER, NORTH KITSAP HERALD, AND PORT ORCHARD INDEPENDENT
THE 67TH ANNUAL ARMED FORCES DAY PARADE STARTS AT 10 A.M. SATURDAY, MAY 16
2015 Festival Guide
Armed Forces Day Parade full of tradition
A military tank drives the parade route through downtown Bremerton in the 2014 parade. City of Bremerton
Charles W. Ray USCG
PAGE 2 ARMED FORCES 2015 FESTIVAL GUIDE MAY 15, 2015
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