Distinguished Grand Marshal

by Jun 22, 2023Around Town, Community, Online Exclusives, Southport Oak Island

North Carolina 4th of July Festival announces Colonel Chad Blacketer as the 2023 Parade Grand Marshal.

The NC 4th of July Festival Committee is pleased to announce that this year’s parade Grand Marshal will be Colonel Chad Blacketer, Commander, 596th Transportation Brigade, Sunny Point, N.C.

“Each year, the committee strives to honor those who are or have been in service to our country, and this year is no exception,” says Parade Committee Chair Wayne Berry. “The parade is one of the biggest highlights of the entire festival, and as the new Commander of MOTSU, we couldn’t think of a better person than Colonel Chad Blacketer to lead the procession this year.”

Colonel Chad Blacketer’s military career began in 1995 as a Multi-Disciplined Counter-Intelligence Analyst. His enlisted duty assignments include the 532nd Military Intelligence Battalion, 501st Military Intelligence Brigade, Seoul, Korea, and the 902nd Military Intelligence Group, Fort Meade, Maryland. After serving nearly three years, he was selected for the Army Green to Gold Program. In 2000, COL Blacketer was commissioned through the Army ROTC program at Ball State University, where he earned his commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Transportation Corps.

COL Blacketer began his commissioned service as a Platoon Leader, Company Executive Officer and Assistant S3 in the 106th Transportation Battalion, 101st Corps Support Group and later served as the Deputy Division Transportation Officer in the 101st Airborne Division Headquarters, Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Following the Captains Career Course, he served as the Support Operations Officer and an Observer Controller/Trainer in the 191st Infantry Brigade before being selected to command the Maintenance Company in the 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, Washington. After company command, he served as the Joint Acquisition Review Board officer in the XVIII
Airborne Corps/Multi-National Corps-Iraq, Baghdad, Iraq. Upon completing the Command and General Staff College, he served as the Division Transportation Officer for the 1st Cavalry Division and then the Support Operations Officer in the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, Fort Hood, TX.

COL Blacketer received his joint qualification while serving in the United States Transportation
Command J3 and J5/J4, Scott AFB, IL. Following his assignment with USTRANSCOM, he served as the Battalion Commander for the 841st Transportation Battalion, Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina. Following command, he served as the Division G4 in the 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kansas. In his last assignment, he served as the Future Operations Chief for Military Sealift.

His deployments included combat tours in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2001 and 2008 and Operation Enduring Freedom in 2011. His military education includes the Joint Planners Course and the Joint and Combined Warfighting School. COL Blacketer’s military schools include the Parachutist, Air Assault and Pathfinder courses.

He and his wife have four beautiful daughters.

WECT TV6 and Dosher Memorial Hospital sponsor the parade. The parade will be televised live on WECT TV6 and will be presented by WECT-TV6’s Gabe Ross and WHQR’s Rachel Lewis Hilburn.

The history of Southport’s Fourth of July celebration was first recorded in a newspaper in 1795. Now the event has grown to attract more than 50,000 visitors each year. Through the years the NC 4th of July Festival has evolved to encompass a wide variety of American celebration traditions.

For a complete list of events visit nc4thofjuly.com.

Sponsored by Wilmington Today
Image courtesy of Photo by Airman 1st Class Megan Munoz