Southern Route Coordinator Latest News for 2015
9 December 2014
Sunday 7 December 2014 marked the 73rd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The attack commenced at 7:48 a.m. Hawaiian Time. The base was attacked by 353 Japanese fighter planes,bombers, and torpedo planes in two waves, launched from six aircraft carriers. All eight U.S. Navy battleships were damaged, with four being sunk. All but one (Arizona) were later raised, and six of the eight battleships were returned to service and went on to fight in the war. The Japanese also sank or damaged three cruisers, three destroyers, an anti-aircraft training ship and one minelayer. 188 U.S. aircraft were destroyed.
2,403 Americans were killed and 1,178 others were wounded.
We remember the sacrifice of the brave men and women lost on that day and over the following nearly four years in both the Pacific and Atlantic Theater of Operations.
This too is why we ride.
Now some more news IRT: RFTW XXVII Southern Route
OK, OK, I know you have questions and I have been a bit slow anticipating those questions and posting answers so let’s see if we can make some more progress!
I just posted the Southern Route Leadership positions as I know them today. We have Platoon Leaders and Assistants for eight of nine platoons. This listing will continue to grow as we identify the rest of the team that will facilitate our safe crossing across America.
We are still looking for a Trikes with Trailers leader who has made more than one All the Way trip with us before this trip. It looks like Chicken Joe has found enough Tail Gunners for the motorcycle platoons, so if you volunteered and did not get picked up yet do not fret... we frequently experience changes between the first lists and leaving Ontario, so you may still get a call! As I mentioned in my first note, Run for the Wall XXVII will be leaving from the Ontario area, and BOD President Wish is finalizing the contracts for hotels that will be HAPPY to have the Run for The Wall as their guests. The other awesome thing about these new accommodations will be the proximity to the freeways and the price! Wish is shooting to have the new hotels posted after the New Years holiday.
Top Sarge also tells me she is reviewing applications for a Registration Assistant. This person must be detailed oriented (you have to review every registration) must have ridden All The Way at least one time and should be eager to Welcome grumpy Old Veterans home. This wonderful person must be willing to be up early and stay late at the evening stops. Oh and you need to have a smile permanently affixed to your face cuz sometimes those grumpy old vets forget stuff like Insurance Papers or motorcycle registration papers and forget it isn’t the registration team’s fault! And for those of us who do forget paperwork, let me emphasize (for the first time in 2015) you must bring your driver license, Insurance card and motorcycle registration with you when you come to register for The Run. No Exceptions!
Top also asked me to remind all you grandparents and aunts and uncles that if you intend to have a minor passenger riding with you it will be necessary to have a release form granting you permission to bring them on The Run signed by BOTH parents. I say again, you must have a release signed by BOTH parents or the minor will not be allowed to accompany you on The Run.
Tail Light, our Advanced Team Lead tells me he is still looking for short about 7 to 10 from his Staging team... This job sounds really GREAT: Early risers must be at the morning muster spot before sun up! Wages are very poor for this position but the ladies and gents who do it tell me they love seeing our smiling (?) faces each morning and then several more times during the day.
As I write this note our State Coordinators are continuing the work of getting enough hotel rooms to accommodate us as we make our way across these United States. I have heard for several that change some improvement may be possible so we will continue to wait patiently. Please work with me on this one. I expect to have a compete listing of hotels by the end of January. Yes I know that is later than in past years and if we can have it sooner we will get it posted sooner.
The State Coordinators tell me our route across America will look basically just as it did last year with only minor changes. They are still finding volunteer organizations to meet us and feed us.
That reminds me, please remember the towns we stop in and the groups who host us look forward to our visit with the same enthusiasm we look forward to the overall Run. In all cases our hosts have spent significant time and money preparing for our visit. The only expectation they have of us is we will treat them with honor and respect, which should include listening to their programs and speakers. Each year a few of us forget how generous our hosts are and we leave before the kids or the speakers or the program has been completed. Please begin now to prepare yourselves to stay that extra fifteen minutes or so and upon completion of the program please show your appreciation.
So now you know just about everything I know about our 2015 Southern Route Run for The Wall and the little bit more I do know you are probably happy to NOT know!
Please have a very Merry Christmas and a safe New Year.
With great Love, Honor and Respect
28 November, 2014
Greetings from Ft. Worth Texas, where Will Rogers said’ The West begins!’
