The Winona Steamboat Days Festival Committee is proud to announce that the military grand marshals for the 2021 Grande Parade are Mel Bailey, representing the American Legion, and Dick Will, representing the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Mel Bailey was drafted into the Army after college and sent to Ft. Leonard Wood (little Korea) for basic. Little did he know that he would go to big Korea for duty. He felt that Korea was a good deal (Vietnam was heating up then), but was sent to the Korean DMZ with the Seventh Infantry Division. He was later transferred to division placement. He was in charge of placement for all incoming personnel for the Division in grades E-1 to E-6. Mel left Korea with the rank of SP5 and was assigned to Ft. Sill, Okla., where he was in charge of enlisted personnel with the aviation unit there.
While in Korea, he qualified for the U.S. Expeditionary Medal, and he later was eligible for the Korean Defense Medal. Mel also received a Division commendation for working with the Korean soldiers who worked to improve their English pronunciation and speaking rhythms so they could be understood more easily.
After service, Mel taught in Bloomington, Minn., and later transferred to Winona. Winona was a better pace of life for him. Mel Bailey has three children and four grandchildren.
Richard F. Will, CTOC United State Navy, served three years of active duty and 29 years in active reserve. His duty stations included Teletype School at Imperial Beach, Calif., Guam as watch stander for 18 months, and additional 18 months in Cheltenham, Md. He was discharged in October of 1957. Richard then entered the active reserves at the Naval Reserves stationed in La Crosse, Wis.
He has been a member of the American Legion Honor Guard for 35 years.
Richard has worked for the Winona Post Office for 36 years. He is married to Jaci Helen and has two daughters and three sons.
The Winona Steamboat Days Grande Parade is Sunday, June 20. Pre-parade performances at Sinclair Park begin at 11 a.m. with Little Warriors, First Brigade Band and Minnesota Gopher and Wisconsin Badger drum lines.
Grande Parade kicks off at 12:01 p.m. The parade goes west on Broadway from St. Charles Street to Center Street. For a complete list of Steamboat Days events and activities go to winonasteamboatdays.com.