'I'm just thrilled:' South Florida sailors and marines return home for Fleet Week Miami

WPTV's Kate Hussey speaks to 3 Marines with ties to area
Posted at 6:28 AM, May 08, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-08 08:43:46-04

MIAMI — Marines on the USS Bataan are ready for another day showcasing their equipment at Fleet Week Miami and heading out to see the area.

From Miami up to the Treasure Coast, sailors and marines told WPTV they're proud to represent the communities in which they grew up and see the people with whom they grew up.

Amid the hustle and bustle of PortMiami, U.S. Marine Corps chief warrant officer three Mark Pellon walks up the ramp to the USS Bataan, now docked in his hometown.

"I grew up here in Miami," Pellon said. "I went to school here at Nautilus Middle School in Miami Beach."

It's a full-circle moment for the director of the 2nd Marine Division Band, who now gets to perform at his old high school.

"I'll be able to look at the chairs I literally sat in, and those kids weren’t even born when I joined," Pellon said.

Marine 1st Sgt. Ivan Ricardo's father lives in Port St. Lucie. He hopes to be reunited with both the people and places he loves.


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"Tradition, maybe hit up Stuart, Jensen Beach," Ricardo said. "I'm just thrilled."

Master Sgt. Jacky Brun represents the folks he grew up with, too. Born in the French Martinique, he was raised in South Florida and recruits throughout the region.

"It's gratifying," Brun said. "It's rewarding to give back, especially for a country that took an immigrant like myself."

For these Marines, it's a chance to tell their stories and share their experiences in the very place where their journeys first began.

"That's one of the cool things," Pellon said. "We're made up of such a diverse community. We kind of reflect the nation, and here in Miami where the cultures are so diverse, I hope they take away that we reflect that."