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The parade staff marches passed in review during a Tuesday Sunset Parade at the Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Va., July 31. Sgt. Maj. Micheal P. Barrett, sergeant major of the Marine Corps, served as the hosting official for this parade, which featured noncommissioned officers in positions traditionally held by officers and staff NCOs.

Photo by Cpl. Mondo Lescaud

NCO commands Sunset Parade

31 Jul 2012 | Cpl. Jeremy Ware

 A native of St. Paul, Minn., commanded a prestigious Sunset Parade at the Marine Corps War Memorial July 31.

 Sgt. Aaron Spardone served as the parade commander for the non-commissioned officer parade that was conducted for the sergeant major of the Marine Corps. The non-commissioned officer parade is unique because Marines of lower rank fill key billets on the parade field usually filled by officers and staff non-commissioned officers.

 “It’s a great honor to be the parade commander during one of the Marine Corps premier parades, and it comes with high responsibility,” Spardone said. “It was my humble beginnings in St. Paul that taught me the discipline to achieve what I set my mind to. It was with the help of teachers, friends and family back in St. Paul that I am able to be a success today.”

 Spardone enlisted in the Marine Corps February 2005 and attended recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego. He has recently served as the platoon sergeant for Company A, 1st Platoon at Marine Barracks Washington. This is Spardone’s second tour at the Barracks; he served here from October 2005 to November 2007 with the Silent Drill Platoon.

 Throughout his career, Spardone has been honored with two Good Conduct Medals, the National Defense Service Medal and several Iraq Campaign Medals, among other awards.

 Spardone said he is not sure what he will do when he is due for re-enlistment in 2014, but he looks forward to starting the next phase of his life with his family.

 “I would like to thank those that took the time to properly lead me on the right path, both back home in St. Paul and in the Marine Corps. I wouldn’t be the Marine I am today without them,” Spardone said.