By Benjamin Faske, 433rd Airlift Wing
/ Published April 27, 2016
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas -- The 433rd Airlift Wing lit up the San Antonio night sky as they participated in the 67th Annual Fiesta Flambeau Parade, April 23. The Flambeau Parade is one of the largest illuminated parades in the world, with an estimated 750,000 spectators and 1.5 million television viewers.
This year’s theme, “Long Live Texas”, paid homage to the history of Texas. The float keyed on the history of the wing and the Air Force by inviting San Antonio resident Theodore Johnson, a documented original Tuskegee Airman, who was drafted into service in the Army Air Corps in 1943 during World War II.
For many in San Antonio, the Fiesta Flambeau parade is a time when families get together to cheer on their favorite floats and spend time with one another along the parade route. “I’ve been attending Flambeau since I was six months old and I’m now 65,” said Bonnie Carrisal, Flambeau Parade director. “I am very passionate about the Flambeau organization and the 83 members who helped put this on.”
Volunteers were key in making the float a reality. Senior Airman Ernesto Montemayor, a 433rd Maintenance Squadron crew chief, enjoyed volunteering his time and building camaraderie among his fellow Airmen. “It was amazing to show off our float while honoring the Tuskegee Airman on board. It was a great opportunity for me to meet new Airman, and have the chance to volunteer for the 433rd AW while supporting the Air Force as a reservist.”
For some participants, attending the parade was a new experience.
"This was my first experience. I was able to learn more about the history behind Fiesta.” said Senior Master Sgt. Devon Paul, 433rd Aeromedical Staging Squadron interim superintendent and parade committee chair. “Volunteering to be a part of this parade is a way the Air Force Reserves can show their support for San Antonio.”
Members from the wing's Honor Guard proceeded the float during the parade.
“As part of the Honor Guard, it was an honor to walk through the heart of the city representing the 433rd AW," said Senior Master Sgt. Christina Bantin, 433rd Aerospace Medicine Squadron commander support staff flight chief, "It was an honor to carry the colors honoring our flag, country and what we stand for, As people stood up and placed their hand over their heart as we were carrying the colors, it was a reminder that we are a United People. Even through all the fun Fiesta activities, we still stop to honor our flag. Priceless,” said Bantin.