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SandBox Route RC Newsletter – February 2023

Welcome to the SandBox Route RC Newsletter for February 2023.

Visit the RFTW SandBox Route home page by clicking here.

I want to take this opportunity to again welcome everyone to the SandBox Route, especially all our FNG’s. I encourage everyone to visit the Middle East Conflicts Wall Memorial page at and become more familiar with the history of this memorial and the names included on this Wall. The names of our fallen listed on the Middle East Conflicts Wall actually date all the way back to 1967 with the attack on the USS Liberty during the Six-Day War, also known as the Arab-Israeli War of 1967. The attack on the USS Liberty resulted in the loss of 34 crew members and wounded an additional 171 crew members. This Wall also includes names from the 9/11 Pentagon attack; the Ft. Hood attack in 2009; Bosnia and Kosovo. The Middle East Conflicts Wall and the names listed on it are not exclusive to the Middle East conflict areas; but encompasses the entire “War on Terror” since 1967.

The Run For The Wall mission is “To promote healing among ALL veterans and their families and friends, to call for an accounting of all Prisoners of War and those Missing in Action (POW/MIA), to honor the memory of those Killed in Action (KIA) from all wars, and to support our military personnel all over the world.”

This is why we ride – to support this mission!

Operation Desert Storm

In last month’s newsletter I discussed the build up to and the beginning of Operation Desert Storm in January 1991. February 1991 marks the beginning of ground combat operations in Iraq.

On February 15, 1991, US Army Task Force 1-41 Infantry became the first coalition force to breach the Saudi Arabian border, and conduct ground combat operations in Iraq engaging in direct and indirect fire fights with the enemy on February 17, 1991.

The subsequent ground campaign in Iraq consisted of three or possibly four of the largest tank battles in American military history. Some consider the Battle of Medina Ridge the largest tank battle of the war. Other sources consider the Battle of Norfolk the largest tank battle of the war and the second largest tank battle in American history. The tank battle at 73 Easting is also considered among the largest tank battles in history. The US Marine Corps fought the biggest tank battle in its history at the Kuwait International Airport.

One hundred hours after the ground campaign started, President Bush declared a ceasefire, and he also declared that Kuwait had been liberated. By the end of the ground campaign and combat operations on February 28, 1991, U.S. VII Corps (the primary combat formation of the coalition forces) had driven 260 kilometers, captured 22,000 Iraqi soldiers, and destroyed 1,350 Iraqi tanks, 1,224 armored personnel carriers, 285 artillery pieces, 105 air defense systems, and 1,229 trucks.

The primary combat vehicles of the American divisions were the M1A1 Abrams tank and the Bradley Fighting Vehicle. The primary American artillery system was the self-propelled M109 howitzer. The primary American attack helicopter was the Boeing AH-64 Apache (Army) with the Bell AH-1 Cobra (Army and Marine Corp) also being in theatre. The USAF A-10 Thunderbolt II (commonly referred to as the “Warthog”) ground attack aircraft would distinguish itself during the Gulf War, inflicting significant damage on Iraqi ground forces. USAF A-10 “Warthog” crews would destroy 900 Iraqi tanks, 2,000 other military vehicles and 1,200 artillery pieces during combat operations.

By the end of combat operations, US Forces had suffered a total of 148 battle-related deaths (35 to friendly fire). A further 145 Americans died in non-combat accidents. The largest single loss of life among coalition forces happened on February 25, 1991, when an Iraqi Al Hussein missile hit a US military barracks in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, killing 28 US Army Reservists from Pennsylvania.

The US service members lost during Operation Desert Storm are engraved on the Middle East Conflicts Wall in Marseilles, Illinois.

Don’t let them die a second death, say their names, say them out loud. Never forget!

This is why we ride!


Don’t forget to get registered! By the time you read this newsletter, the registration fee will have increased. Don’t procrastinate, now is your time to register for the SandBox Route!

Click here to go to the RFTW Registration Page.

Current SandBox Route Status

The SandBox Route Leadership team continues working out final changes to the 2023 itinerary. There will be some minor changes, but that’s the case with all 4 Routes. The hotel list has been published since early January and can be found here:

Click here to be redirected to the most current SandBox Route Hotel List.


SandBox Leadership

The new Missing Man Coordinator for SandBox Route this year is Ray “Cornman” Cornmesser. Ray is currently soliciting volunteers to ride in the Missing Man formation. If you are interested in riding a leg of the SandBox Route as a member of the Missing Man formation, please reach out to Ray directly ( and discuss the opportunity with him!


The SandBox fundraiser and 50/50 rouser is Lynette “Sleepy” Handleson. Lynette has already started one of the SandBox’s fundraising initiatives by selling raffle tickets to a Knife/Sheath set donated by a SandBox rider and participant from Philips Blades.

It has a 5″ antler handle, with a 7″ Damascus Steel Blade. Plus it comes with a Leather Sheath. We will draw for the Knife in Ontario at 4pm on Tuesday, May16th at the host hotel. You do not need to be present to win. Tickets will be: 1 – $10.00; 2- $20.00; or 3- $25.00.

You can enter by the following ways:

Cash App – $LynetteHandleson

Paypal –

Check – made out to RFTW SANDBOX, sent to Lynette Handleson P.O. Box 1624, Springtown, TX 76082

Please identify SandBox Knife in the subject line.

We will have more items coming soon! Be sure to share this with all your friends and family as it is available for everyone to participate in. All funds go directly to RFTW SandBox Route in support of our mission.

Click here to visit the FaceBook page for this fundraiser.

Also, you can click here to see more of the amazing work by Philips Blades.


The SandBox Route has had an excellent turnout of volunteers for leadership positions, and I want to thank each one of you who has already volunteered. Although many of our positions have already been filled, please don’t let that stop you from submitting a volunteer request form. We are working to compile a list of stand-by volunteers to be able to call upon should the need arise!

If you have questions about any specific team, please reach out to those Team Leaders to get additional information on that team.

Click here to go to the Volunteer Sign-Up webpage.

And remember, “Nothing Great is ever accomplished alone!” Let’s work together to make the SandBox Route great! Together we will Continue the Mission safely and successfully!

Ride safe!

If you or someone you know find themselves struggling with their mental health, please know you can contact the VA Veteran’s Crisis Line by dialing 988 then press 1 or text 838255 and speak or chat with a qualified responder.

Darin “Lurch” Koch

SandBox Route Coordinator

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