Meet Our 2019 Grand Marshal
David G. Perez, PFC US Army - WW II
PFC David G. Perez was born in Bisbee, Arizona in 1920. During that time many immigrant and fellow migrant families were moving to California to work in its rich agricultural industry. No easy task for any of you who have ever worked in the fields. At the young age of 11 he and his thirteen siblings moved to California to find work in the budding agriculture industry here locally.
When our country was thrust into WWII he and four of his brothers, Maximilliano (Army), George (Navy), Danny (Army), and Macario (Army) were drafted to join the fight and do their part as Americans. The only brother who did not make it back was Macario. He was Killed In Action (KIA) in Belgium. The career that Mr. Perez selected was to be a combat medic. A brave and dangerous position where you put other lives ahead of your own. Two of his brothers were fighting in Europe and him along with his other brother who fought in the Pacific theatre.
While serving with the 27th Infantry Division he and his comrades saw action in many strategic locations near Japan. He fought hard and no doubt saved many lives in the Northern Solomon Islands. He was injured by close enemy artillery which left him in a coma for five days in Okinawa.
Most noticeably he was recognized for his selfless bravery in a fierce battle in Saipan (Mariana Islands.) There he disregarded his own safety and left a covered position which exposed him to heavy enemy gunfire and mortar explosions. As he worked his way along the rocky terrain, he was able to administer first aid and evacuate four of his wounded comrades. Thus, he earned the coveted Bronze Star Medal. His other awards include the American Defense Medal, Good Conduct Medal, and Asiatic Pacific Service Medal.
After the military he came home to the love of his life and for 62 years was married to Lillian Rodriguez Perez. They raised two daughters Celia Perez Martinez, and Felicia Perez Kausin. He pursued a career at Felman’s Men’s Store here in Salinas in 1954. Upon the retirement of Mr. Felman, Mr. Perez stayed on as the store owner for another twenty years.
He served his community with the Elk’s Lodge for over twenty years and is a proud member of the American Legion Post 31 for over 40 years. He is immensely proud of serving our country and especially serving as a combat medic.
It is an honor to recognize PFC David G. Perez as our 9th Annual Veterans Day Parade Grand Marshal and as an American from our Greatest Generation!