About 200 U.S active-duty troops and veterans marched in a San Diego gay pride parade on Saturday, with American flags and banners, marking what is believed to be the first time a military contingent has participated in such an event in the U.S.

Many of the active-duty troops said they were moved to come out because it’s time to end the military ban on openly gay troops.

National Guard member Nichole Herrera said, This is one of the proudest days in my life. It's time for it (the policy) to be gone. I'm a soldier no matter what, regardless of my sexual orientation.

Under the military's existing Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy, service members are barred from saying they are gay or lesbian, and that has until now discouraged some members of the military from participating in gay pride parades.