SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, Calif. --
Approximately 80 Marines and Sailors with 1st Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, participated in the 60th Swallows Day Parade on March 24.
The parade is one of the Nation’s largest non-motorized parades and has been held annually since the 1930’s as part of paying tribute to the San Juan Capistrano’s Spanish and western history.
During the event, Marines marched in formation and carried their service and National colors in support of the city, which has adopted the unit.
“I think it’s important to have the support of the neighboring cities and to have a mutual understanding of what we do,” said Staff Sgt. Nicholas DeSimone III, an artillery maintenance chief with 1st Bn., 11th Marines, who called cadence for the Marines and Sailors as they marched in the parade.
Sometimes, a city will adopt a unit as a way for the community to support members of the armed forces. San Juan Capistrano adopted the 1st Bn., 11th Marins in August of 2006.
“What that means to us is that they provide a lot of support for things that we do in the battalion,” said DeSimone III. “They recognize the Marines for their hard work and in return, we do some volunteer work for them.”
Marines with the Marine Corps Mounted Color Guard and the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing Band also participated in the event. The mounted color guard is the only equestrian color guard in the Marine Corps.
Margaret Mayes, a local resident, said that seeing Marines in the parade made her feel very proud. She said she loves them specifically because they have the best uniforms.
“The people were extremely receptive and very appreciative of us being there,” said 2nd Lt. Austin J. Bury, the battalion intelligence officer for 1st Bn., 11th Marines. “We were happy to be there and to take part in the parade. There was nothing but good responses from the school and the organizers of the event as well.”
Community Relations in I MEF is dedicated to creating and sustaining good local relationships and building hometown support through providing color guards, military personnel, and static of moving displays of tactical vehicles. Events like the Swallows Day Parade are opportunities for I MEF to show their support for the community in both small and large scale interactions.