AFOSI Agent serves as Grand Marshal in National Memorial Day Parade
By Tech. Sgt. John Jung, Headquarters, Air Force Office of Special Investigations Public Affairs
/ Published May 27, 2008
The 2008 National Memorial Day Parade kicked off right on time from the National Archives in Washington D.C. with three Airmen as the parade Grand Marshals aboard the lead float with actor Gary Sinise. Mr. Sinise, a military advocate, is the star of CSI: New York and best known in military circles for his role as Lt. Dan in Forrest Gump. His band, the Lt. Dan Band, plays for American servicemembers around the world.
Special Agent (Master Sgt.) Jac Christiansen, Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Detachment 406, Columbus Air Force Base, Miss., Master Sgt. Ronald Beadles, 319th Maintenance Squadron, Grand Forks AFB, N.D., and Senior Airman Mary Bullock, 11th Intelligence Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Fla., were handpicked by Air Force leadership to be Grand Marshals in this year's parade because of their heroic acts or outstanding work in support of OPERATIONS IRAQI FREEDOM or ENDURING FREEDOM.
Special Agent Jac Christiansen was awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart and Air Force Combat Action Medal for leading 158 counter-improvised explosive device missions and other actions in Iraq.
"There are Airmen in the Air Force doing amazing things everyday - very important jobs - that maybe don't get the recognition [they deserve] and I feel maybe I can be here in their place representing them," said Agent Christiansen.
Master Sgt. Ronald Beadles was awarded the Bronze Star for conducting 25 combat patrols while performing improvised explosive ordinance sweeps and wire sweeps while deployed in support of OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM.
Senior Airman Bullock was named Air Force Special Operations Command 2007 Airman of the Year for her work providing critical unmanned aerial vehicle intelligence to special operations forces in support of OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM.
The National Memorial Day Parade, now in its fourth year, is the largest Memorial Day parade in the country, drawing more than 250,000 spectators last year, and is quickly becoming a tradition which all Americans can share. Not merely an event for Washington DC, the parade seeks to draw the attention of Americans to the real meaning for the Memorial Day holiday -- honoring those who have served, and died, to preserve our liberties. The event celebrates all who served in uniform from the American Revolution to Global War on Terror, and seeks to educate the public about the meaning of this hallowed day.
The holiday was originally known as Decoration Day. While many communities lay claim to the birth of Memorial Day, it was the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Union veterans, who proclaimed Decoration Day May 5, 1868. It was proclaimed as a day for citizens to place flowers on the graves of Civil War dead. The nation's first large observance was held that year at Arlington National Cemetery. By the end of the 19th century, Decoration Day ceremonies were held across the country on May 30. It was not until after World War I that the day was expanded to honor those who have died in all American wars. Then, in 1971 Congress declared Memorial Day a national holiday.