Fort Hunter Liggett Range Operations employee and Army Veteran Juanito Bautista was honored to be the King City’s July 4th Parade Grand Marshall, recognizing his contributions to the Army and the community.
Bautista is a 28-year Army veteran, who was with the 91st Training Division at FHL during his last assignment. He completed tours in Korea, Japan, Germany and Iraq, as well as many state-side locations. The sense of duty runs deep in his family as his sons are currently serving in the Army.
Upon his retirement in 2020, he joined the garrison team as an Army Civilian in the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization, and Security (DPTMS). “After six months of not working, I found it didn't work for me,” said Bautista. “I love Fort Hunter Liggett, and my wife works in the Resource Management Office, so I applied for a job here.” He adds that he enjoys the comradery of all the employees, and all the family activities where they can meet new friends. Bautista was awarded the Fiscal Year 2021 Employee of the Second Quarter.
Bautista joined the King City Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 6747 in 2021. “As an active duty Soldier, I was familiar with all the great things this group does for the community,” said Bautista. “So I joined to give back to the community.”
A Grand Marshall is appointed each year for the King City parade, as a token of appreciation for his/her contributions to the community. “I had the distinct honor in appointing Juanito, as he has been an exemplary comrade, always going above and beyond the call of duty,” said Frank Garcia, VFW Post 6747 Commander. “He brings out the best of everyone with his humorous jokes (not sure how he does it) and has made even the most serious of our comrades’ smile. He sure is a joy to be around.”
Garcia adds that Bautista routinely helps at post, always attends monthly meetings and is very well liked and respected by all fellow veterans.
Bautista has supported many community events as a Soldier, Veteran and Army Civilian, such as Veterans Day and Memorial Day, and FHL Morale and Welfare events.
He is also a member of the Combat Veteran Motorcycle Association (CVMA), participating in fundraising drives and various projects to support Veterans. “If I'm not helping at a VFW event, I'm with this group helping a vet in need, like supporting a disabled vet move,” said Bautista.
“I recommend fellow Veterans to join the VFW because it feels like you’re still in active duty status,” said Bautista. “I enjoy meeting people who served in all branches of the military, and exchanging stories of our military experiences. The friendship is high and they are like family.”