2020 Parade Grand Marshalls

2020 Grand Marshals World War II Veterans joined by past Grand Marshals “Big Jim” Griffith, Jim Ronstadt, Dan Marries, Chandler Warden, 2020 Arizona Rodeo Queen Shelby Williams, and Parade Chairman Ed Stolfa

In honor of all World War Two veterans, living and deceased, The Tucson Rodeo Parade Committee, Inc. is proud to name them Grand Marshals of the 2020 Tucson Rodeo Parade.

The Committee thanks Kathy and Thom Mansur for their help in arranging for these veterans’ participation.  Kathy and Thom facilitate the Southern Arizona Honor Flight that takes veterans of WWII, Korea and Vietnam to visit the war memorials in Washington, D.C. They have been called “The Greatest Generation.” They left family, friends, and loved ones, put their lives on hold and answered their country’s call when it needed them most to help save the world from tyranny. They fought on the continents of Europe, Asia, and Africa and in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. At various times, their service was carried out under severe winter conditions, in the harshest of deserts, and in the hottest, most humid tropical climates. They are the Veterans of World War Two.

Their numbers are dwindling. Of over 16 million members of the U.S. Armed Forces during WWII, less than 390,000 are estimated to be alive. To honor these American heroes, The Tucson Rodeo Parade Committee names World War II Veterans Grand Marshals of the 2020 Tucson Rodeo Parade.

F1/c Allen Berns, U.S. Coast Guard
Hometown: Chicago, Illinois
Service Dates: 1946-1947 (WWII and Occupation)
Service Duty: Served as an electrician aboard the USS Chautauqua (WPG-41) a new high endurance cutter. Patrol duty South Pacific.
Civilian Life: Established Custom Electrical Systems, Chicago

PFC Gilbert “Gil” Castro, U.S. Army
Hometown: Tucson, Arizona
Service Dates: 1946-1948 (WWII – Occupation)
Service Duty: 27th Infantry Division. Occupational Forces, Japan.

S/Sgt Denzel Clouse, U.S. Army
Hometown: Terre Haute, Indiana
Service Dates: 1943-1945 (WWII)
Service Duty: 75th Infantry Division HQ, Western Front offensive
Civilian Life: Accountant with Hayden Flour Mills, US Treasury

Arnella Corrigan, Cadet Nurse Corps
Hometown: Smithtown, New York
Service Dates: 1944-1946 (WWII)
Service Duty: 2 years enrolled in the Nurse Corps – at Lennox Hills School of Nursing, New York, New York.
Civilian Life: Family

Sgt. Kenneth “Ken” Eckle, U.S. Army Air Forces
Hometown: Ebenezer, New York
Service Dates: 1943-1946 (WWII)
Service Duty: 22nd Army Air Forces, Presque Isle AB, Maine. Parachute rigger, Emergency equipment technician
Civilian Life: Sales (Florist), silversmith, spur maker.

Sgt. Joe Figueroa, U.S. Army Air Forces
Hometown: Tucson, Arizona
Service Dates: 1945-1946 (WWII)
Service Duty: Aircraft & Armament Mechanic, 5th Air Force (Japan) Air Force Reserves
Civilian Life: Aircraft engine mechanic at DMAFB. General Forman for processing aircraft into Storage including the Enola Gay.

Mailman 2/c Bernard “Red” Hollander, U.S. Navy
Hometown: Pittsburg, Pennsylvania
Service Dates: 1944-1954 (WWII, Korea)
Service Duty: Commissioning USS Fall River (CA-131), Mail Clerk NS Newport, NTS San Diego, COMSERVPAC Hawaii
Civilian Life: U.S. Post Office

Cpt. Milo “Mike” Lude, U.S. Marine Corps
Hometown: Vicksburg, Michigan
Service Dates: 1942-1946 (WWII)
Service Duty: Company Commander with 1st Amphibious Group (4th Division) Maui, Hawaii.
Civilian Life: Head Football Coach (U of Delaware, CSU), Athletic Director at Kent State University, and the University of Washington.

Cpt. Gwendolyn “Gwen” Niemi, U.S. Army Air Forces (WAAC, WAC)
Hometown: Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Service Dates: 1942-1946 (WWII)
Service Duty: WAAC OCS – Ft. Des Moines; WAC Company Commander – OIC of Physical Training at the Eastern Flying Training Center, Maxwell Field, AL
Civilian Life: PE Teacher at the University of Arizona, mother, HS Teacher TUSD (20 years).

Sgt. Sam Ortega, U.S. Army Air Forces
Hometown: Tucson, Arizona
Service Dates: 1943-1946 (WWII)
Service Duty: Communications with the 521st Air Service Group (2nd Air Force – Air Transport Command). Kwajalein, South Pacific.
Civilian Life: Hughes Aircraft Co.

MSgt Walter Ram, U.S. Army Air Corps
Hometown: Nogales, Arizona
Service Dates: 1940-1945 (WWII)
Service Duty: 6 combat missions B-17 Navigator (8th AF, England), 18 months as a German POW (Stalag 17B) near Krems, Austria
Civilian Life: Produce Sales & Management

Lt. Col. Thomas “Tom” Rankin, U.S. Army Air Corps, U.S. Air Force
Hometown: San Mateo, California
Service Dates: 1943-1945 (WWII), 1949-1967 (Occupation, Korea – Vietnam)
Service Duty: Completed 38 bombing missions over Germany as B-24 Radio Operator & gunner. (8th AF, England). Distinguished Flying Cross Award.
U.S. Air Force pilot: B-24’s (Korean War), and C-130’s (Vietnam -3 tours).
Civilian Life: Math Teacher at Pueblo HS