Aspiring Marines march in Cinco de Mayo parade

8 May 2013 | Staff Sgt. Clinton Firstbrook 9th Marine Corps District

Scarlet and gold appeared in St. Paul last week when a handful of aspiring Marines marched in the West Side Cinco de Mayo parade May 4.       

Thousands of residents watched Sgt. Julio Gonzalez drill eight members of the Delayed Entry Program along the parade route then stop every few yards to hand out stickers to children lining the streets.  

“I think we knocked it out of the park,” said Gonzalez, 26, from Watts, Calif. “I never called cadence for a parade before, but everyone was crisp and clean in their movements. It was surprising, because some of our participants learned to march only minutes before the event started.” 

At one point, the parade route converged to one lane, bringing spectators within one arm’s distance of the military float.   

“Talk about claustrophobic,” said Sgt. Dalton Revier, who drove an H3 behind the platoon. “When you went around the corner it looked like the entire road was blocked by the crowd.”

Aside from a handful or recruiters and representatives from veterans organizations, the event also featured vehicles from local community organizations and authentic Mexican performers. 

“It was an honor for us to participate,” said Gonzalez, who works out of the Inver Grove Heights office. “The city of St. Paul has a vast history of military service. The whole day people came up and thanked us for our service. I’m glad I was able to represent the armed forces’ Hispanic community.”   

For additional imagery from the event, visit 

9th Marine Corps District