Preparations are being made for a first-of-a-kind contingent in this weekend's San Diego LGBT Pride Parade.
"I'm excited and overwhelmed," said Sean Sala, a former Navy sailor who is organizing the military's presence at this weekend's Pride Parade.
A banner reading "Honoring Servicemembers" is ready to be unfurled, and shirts representing each branch of the U.S. military have been ordered.
"This is going to be the first-ever active-duty military contingent in a U.S. Pride Parade anywhere," said Dwayne Crenshaw, executive director of San Diego LGBT Pride.
In the contingent is a military convoy truck, along with banners and a giant American flag, escorted by a group expected to be 350 strong. A majority of the group will be gay active-duty military members.
"This started out just as an idea several months ago. Now, it's exploded into a nationwide movement," said Sala.
While the formal repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" is likely months away, a court decision recently prompted the military to stop discharging gay personnel and begin recruiting them.
As local recruits began enlisting, a Pride float meant to honor all troops took on even more meaning.
"Now it's more of a celebration," said Crenshaw.
"I have a lot of active-duty members who are literally emotionally beside themselves because they understand this is what America is all about. A lot of people say they never thought they'd see something like this," said Sala.
Others planning to march agree.
"This is a historical moment for all of us, especially for those coming openly and those being able to serve freely and proudly," said Navy corpsman Jeffrey Mounts.
National Guard Sgt. Joshua Robinson told 10News, "It's a big step. I've done four deployments and I've been closeted my whole time in the military while at work."
Hundreds of individuals were united in their search for acceptance. Each had military ties and each had a different story.
"I always tell people I'm a veteran of the Army National Guard and the Marine Corps but I'm a soldier in God's Army," said one woman.
As the emails pour in, the anticipation -- along with the RSVPs -- continues to grow.
"That day I'm going to be walking in tears because this is a historical moment in the history of the United States," said Sala.
One retired Marine Corps chaplain who did not want to be identified said he is very happy.
"I never thought I'd see this day," he said. "It's a great day for the young guys, too."
The military contingent will also be the biggest ever in the history of the San Diego Pride Parade.
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