This year’s parade marks the centennial observation of Veterans Day, formerly Armistice Day. Iscol, who served in Iraq and on a number of other post-9/11 deployments, is the fourth of this year’s five Grand Marshals, who will each represent an era of service from World War II to the present day. He joins Grand Marshals Hiroshi “Hershey” Miyamura (U.S. Army, Korea), Eddie Ray (U.S. Marine Corps, Desert Storm) and Herschel “Woody” Williams (U.S. Marine Corps, World War II).
Iscol, a member of New Canaan Country School’s class of 1994, was the recipient of the school’s 2015 Alumni Award, presented annually to honor the alumna or alumnus who best embodies the statement from the school’s mission: New Canaan Country School inspires lifelong learners with the courage and confidence to make a positive contribution to the world.
Born and raised in Pound Ridge, NY, Iscol attended Phillips Academy Exeter and Cornell University following New Canaan Country School. He was commissioned on Aug. 11, 2001 as a U.S. Marine Corps officer. His wartime service began just one month later, following the 9/11 attacks on New York City. Iscol served two tours in Iraq as an infantry officer and fought in the second battle of Fallujah, considered to be the heaviest urban combat involving U.S. troops since the battle for Hué City during the Vietnam War. He also served in the Marine Corps’ Special Operations Command, with assignments throughout Africa and the Middle East.
Since leaving the military, Iscol has founded three different organizations dedicated to serving and giving voice to veterans: Headstrong, a non-profit healthcare company partnered with Weill Cornell Medical Center that builds and manages networks of world-class mental healthcare providers in 25 cities around the United States to provide effective, cost and bureaucracy free mental healthcare to veterans suffering from PTSD, MST, and other hidden wounds; Hirepurpose, which helps companies build talent acquisition pipelines to hire military-experienced talent; and Task and Purpose, a military and veteran-focused digital media platform that reaches millions of readers each month. He is also active as an advocate and supporter of a wide range of other veterans causes.
“Through his military service, and through his tireless commitment to those who have served, Zach has dedicated his life to our nation and to our veterans' community,” said UWVC Executive Director, Mark Otto. “We are proud for him to represent not only our post-9/11 generation of veterans, but all those who actively continue to serve, even after hanging up their uniform.”
“I’m incredibly honored to get to walk alongside living legends on Veterans Day and humbled to represent another great generation of American veterans, who have returned home from war to continue their service in their communities. Thank you to the UWVC for caring for our community, keeping our stories alive, and bridging the civil-military divide,” said Zach Iscol, “our teams at Headstrong, Hirepurpose, and Task & Purpose are lucky to partner with you.”
The parade will take place on New York City’s Fifth Avenue between 26th and 48th streets, and will begin at 11:05 a.m. with a one-hour Opening Ceremony in Madison Square Park at 24th Street and Fifth Ave., and end at 3:30 p.m. It will feature nearly 300 marching units and over 25,000 participants from nearly 30 states, including veterans, military members, service organizations, youth cadets and top high school marching bands. The parade will be broadcast on TV and online by WABC-TV as well as via online streaming at uwvc.org/vetsday.