For the first time in U.S. history, service members will be allowed to march in a Gay Pride parade in uniform.

The Department of Defense on Thursday announced it would allow troops to march in San Diego's Gay Pride parade on Saturday.

The department said it was allowing the exception because organizers had encouraged military personnel to march in their uniform.

A contingent of about 200 active-duty service members last year marched in San Diego's parade. But troops were not allowed to participate in uniform; instead they wore t-shirts with their branch's name.

“My soul is on fire,” Sean Sala, a former sailor who led on the action, told the AP. “They don't fight in t-shirts. They fight in uniforms. This is about showing who they are.”

The Defense Department allows personnel to march in parades in uniform if they receive approval from their commanding officer.

“I think many people thought after 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' was gone, discriminatory things would be eradicated,” Sala said. “But now these parades have become a very sticky subject as far as commanders using their own discretion because they are showing either a bias toward a pride parade, or the right view, which this is about recognizing who people are.”

The move comes just weeks after the Pentagon celebrated Gay Pride for the first time.