The Fayetteville Observer, N.C.
Although planning for a military parade requested by President Donald Trump is in the early stages, it's likely troops from Fort Bragg — the nation's largest military installation — could be called to participate.
Trump has called on the Department of Defense to plan a military parade in Washington, D.C. Officials from the Department of the Army, which would alert Fort Bragg troops, have not announced plans for specific units.
In a briefing with reporters on Wednesday, Secretary of Defense James Mattis said the Pentagon was working on parade plans to present to Trump.
“I think we’re all aware in this country of the president’s affection and respect for the military,” he said. “We’ve been putting together some options. We’ll send them up to the White House for decision.”
Trump’s request for a military parade comes in the same week Mattis told Congress during a hearing that there isn’t enough funding for military operations, negatively impacting readiness.
“As hard as the last 16 years of war have been, no enemy in the field has done as much to harm the readiness of the U.S. military than the combined impact of the Budget Control Act’s defense spending caps, worsened by operating for 10 of the 11 last years under continuing resolutions of varied and unpredictable duration,” he said.
With more than 10 percent of the Army stationed at Fort Bragg, it’s likely that local troops will somehow be involved in any parade.
In June 1991, more than 400 troops from Fort Bragg’s 18th Airborne Corps and 82nd Airborne Division were part of a parade along 2 1/2 miles of Constitution Avenue in Washington to mark the end of the Gulf War.
Altogether, the parade included more than 8,000 service members and 100 military aircraft.
It was billed as the biggest military parade outside the Soviet Union since the end of World War II, according to archive reports.
According to reports, President George Bush stopped by and said, “This is good for America.”
That parade cost about $12 million, with the Pentagon spending between $5 million and $7 million, according to reports. Other sponsors included veterans organizations and the nations of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
Fort Bragg troops also were part of a massive, 4-mile parade in New York City to mark the end of World War II.
In that parade, more than 13,000 men from the 82nd Airborne Division were selected to represent the Army. The parade included Sherman tanks and other armored vehicles, including howitzers and a fly-by formation of gliders, according to reports.
In more recent parades, Fort Bragg troops have supported presidential inaugurations.
During Trump's inauguration in January 2017, about 40 soldiers from the 3rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command were in Washington along the parade route to render honors, as well as run logistical operations for other units.
©2018 The Fayetteville Observer (Fayetteville, N.C.)