Welcome everyone!! My name is Jean Gault and I will be your Sit Rep report for the Central Route. I come from Loveland Oh and this is my 5th year on the Run. I ride with my husband, Larry. I will try my best to make you feel like you are riding with us.
Let me give you a short summary of our mission:
Mission Statement of RFTW : 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.
Philosophy: We strive to maintain a safe, supportive, and private atmosphere in which all participants can reflect and heal on their journey to the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, DC in the hope that they can return home to a new beginning.
Goals: 1) To guide the participants across America. 2) To educate future generations as to the importance of accountability in wartime actions emphasizing that no one should be left behind.
History (from the RFTW.org website)
Run For The Wall® (RFTW) was started in 1989 by James “Gunny” Gregory and Bill Evans, two Vietnam Veterans who traveled across the heartland of America on motorcycles. They talked to local radio, TV and newspapers about the thousands of men and women still unaccounted for from in all wars. The Run gives Vietnam Veterans and all Veterans the opportunity to receive their own “Welcome Home” and start their healing process. The need for this awareness continues today and we carry on this tradition every May.
We had another beautiful day today!! Lots going on. It is out final day to prep for our departure tomorrow. It was very exciting for me as I have met so many new people. We welcome them to the RFTW family.
there are no issues on the roads. Ex: detours, traffic issues, … even have been know to clear some debris off the road to keep us safe.
the pack and set up for each platoon to be staged
pump when we arrive. They also direct the pack how to get to the pumps
and leaving the pumps
in the towns for coming out and supporting the Run.
and every morning before we leave. Since not everyone can ride 10 days,
many ride only a few day. This team gets them signed up.
run. Usually 1 -2 per state.
coordinator, person representing the missing man, missing man coordinator,
stops……you will see more through the blog.
Jean), any dignitary, …. this changes daily. Could be the mayor, POW… we
never know who will be there leg to leg.
leader, assistant platoon leader and 2 tail gunners. In the middle are
all the participants. There are usually 10-12 platoons
in back of the pack.
This is a very emotional trip for everyone.
will pick up anyone running out of gas (yes this does happen) or break downs.
Blue Star Family – a family with a member currently serving in the Armed Forces of the United States
Gold Star – family member that has died during a Military Operation
I was just walking around and saw a WWII veteran. This is Royce Williams. He served in WWII, Korea and Vietnam.
Ok off to the next meeting. On our way I spot one of the Chase Vehicle trailers. Thought you may like to see how this one is set up. You never want to be on one of these. But last year we ended on one. Thanks goodness these guys were there.
The men here are the Route Coordinators. They have worked all year and put in 1000s of hour to make this happen. Currently there are 3 routes to DC: Central, Midway and Southern. This year there is a fourth, the Sandbox. More on that one in a bit.
For those of you that followed me last year, Shanna was our staging person for the leadership platoon. Since last year, she got married and has had a baby. Her and her husband drove over 3 hours to meet up with her Run family and wish us well. Flo is in the blue hat and will replace her. Flo I hope you are ready to do some jumping around like Shanna do for us to find you. Congrats Shanna.
The day seems to get better and better. After the All Hands meeting, Little Big Mike is all anxious to find me. He introduced me to Tony Cordero (oops forgot to get his pic). He is a Gold Star son. His father was killed in Vietnam. Most of the time, gold star would be given to a wife or mother. But what about the kids of those killed?
Tony, with others, has an organization called “Sons and Daughters in Touch”. Goal Sons and Daughters In Touch is an all-volunteer, national support organization committed to uniting the Gold Star sons and daughters of American servicemen who were killed, or who remain missing, as a result of the Vietnam War. In addition, our membership includes family members and many military veterans who served with our fathers — all dedicated to furthering the mission of SDIT.
About every five years, this organization has a Father’s Day at the Wall. This is to help with the emotions of all family members.
In 2003, 50 of the Vietnam gold star kids along with 20 Vietnam Veteran as chaperons, took a trip to Vietnam. They broke out into groups to visit where their father lost his life. The people in Vietnam were extremely happy to see them and treated them with great respect. For some it was a life changing event and it put some of the demons to bed.
Tony found this medal. It is the Gold Star Pilgrimage Medallion. It was given to Gold Star mothers and wives. If you look closely at it, there is the Statue of Liberty and the Eifel tower with a ship in between. The government at the time would sail the member to Paris. All expenses paid.
If you look a this side, is says “…the world war”. When this was made after WWI, they never dreamed of a second world war. These medals were made by Tiffanys. you need a magnifying glass to see it. It is at 5:00 postion.
Tony has this pin on his shirt. It is a Gold Star pin that is easily worn on a shirt collar.
The WWII veteran made a comment “We need the Vietnam vets to hand of the baton to those in today’s conflicts. We need to continue to fight for our freedom. We need to keep the wall running.”
Those going on this recon mission were all here: platoon leaders, tail gunners,……
With that said, they all started their bikes and revved the engines. Sooo cool to hear that.