Grand marshal announced for Memorial Day Parade

 Longtime Cranford resident and retired Army Master Sgt. John Abdul, third from right, has been named the grand marshal for Cranford’s Memorial Day Parade on Monday, May 30. Longtime Cranford resident and retired Army Master Sgt. John Abdul, third from right, has been named the grand marshal for Cranford’s Memorial Day Parade on Monday, May 30.
Longtime Cranford resident and retired Army Master Sgt. John Abdul, third from right, has been named the grand marshal for Cranford’s Memorial Day Parade on Monday, May 30.
Longtime Cranford resident and retired Army Master Sgt. John Abdul, third from right, has been named the grand marshal for Cranford’s Memorial Day Parade on Monday, May 30.

CRANFORD, NJ — The Cranford Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 335 have announced the grand marshal for the township of Cranford Memorial Day Parade is longtime Cranford resident and retired Army Master Sgt. John Abdul.

Abdul served the country for 32 years in the U.S. Army, earning some of its highest awards, such as the Legion of Merit Medal, Meritorious Service Medal and the Army Commendation Medal, to name a few. Abdul first enlisted in the Army in 1962.

Following his completion of basic training and his advanced training, he was assigned to the Military Assistance and Advisory Group, Team 21, in Pleiku Province, in the republic of Vietnam. While on this assignment as an advisor to soldiers of the Republic of Vietnam, he was also instrumental in the construction of a Special Forces Airbase North of Quang Ngai. Abdul was repeatedly cited for his tactical and technical expertise while in this hostile environment.

On his return from Vietnam, coupled with his experience in the field, as well as his top secret/crypto clearance, he was assigned to the HHC, 2nd U.S. Army Security Agency, in California. Here, Abdul was tasked with improving the operational readiness of the unit. After this tour in California, Abdul reenlisted in 1976 in the U.S. Army Reserves.

After Abdul reenlisted, he completed the Army Drill Sergeant Academy. Due to his outstanding performance as a drill sergeant, he was invited to participate in the academy as a drill sergeant instructor. His senior officers time after time have referred to Abdul as their “finest NCO.”

Abdul had his first command close to home in 1990, when he was assigned to Army 78th Division in Camp Kilmer in Edison. In the role of operations noncommissioned officer, he facilitated joint training exercises between federal, state and local emergency management agencies and FEMA. In this capacity of military liaison, he was able to assist the Union County Office of Emergency Management with the coordination of services in multiple natural disasters impacting our community.

During his 32 years of devotion to his county, family and community, Abdul has always demonstrated the highest level of commitment to soldiers who served with his leadership, as well as unwavering support for the commands and commanders in which he served. Join in congratulating this longtime town resident and life member of the VFW Post 335, as well as a distinguished soldier, on Memorial Day.

Come to Memorial Park immediately after the parade to hear more about Abdul and what Memorial Day means to him.

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