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Electric Light Parade Grand Marshall Announced 2017

The City of Las Cruces is proud to announce the 2017 Grand Marshall for the City’s annual Electric Light Parade, Jim Harbison, former Las Cruces Veterans Advisory Board member.

Harbison was born and raised in the Bay Area of Northern California. He entered the US Army as a private in 1962, received a direct commission to 2nd Lieutenant-Infantry in 1966 and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1990. After retiring from the military Harbison served as Director of Human Resources for a large physical therapy company, owned his own Human Resources consulting business, and served as Director of Performance Development for a nationwide company. He has been a Las Cruces resident since 2007.

Harbison served on the City of Las Cruces Veterans Advisory Board and is active with his High Range Neighborhood Association. He has been actively involved with the Scottish Rite Dyslexia and early childhood learning programs and with the Shriner’s Hospitals for Children for more than 40 years. He is a life member of Vietnam Veterans of America and the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA). He is the past president of Mesilla Valley Chapter MOAA and past President of New Mexico MOAA Council of Chapters. He has been a member of the American Legion for 49 years. He was the committee chairman and project manager for the development of the Vietnam War Memorial in Veterans Park.

He enlisted in the US Army in 1962 and advanced to Sgt. E-5 and was on the E-6 promotion list when he received a direct commission to 2nd Lieutenant Infantry in 1966. Highlights of his military assignments include the following: Commander of a Basic Training Company at Fort Ord, two tours in Viet Nam; the first tour as a platoon leader and company commander with the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) and the second was with Military Advisory Command Vietnam (MACV) advisory team 33 (23rd Division, Army of the Republic of Vietnam); Commander of the 6th Army Escort Detachment (escort duty for military personnel who died in Vietnam), Battalion Operations Officer 4/6 Infantry Berlin Brigade; Readiness Group Training Advisor for the California & Nevada National Guard and Army Reserve; Operations Officer on the CINCEUR’s Airborne Command Post, Logistics Operations Officer in the Pentagon working for General Marion K Ross and General Norman Schwartzkopf; and his last assignment was Chief of Operations and Training for Southern European Task Force (SETAF) supporting Italy, Greece, Turkey & the Sinai Peninsula.

His awards and decorations include: Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Aircrew Member Wings, Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star with V (valor) and OLC (Oak Leaf Cluster for second award), Joint Services Meritorious Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal w/OLC, Joint Services Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal w/OLC, Army Achievement Medal, Reserves Components Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Bronze Star (individual award), National Defense Metal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with seven campaign stars, Berlin Occupation Medal, and Overseas Service ribbon with 2 device.

Jim and his wife Annie have two sons, three grandchildren, and two great grandchildren. Jim said he is honored to be chosen as this year’s Grand Marshall.

This year’s Electric Light Parade will begin at 9 p.m. on Monday. The parade will begin at Apodaca Park and proceed South on Solano Avenue, turn east on Hadley Avenue, and end at Maag Softball Complex. This year’s parade theme is Celebrate our Freedom, our Patriots, and America.