Torrance celebrates Armed Forces Day
By Alicia Garges , Space and Missile Systems Center Public Affairs
/ Published May 31, 2006
LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --
The 47th Annual Torrance (Calif.) Armed Forces Day celebration kicked off May 19, with military exhibits at a local mall and two concert performances by the Army Band. Nearly 200 military and civilian personnel from Los Angeles and Edwards Air Force bases participated in the festivities this past weekend.
A parade held May 20, was the high point of the weekend, with crowds of more than 50,000 people. All of the armed services, active-duty and Reserve, were represented. Approximately 150 Los Angeles Air Force Base and 20 Edwards AFB Airmen, led by Space and Missile Systems Center Vice Commander Brig. Gen. William McCasland, marched together to Torrance’ City Hall. The parade featured a jump demonstration by the Army’s Golden Knights, flyovers, several high school marching bands, Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps units, tanks, military support vehicles, and local and military dignitaries including SMC’s commander, Lt. Gen. Michael Hamel, who was the Air Force’s senior representative during the weekend’s activities.
This year’s parade Grand Marshal was Army Lt. Gen. Charles Campbell, deputy commanding general and chief of staff, U.S. Army Forces Command, Fort McPherson, Ga. During a pre-parade luncheon and a post-parade banquet, General Campbell reminded listeners that Armed Forces Day was created by President Harry Truman in 1950 to mark the reorganization of the military under one department. The theme that year was “Teamed for Defense.” Today’s joint military environment has brought that theme to fruition, he said.
The Torrance Armed Forces Day celebration is one of eight nationwide sanctioned and supported by the DoD. According to city officials the parade is the longest running military parade sponsored by a city and has run consecutively for 47 years. The first celebration was held in 1960. In 1969, General Omar Bradley served as Grand Marshal. In 1979, the parade was almost canceled due to lack of public funds. Today, generous donations from private corporations make the event possible.
In 2007, the Air Force will be the honored service at the celebration, and a senior Air Force officer will serve as the parade’s Grand Marshal.