by Rick Winterson
Credit the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council (the AWVC) with making an excellent choice. They have selected South Boston’s John Beatty to be the Chief Marshal of the 2019 St. Patrick’s/Evacuation Day Parade. In this function, John will assume a leadership position in the Parade itself on Sunday afternoon, March 17, as well as hosting the Parade Chief Marshal’s Banquet on the evening of March 2, and performing numerous other functions during our “Parade Season” this year.
And to use a phrase, John is a “dyed-in-wool” South Bostonian. He was “born down on I Street; raised up on Fourth Street”, to use another paraphrase. His mother, Carol, still lives here also – in Castle Cove. She’s the lady who brings her own (white) horseradish to the Chief Marshal’s Banquet each year. John was schooled locally, at Saint Augustine’s School and then Don Bosco High. After graduating, he considered enlisting in the Marines, but instead was awarded an appointment to West Point, which he accepted. And John is a local family man, too. He’s married to Maureen Hart. They have three sons – John Jr., Matthew, and Andrew.
Now, as you know, the annual Parade is dedicated to veterans, which matches John’s own career perfectly. After completing his four years at West Point, he became an artillery officer assigned to units such as the First Infantry Division in Germany and the Tenth Mountain Division at Fort Drum in Watertown, N.Y. He was assigned two tours of duty in Iraq (‘05-‘06 and ‘07-‘08). He was a career Army artillery officer, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel after serving on active duty for 23 years.
Even today, as a civilian, John still continues his professional involvement in military affairs. He is the Executive Director of the Commonwealth’s Military Asset and Security Strategy Task Force (MASS-TF). Led by Governor Baker and members of our congressional delegation, the Task Force is dedicated to creating jobs, and spurring economic development in and around the State’s six (6) military installations. The six in-state installations are Westover Air Reserve Base, Barnes Air National Guard Base, Fort Devens, Hanscom Air Force Base, Natick Soldier Systems Center, and Joint Base Cape Cod. You probably once knew Joint Base Cape Cod as Otis Air Force Base. The F-15 fighters that were at Otis are now located at Barnes Air Base, and the air strip on what was Otis is now used by the U.S. Coast Guard for air search-and-rescue duty. The military is very important to the Commonwealth’s economy. Our six bases provide over 57,000 jobs account for over $13B in economic activity. We are also a national leader in much of the technology our military will need in the future, including AI, robotics and materials.
More than once during this interview, John expressed strong feelings about becoming the 2019 Parade Chief Marshal. Early on, he said, “I was surprised and humbled at first, but also highly honored.” When asked for his comments as the interview ended, he closed by stating, “I am very proud of South Boston’s Irish and military heritage. That same spirit of service and sacrifice that those men displayed leading up to the occupation of Dorchester Heights has been passed down to generation after generation. Nicely spoken and congratulations, Parade Chief Marshal John Beatty.