WWII & Korean War vet to lead Krewe of Gemini parade

WWII & Korean War vet to lead Krewe of Gemini parade
Ray Urban during his stint with the Marines (courtesy Ray Urban)
Ray Urban during his stint with the Marines (courtesy Ray Urban)

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - The Krewe of Gemini didn't have to go far to find this year's grand marshal. Sticking with the theme of "Gemini Salutes America," it is only fitting the parade leader would be a real American hero. One of their founding members, WWII and Korean War veteran Ray Urban, fit the bill.

"I'm honored and privileged to represent the servicemen of the United States," expressed Urban.

The 96-year-old was on eight different islands during WWII and entered Korea late in the war. 

Many call him a hero, but that's not how he sees himself.

"Serving was my honor our duty and privilege," said Urban. "I get a lot of thanks for my service, but still it's part of what I needed to do at that time."

Following his military career with the Marine Corps, Urban became one of the founding members of the Krewe of Gemini.

Serving as the Krewe's first King in 1990, Urban recalled borrowing cotton wagons from Monroe to use as floats in their first parade.

He later became a driving force in bringing Mardi Gras to Shreveport-Bossier.

"I hoped to see the time where we had a Krewe all over and now it's come to fruition."

Each year, the parade gets bigger and the costumes more elaborate. More than 200,000 people are expected to line the route on Saturday and the Krewe of Gemini is ready to roll with Urban leading the way.

"There's a lot of dedicated people that have worked and put the time, effort and money into making this is a success."

Urban is also the oldest person ever to skydive in Louisiana and one of the oldest living skydivers in the U.S.

He set the tandem skydive record in 2016 at the age of 95.

Copyright 2017 KSLA. All rights reserved.