I trust everyone had a pleasant Thanksgiving and enjoyed the company of family or friends and maybe even a few of our warriors who missed their own families due to operational commitments. If you had a Service Member in your home and shared your holiday meal yesterday, Thank You!
I’m stoney. I am humbled and honored to be the 2015 Run for The Wall Southern Route Coordinator. Here is a little more about me:
My parents were both WWII vets. Dad was a Forward Artillery Observer with the 220th Field Artillery in Europe and Mom was a Marine, trained to work on F4U Corsairs, but stationed at Pendleton as a driver for a China Marine named Colonel Sturgis. In 1971 my dear mother had the good sense to refuse to allow me to enlist in her Corps and so after failing at college I became a Blue Water Sailor in HC-1 Det 2 aboard the USS Midway from October 1973 thru October 1975. My wartime experiences were very different than those of Combat Veteran brothers and sisters. I have never heard a shot fired in anger, but I have lost friends in defense of freedom.
Honorably separated as an E5 in 1977, for the next thirty plus years my enlistment was often referred to as a ‘Million dollars worth of experience I would not pay a nickel to do again!’ Military Service was not something we discussed with anyone who wasn’t a Vet, and most of my Vet friends were trying hard to move on too!
My first trip to The Wall in 2000 had picked an interest I did not understand, then in 2004 I was in DC at a training conference when I discovered Rolling Thunder. With no motorcycle in my possession I announced I would make RT XX and around me friends and family just smiled and looked away.
I started my Run for The Wall Odyssey in 2007 when two vet friends in Kalifornia had to back out of our trip to Rolling Thunder XX. Tadpole answered my email on night one coming out of Rancho and told me to find him when they pulled in to Weatherford. That first Run was 8 years ago and at the time I only expected to ride once or maybe twice!
Little did I know that RFTW XIX, and specifically the Run for The Wall Family would also begin to help me with ghosts I still do not fully understand.
Most who know me remember me as a Road Guard, a role I loved from 2009 thru 2013 exclusively, and all I ever wanted to do with The Run… but The Run had other plans! As all who have ridden more than once with RFTW know, it gets in your blood. It bores into your heart and it will not let go. The Run first gives back to each us, but then she grabs us and points to brothers and sisters who also need comfort and The Run never lets go again!
For the 2015 Southern Route I am honored to be accompanied by Chicken Joe Connors as the Assistant Route Coordinator (ARC) Jim Drieth, Tail Light, as Advanced Team Leader, Ray Ghostrider Wyatt who returns as our Road Guard Captain and Laurie ‘Airborne’ Clay as the Southern Route Finance Leader.
We have identified all but one Platoon Leader (still need one for Trikes and trailers, Platoon 8) but I am confident we will remedy this before we get to Ontario.
That’s is correct, Ontario, California will be our starting point in 2015 so don’t make your reservations at the old hotels in Rancho Cucu unless you want to commute in lovely LA traffic to enjoy our company! BOD President Ken ‘Wish’ Hargrove is still communicating and negotiating with the new venue so we aren’t ready to announce it yet. We can tell you we will have much cleaner access to the Interstate as well as much more parking for our three Routes. Hotels will be announced and will begin accepting reservations sometime after the first of the year.
This year We have chosen Continue the Mission as our mantra for RFTWSR XXVII. I read somewhere, or heard it from someone who knew it, that ‘Charlie Mike’ used over the radio indicated a team would Continue the Mission.
Over my eight years on The Run I have heard more than one person being reminded that we are all on this Run for one reason, The Mission! There are times when that rider next to you, or behind you, or in front of you, cannot keep their interval; when that rider cannot keep up or is too close or clearly has no riding skills, or upsets one or many of us for a reason that they are probably unaware of and most of the old timers don’t care about. It is times like this we must remember why we ride over 3000 miles in ten short days.
Our Mission is ’To ride for those who can’t; to remind America that there is a cost of Freedom and to call for a full accounting of those left behind as Prisoners of War or Missing in Action; and to promote healing among All Veterans and their families and friends.’
By keeping The Mission first in our hearts We will find a way to Continue the Mission not just for ten days in May, but until they are home.
As an aside… when I met Gunny Gregory in 2009 I told him he had given me back something I had tried very hard to forget… and I told him I would serve again in a heartbeat and would proudly pay much more than a nickel for the privilege to do it all again!
Continue The Mission