Hilton Head Island, S.C. - Marne Soldiers were at the forefront as they marched and drove up-armored vehicles down the streets of Hilton Head Island, S.C., participating in the city's 27th annual St. Patrick's Day Parade, March 14. The Soldiers were greeted with loud cheers and zealous waves from many of the estimated 20,000 spectators who lined the streets to watch this year's festivities.

"I am very excited and happy to participate in the parade," said Staff Sgt. Jerry J. Patrick, Headquarters Detachment, 385th Military Police Battalion. "It's especially great for all of my younger Soldiers to experience a parade and to be thanked for their service."

This was Staff Sgt. Patrick's first St. Patrick's Day Parade. He and approximately 75 other Soldiers from the 6th Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, marched, rode or drove in the parade behind Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Phillips, 3rd ID deputy commanding general-rear, and Command Sergeant Major Jeffrey Ashmen, 3rd ID command sergeant major-rear.

"Today's parade was an honor for us to participate in," said 1st Sgt. Christopher Williams, Troop B, 6/8 Cav. "(It) has given us an opportunity to give back to the community and to say 'thank you' for the amazing support that they give us daily. Today's parade also gave us an opportunity to display a few of the vehicles that keep us (Soldiers) safe while we are deployed."

Michael Treighter, a spectator visiting from Ontario, Canada, said 6/8 Cavalry's vehicles were his favorite part of the Hilton Head Island parade.

"I never imagined how fierce looking the (Armored Security) vehicle appears," he said. "They were awesome to see up close."

Operation R&R, a non-profit organization designed to provide servicemen and women an opportunity to reconnect with their Family Members upon their return from Iraq or Afghanistan was on hand greeting the Soldiers.

"I am very, very grateful for the support of Operation R&R and what it does for our Soldiers as they come home from deployment with the vacation homes they provide them," said Brig. Gen. Phillips.