In their honor: Grass Valley to host Armed Forces Day celebration


The first Armed Forces Day was observed in May 1950.

Now it’s Grass Valley’s turn.

The first celebration featured air shows, parades across the nation, and base open houses. The day was established following the unification of the armed forces under the Department of Defense.

For years, the Greater Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce and members of the community have dreamed of amplifying military appreciation in western Nevada County by creating an event to commemorate the active military community.

“This year, the chamber, the city of Grass Valley, County of Nevada and community partners joined forces to create the inaugural Grass Valley Armed Forces Day Celebration,” said Robin Davies, CEO of the chamber. “The Greater Chamber of Grass Valley is inspired to honor our military with this special celebration. It shall be a family affair, including flyovers and music from the United States Air Force Band of the Golden West.”

The event is set for 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday in downtown Grass Valley.

Also included will be representatives from military units in Sacramento, Alameda, and San Francisco. All branches will be represented. The opening and closing colors will be provided by the 9th Force Support Squadron Honor Guard from Beale Air Force Base.

The county has designed an interactive event to honor all branches of the armed forces, said Steven Rose, director of the county’s Human Resources Department.

“We have developed a distinctive Grass Valley military award program recognizing the distinctive accomplishments of our junior members of the armed forces,” he said. “President (Harry) Truman led the effort to establish a single holiday to thank our military members for their patriotic service. On August 31, 1949, Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson announced the creation of an Armed Forces Day to replace separate Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force Days.”

Memorial Day was established to pay respects to those who have fallen in service of their country. Veterans Day honors all those who served the nation.


Three flyovers are planned, by the Coast Guard, Beale Air Force Base and the Army National Guard. The first are two T-38s from Beale, an aircraft used for over 50 years as the first supersonic training aircraft. Then there is the C-27J Spartan, named in 2007 as the Joint Cargo Aircraft for the U.S. military, that now serves in maritime patrol as well as search and rescue.

Another local distinction will be honoring seven recipients of military service awards. There will be recipients from each military branch and a Grass Valley ambassador chosen from all the nominations.

An experienced explosive detecting dog also will attend.

“By taking their young dogs to events like this, it allows their handlers to acclimate them to large crowds, so that when they are fully trained, they will be able to effectively concentrate on the mission at hand, regardless of their chaotic surroundings,” said Rose. “Their fully trained K-9 will demonstrate how they are able to detect the smallest traces of explosives within a sea of luggage. The unit will also display a collection of disarmed and safe explosive devices that their team has found in the past.”

In addition, the program presents a U.S. Air Force flight simulator being hosted by the 346th Recruiting Squadron, which will have an oculus flight simulator of an F-35 and KC 135 tanker refueling.

Grass Valley expects to make this an annual event.

“As a retired military officer, recognizing those who are currently serving is an honor for me,” said Rose. “The sacrifices by the men and women in uniform to defend our nation is a noble calling and paying tribute to them on Armed Forces Day is a fitting tribute to their service. I am looking forward to the announcement of the military winners. Our junior members are the future of our armed forces and recognizing their contributions and leadership is truly special.”

Ready to fly: Clearance OK’d for Saturday airshow

The FAA and Homeland Security have given clearance for a special mini-airshow over the downtown business district of Grass Valley on Saturday.

Organizers said this will include Coast Guard Air Station Sacramento roaring in with a C-27J Spartan medium-range surveillance plane; a T-38 will fly up from Beale Air Force Base; and the Army National Guard will bring a UH-60 Black Hawk rescue helicopter.

The Greater Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce, city of Grass Valley and Nevada County in partnership are hosting the inaugural Grass Valley Armed Forces Day Celebration from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

All the branches of the military are participating, including the Space Force.

Source: Greater Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce

William Roller is a staff writer with The Union, a sister publication of the Sierra Sun. He can be reached at

A C-27J Spartan medium-range surveillance plane like this one will join one of several flyovers and a first ever mini-airshow over downtown Grass Valley during Armed Forces Day.
Submitted to The Union

11 a.m.: Opening colors

11:20 a.m.: Beale Air Force Base flyover

11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.: Air Force Band

11:30 to noon: Army showcase

Noon to 12:30 p.m.: USMC showcase

Noon to 2 p.m.: Lunch

1 p.m.: USCG flyover

1 to 1:30 p.m.: USCG showcase

2 to 2:15 p.m.: Swearing-in ceremony

2:15 to 2:30 p.m.: Leadership award

2:30 to 3:30 p.m.: Air Force Band

2:30 p.m.: USSF showcase

3 to 3:30 p.m.: USN showcase

3:30 to 4 p.m.: U.S. Army showcase

3:55 p.m.: Closing colors ceremony

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