Sequestration is going to have an effect on next month’s Armed Forces Day Parade in McAlester — but parade organizers are hoping others will step up to fill the slots.
“As a result of sequestration and the ongoing budget uncertainty, the Defense Department has taken a number of steps to reduce spending,” said McAAP Public Affairs Specialist Kevin B. Jackson.
One of those steps is to cease military support to non-Department of Defense organizations for outreach activities, Jackson said.
“This includes, but is not limited to, military equipment displays at civilian air shows, parades and civic events.”
One of the highlights of recent parades, according to many parade-goers, has been McAAP’s float featuring a replica of the Massive Ordinance Air Burst Bomb — often called the “Mother of All Bombs.” A McAAP float featuring the MOAB has won first place in the float competition during several previous Armed Forces Day parades.
Armed Forces Day Committee member Jeff Wolf is among those trying to fill the slots left open by the cutback in military participation for this year’s Armed Forces Day activities, set for May 3 and 4 in McAlester.
“It’s an effort,” Wolf acknowledged. “We’ve increased efforts to raise money to find additions to fill the gap.”
McAAP is not the only military group not coming to McAlester’s Armed Forces Day Parade this year.
Other contingents from Fort Sill in Lawton have canceled as well, according to parade organizers.
“We won’t have anything from DAC,” Wolf said, referring to the U.S. Army Defense Ammunition Center, which is on the McAAP grounds.
Wolf has contacted marching bands in the area and hopes to have military re-enactors portraying different eras regarding the nation’s war-fighters.
Plans are also proceeding for the annual Armed Forces Day Fly-in, set to follow the parade, with the fly-in once again scheduled at McAlester Regional Airport.
Wolf has received confirmation at least 12 aircraft will participate, and he’s hoping for more.
Activities begin at 11 a.m. on Friday, May 3, with the Annual Armed Forces Day Luncheon, which will be held in Building 59 on the McAAP grounds. This year the National Guard will be the honored service, according to Wolf. Tickets are available at the McAlester Chamber of Commerce office at 101 S. 2nd St.
May 3 activities will be followed by the Armed Forces Day Parade at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 4. The Armed Forces Day Fly-In at McAlester Regional Airport is set to follow the parade.
Wolf said anyone interested in participating in the parade can phone the McAlester Chamber of Commerce at 918-423-2550, or can contact him at 918-424-5503.
Parade entry forms are also available on-line at the Chamber’s website at email@example.com, said Vicki Jones, of the Chamber.
For more on this story, see the print or electronic editions of the McAlester News-Capital. Click here for print edition home delivery or click here to see the Smart Edition for your computer, tablet, e-reader or smartphone.