News Search

109th Airlift Grand Marshalls Schenectady's Holiday Parade, Bringing Patriotic Pride and Festive Spirit

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Jamie Spaulding
  • 109th Airlift Wing

The city of Schenectady witnessed a display of patriotism and holiday cheer as the New York Air National Guard’s 109th Airlift Wing, based at Stratton Air National Guard Base, acted as Grand Marshall of the City’s 54th annual holiday parade on November 18th.

Over 50 Airmen, led by Col. Christian Sander, the wing commander, marched in the parade up Schenectady’s State Street. Sander waved to the crowds lining the street along the way. The parade fell on the same day as the unit’s 75th anniversary and was a great opportunity to celebrate with the community,” according to Sander.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul stopped by to help kick off the parade, welcoming Airmen of the 109th Airlift Wing from the reviewing stand.

Accompanying the military contingent was a miniature version of one of the unit's specialized LC-130 Hercules aircraft, a colossal machine uniquely equipped for polar operations; situated atop a float built by the airmen of the 109th.

As it navigated the parade route, the float and its centerpiece “Baby Herc”, as it is known, served as a representation of the 109th's decades of playing a crucial role in supporting scientific research in Greenland and Antarctica.

Colonel Sander shared his sentiments about the participation of the 109th Airlift Wing in Schenectady's festive tradition.

"It's an honor for us to be part of Schenectady's holiday celebration," he said. "This parade allows us to connect with the community, express our gratitude for their support, and showcase the capabilities of the 109th Airlift Wing."

“The 109th's participation serves as a reminder of the sacrifices made by military personnel and their families, creating memorable moments for both the military participants and the community.” Said Anthony Jasenski Sr., Chairman of the Schenectady Legislator.

The 109th Airlift Wing, recognizing the importance of fostering a connection with the community and making the event not just a parade but a meaningful exchange between the military and the public, greeting parade goers with hand shakes and high fives as they proceeded about the route.

“The legacy of the 109th Airlift Wing, built on the principles of dedication, sacrifice, and service, resonates deeply with our community's values,” Jasenski also said.

The 109th Airlift Wing's participation in Schenectady's holiday parade is a testament to the strong bond between the military and the local community. The event served as an opportunity for the community to gain insight into the work of the 109th Airlift Wing and the critical role they play in national defense and humanitarian efforts.