Soldiers march in St. Patrick's Day parade

By Brooke Kelley - bio | email

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - For the first time in years the 3rd Infantry Division along with the 1st Battalion Hunter Army Airfield Rangers marched in the St. Patrick's Day parade together.

This was a special moment for the soldiers to be all together again.

It was definitely a sight to see Forsyth Park filled with soldiers, more than 1,000 soldiers on a mission getting ready to march in the St. Patrick's Day parade.

Not just the 3rd Id marching, these are 1st Battalion Rangers all one thousand are home, and here.

"The fact that we are all here together makes this St. Patrick's Day all the more special," said 3rd Id Commander, Major General Tony Cucolo this is his first time marching in the Savannah St. Patrick's Day parade.

And as the soldiers marched along the parade route, it was evident the crowds love and respect them - giving them a standing ovation and plenty of kisses. Sgt. Jonathon Angeles says it's a great feeling to know the community appreciates them.

"This is the first time marching since I was married, my wife is gonna get a glance of lipstick that's not her's, but I don't know, honey if your watching I love you baby I am sorry," said Angeles.

"As one who has been all over the United States and in Europe and the world, there is no warmer reception from the population than Coastal Georgia," said Cucolo.

Especially since both groups are getting ready to deploy once again. Cucolo says these soldiers are going to cherish this moment.

"We don't know, where we are gonna be next St. Patrick's Day, but I don't think your gonna have 600 soldiers in the St. Patrick's day parade, these moments are precious and fleeting," said Cucolo.

Commander of the 1st Battalion Army Rangers Brian Mennes says they have deployed 12 times since the global War on Terror started.

"It's a good feeling to have all the rangers here again among the community that respects these guys regardless of your feelings and thoughts of the war, we know these guys are doing our nations bidding and really continuing to sacrifice despite the multiple deployments," said Mennes.

Next year it's likely there won't be as many soldiers marching,and it could be years before this gathering of soldiers happens again.

"It's an inspiration to us all, to know that people in Savannah appreciate what we do," said Mennes.

And boy do we.

General Cucolo expects the next round of deployments to take place in later this year.

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