SAN FRANCISCO -- Rounding the corner with their piercing trumpet section, explosive snare drums
and booming bass, the Marines of Task Force San Francisco filed down Jefferson
St. and Columbus Ave. during the 147th Annual Italian Heritage Parade as part of
San Francisco Fleet Week 2015, Oct. 11.
During their week-long stay in
the Bay Area, Marines and sailors established themselves as more than just
warfighters by demonstrating their humanitarian assistance and disaster relief
efforts. Static displays were held throughout the town while the rip-roaring,
pinpoint precision flight capabilities of the Navy Blue Angels soared over the
San Francisco skyline. Various other festive performances were held by the 1st
Marine Division Band and Navy Band Southwest.
“Over the course of the
parade, we delivered some pomp and circumstance to the residents here,” said
Gunnery Sgt. Benjamin Becker, the drum major of the 1st Marine Division Band.
“Getting the crowd involved in the performance makes them part of what you are
doing and allows them to truly experience the music.”
Crowds rose to
their feet while clapping their hands rhythmically as the Marines traversed the
parade route and filled the city with patriotic tunes, celebrating the heritage
of the Marine Corps and the culture of Italy.
“I love watching the
Marine Corps band,” said Tony Martins, a San Francisco resident. “It’s wonderful
seeing them perform and I think the more they interact with the community, the
more we can build the respect of the armed forces in the minds of the people
Throughout Fleet Week, the 1st Marine Division Band has provided
entertainment to the patrons of various sponsored events, including a concert at
the Marines Memorial Club and street performances held at Pier 39 and Pier 80 in
conjunction with the static ship displays.
“People truly enjoy the Marine
Corps presence here at the parade,” said Joe McFadden, a captain in the San
Francisco Police Department. “They can’t get enough of it because of the mass
amounts of respect that the citizens here have for the armed
With the many different cultural groups that reside in San
Francisco, the purpose of the parade is to celebrate the Italian heritage and
the people that make the city of San Francisco what it is today.
behind the band was the military marshal of the parade, Brig. Gen. David
Ottignon, commanding general of 1st Marine Logistics Group, and a small
detachment of Marines in town for Fleet Week.
“Other than our earlier
performances the week, my favorite part of Fleet Week has been leading the band
through the parade,” Becker said. “I love passing by and seeing the crowds rise
to our playing. It means a lot to me as a performer.”
As San Francisco
Fleet Week 2015 gradually comes to a close, the Marine Corps and Navy hope to
leave the residents of the city with a positive lasting impression of the
crisis-response capabilities that the duo can harness in the event of a major