Navy pilot hitches ride on dating site's Rose Bowl float

Lt. Cmdr. Rich Daniels poses with wife Kay. The couple married in 2011. (eHarmony photo)

Lt. Cmdr. Rich Daniels poses with wife Kay. The couple married in 2011. (eHarmony photo)

A Navy flight instructor who found love online started off the new year with a ride in the Rose Parade, courtesy of the matchmaking service that linked him with his future wife.

Lt. Cmdr. Rich Daniels and wife Kay, married in 2011, were one of seven couples on the eHarmony float that helped ring in the New Year in Pasadena, Calif. He wore his dress blues and waved while Natalie Cole belted out “Everlasting Love” and other songs from a float described in the official event program as “a beautiful floral extravaganza.”

Some readers questioned whether Daniels was in violation of Defense Department rules banning service members from wearing the uniform in ways that could benefit them professionally or financially outside the service, or would imply official endorsement of a political candidate, cause or business (or, presumably, parade float). However:

  • Neither the Danielses nor the other couples were compensated for the appearance beyond travel expenses.
  • Daniels told Navy Times via a Facebook message that he sought and received permission from his command to wear the uniform in the parade. A Navy spokesman confirmed Daniels’ statements.
  • “Understanding restricting rules, we asked Lt. Cmdr. Daniels for permission to honor his military service,” Jaime Rupert, director of corporate communications at eHarmony, said in a statement to Navy Times. “He proceeded to receive proper permission to wear his uniform on the Rose Bowl Parade float only.”
  • The aviator and his wife aren’t paid spokespeople for the website, Rupert said in the statement, and Daniels made no other appearances in uniform for the website, turning down interview requests.

Daniels is far from the only military-themed online dating success story. A 2009 USA Today story profiled a Marine who met his wife on eHarmony, for example.

But not every tale has quite so happy an ending — photos of military men are favorites of scammers seeking to separate the lonely from their money, and a service member’s dating history could, in some cases, prevent him from obtaining a security clearance.

Miss the parade? Want to catch a super-quick glimpse of a shipmate waving? Love Natalie Cole? See the video at this link.



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  1. So, let me get this right. People have a problem with a man in uniform, who serves this country to keep us safe, wearing his uniform on a float but aren’t complaining about the gay couple getting married at a family parade and ruining the innocence of children. Makes sense.

  2. It’s not that people had a problem with it, it’s that there are rules in place governing the wear of the uniform. They were questioning whether or not he was in violation of the rules. It seems he is not, this article seems to clarify that for the people who raised the questions.

  3. Ok this is flat out stupid. Violation my butt what about the sailors in thee working uniform at the gay pride parade that were in violation. Nothing thats what and now they want to bring up him in his dress blues, come on now, are you serious!!!!! People need to really get a life this there is way too much double standards.

  4. It would be a lot easier if he just left the uniform in the closet. Unless it’s a official function. Be yourself not a service member.

  5. That uniform is not the “Dress Blue” uniform reported in the article, but rather “Dinner Dress White.” Unless I am missing something, that is the wrong uniform for The LCDR to be wearing as it is for formal occasions like Mess Dinners, and it is also for summer use or use in warm climates as directed by an appropriate authority. The actual correct uniform probably would have been Dress Blues, which consist of a blue suit with double breasted jacket and rank braid on the sleeve as opposed to the shoulders, and a regular necktie. As to the wearing of the uniform, I am sure the LCDR wears it with great pride as I once did, but the proper uniform should be worn correctly. My opinion – I am not an expert.

  6. Bobfv- the rose bowl is in Pasadena, CA. Think whites were in order…
    Andrea Lowe-im curious what conflicting thoughts you would have had if that gay couple were both active duty military.

  7. Every one bitches and moans, but the Lt Cmdr DID get permission from the chain of command. Also BobFV look at the pic above, since when do they have aircraft in the Rose bowl? Yes you are not an expert, you are also blind.

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