Marines home from Afghanistan to be grand marshals at Jamesport FD parade

07/18/2011 6:12 PM |

Two local Marines who served in Afghanistan will be grand marshals in Wednesday’s Jamesport Fire Department parade, parade organizers said.

The men, Corporal Alfred Grossklaus Jr. of Aquebogue just returned home after being wounded in Afghanistan, and Corporal Robert Peeker, who recently was released from active duty after serving four years in the Marines, will be co-grand marshals, said fire department member Mason Haas, who will be the parade’s master of ceremonies.

“The Jamesport Fire Department is very proud to have two of our returning soldiers leading our parade this year,” Mr. Haas said. “It’s an honor for us to do this. We try to bestow this honor on somebody every year and this year, these guys got it hands down. It wasn’t even a competition.”

Corporal Grossklaus is a 2005 graduate of Riverhead High School who has been in the Marines for four and half years. He was wounded in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan June 26, when he was shot in the lower back by Taliban insurgents. The bullet hit his spine, tore is colon and lodged in his hip, relatives say. While he is not paralyzed, doctors don’t want him walking yet.

Mr. Haas said that when fire department members learned that Corporal Grossklaus had returned home last week, it was suggested that he be a Grand Marshal at the parade.

Corporal Peeker is a 2007 Riverhead High School graduate who joined the Marines two months after graduating high school. He was trained as a combat engineer and served from May to November 2010 in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan.

“These are the guys who clear the way for our troops by detecting and eliminating the IEDs (Improvised Explosive Device) planted by the enemy,” Mr. Haas said.

The parade will begin at 7 p.m. on Main Street and Washington Avenue and the Jamesport Fire Department Carnival and Bazaar will run from 6-11 p.m. from Tuesday, July 19 through Saturday july 23. Fireworks are scheduled for Saturday night.

tgannon@timesreview.com

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