PHOENIX — Over the past weeks, KTAR.com has posted a special profile of each of the grand marshals of the 2016 Phoenix Veterans Day Parade.
We called it our Profiles in Courage series. These men and women all served our nation in various capacities, in various conflicts and on various continents, but they all have one thing in common: They’re heroes.
To ensure that all of our readers are able to learn more about these incredible people — and because Friday is Veterans Day — we wanted to create a brief recap of each veteran and link out to their feature pieces below.
Carlyle Brown served as a helicoper door gunner in Vietnam. He won the Bronze Star for helping to rescue a recon team that was taking heavy fire. Brown lives near Falcon Field, where he can watch helicopters fly, and spends his days creating special packs to let other veterans know their service is not forgotten.
Bill Kumer flew in both World War II and the Korean War. He was awarded eight medals over a 24-year military career and saved numerous lives. He also flew an Army surgeon to the front lines who just so happened to be the very same doctor that delivered him into the world.
Jay Darby was once a rebellious teenager in the 1970s. Now, he’s a medal-winning veteran who served in Operation Desert Storm from 1990 to 1991 and Operation Enduring Freedom. He also participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
In 1942, 20-year-old John Kolling was living with family in North Dakota and wanted to enlist, just as his brother had. Three years later, his 9th Armored Division captured a key bridge during the Battle of the Bulge that provided a key artery into Germany. He also rescued a friend from a German POW camp.
Diana Pike served in the Army during the Cold War. She was stationed in Berlin and worked in coding in the states. But she wants every veteran to be remembered, especially her son, Christian, who was killed fighting with the Navy SEALs in Afghanistan in 2013.
Carlos Lozano knew his troubled life in New York City would lead nowhere. He enlisted in the Navy to find discipline and structure. He wound up serving aboard several aircraft carriers during numerous conflicts in the Middle East.
Frank Vinales was training in Kentucky when he befriended Sgt. Paul Cline. The pair would be sent around the world to Vietnam, where Cline would be cutoff and stranded. Vinales tried to save him and was shot four times in the process.
Jeremiah Gallegos grew up in a military family and knew he wanted to serve. He earned a Bronze Star in Iraq for saving the life of a private after his tank was destroyed.
- Main Street Minute: Restaurant chains feeding veterans for free
- Phoenix to host annual Veterans Day Parade, some streets will be closed
- Profiles in Courage: Army veteran earns Bronze Star for heroism while in combat
- Profiles in Courage: Phoenix Vietnam vet wounded four times trying to rescue friend
- Profiles in Courage: What it’s like to prepare Navy planes for battle for decades