The U.S. Coast Guard’s first Black Master Chief Petty Officer has been named Grand Marshal of New York’s 2022 Veterans Day Parade.
Organizers introduced Vince Patton at an event on Staten Island on Thursday.
“I have bruises from pinching myself 100 times, that’s really what happens,” Patton said.
During his 30-year career, Patton has visited 33 countries, sailed the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and participated in more than 50 search and rescues, while earning two bachelor’s degrees, a master’s degree, and his doctorate.
It was an illustrious career further underscored by the fact that at one time he was the most senior enlisted member of the Coast Guard.
“I discovered that long before me all they could serve in the Coast Guard was to be stewards and today we have admirals as well as other special ranks so I’m honored to be the first. Hopefully I won’t be the last,” Patton said.
Patton joined the service in 1972 and he said the biggest challenge was the lack of diversity.
Originally from Detroit, Michigan, Patton was one of 10 children.
He said his parents played a huge role in his success. “Success isn’t an accident, it’s hard work… perseverance, learning, studying, sacrificing but above all, loving what you do,” Patton said.
This year’s New York City Veterans Day Parade marches down Fifth Avenue on November 11, 2022.
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