Plans are being finalized for this year’s Bronx Veterans Parade in Throggs Neck.
The 32nd Annual Throggs Neck Veterans Day Parade kicks off at noon on Sunday, November 13 on East Tremont and Lafayette avenues, turns left on Randall Avenue and then onto Throgs Neck Expressway Service Road to Bicentennial Veterans Memorial Park. At the park, there will be a ceremony.
Parade-goers are encouraged to line the parade route and wave the American flag.
This year’s grand marshal is Throggs Neck resident and retired Lieutenant Colonel Ronald Watson, who served in the United States Marine Corps from 1982 to 2004.
Later he worked for military contractor Lockheed Martin until his retirement earlier this year.
Watson was a star football player as a young man: an All-City team member at DeWitt Clinton High School, an All-American football player at Westchester Community College and he was part of a Division II championship team at East Stroudsburg University, he said.
He was later a teacher and football coach at DeWitt Clinton High School, and while there, he decided to become a U.S. Marine, said Watson.
“Going into the Marine Corps was something that I always wanted to do,” he said, adding “After a period of time (teaching) I felt that I needed a bigger challenge, and that drove me to be part of the finest fighting force in the world, which is the U.S. Marine Corps.”
Serving his country was a key component in this decision.
“I felt it was my duty as an American to serve my country,” he said.
After joining in 1982, he became an honor graduate at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot at Paris Island. He was selected as an officer candidate and was commissioned in 1983.
Watson said that his standout assignments all over the world during 22 years with the U.S. Marines were deployments during Operation Dessert Storm in the Gulf War, an operation to train the Saudi Arabian military to defend themselves and working at North Atlantic Treaty Organization as a senior staff officer negotiating agreements to standardize operational tactics among NATO members at the international organization’s headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.
He also worked with a force to stabilize Mogadishu, Somalia in the aftermath of the Battle of Mogadishu in 1993 and in developing techniques for urban warfare that were later used in the Iraq War.
At Lockheed Martin, he provided the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. military and international buyers additional security solutions following the attacks on September 11, 2001.
Watson remains very involved in the Throggs Neck community, and for the past eight years he has been president of Manhem Club, as well as a member of the Locust Point Yacht Club and Leonard Hawkins American Legion Post 156.
He is a committee member and past president of the Raymond E. Murphy Memorial Scholarship Fund, which has awarded $471,000 to the children of first responders.
He said what he likes about Throggs Neck is it is very patriotic and family oriented.
He was honored being chosen as the grand marshal of its veterans parade and would like to draw attention to it.
“I would like to increase community participation in the Bronx Veterans Day Parade, and promote awareness of the military and veterans affairs and activities.”