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President’s Message March 2023

We have several Run family members that are facing life-changing events; I ask that you keep them in your thoughts and prayers.  Let’s not lose sight of the fact that we are FAMILY. That we care. NO ONE LEFT BEHIND.

RFTW teams are working hard to put the final touches on Run XXXIII.  May is just around the corner, and we are already working on next year.  While we are reaching out to several nationwide hotel chains to see if we can negotiate a room rate across the country for next year, our SCs are scrambling to tie up last minute details for this year’s Run.  Many riders are working on prepping themselves for the Run.  Riding this mission takes a lot out of you and requires attention and pre-ride preparation so one can safely complete the mission.  WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO GET READY FOR MAY???

We are reaching out to other veteran-centric organizations to spread the word about the Run.  We are working diligently to attract riders of all wars and conflicts so that our MISSION and goals continue to resonate across our landscape.  As our rider demographics adjust to the ages of our older warriors, we need to ensure our younger warriors know and understand that we look forward to them joining us and carrying on the MISSION.

February was quite the month.  It seemed like we were facing something new each day.  And it wasn’t only us; nearly everyone I spoke with was experiencing a full spectrum of challenges.  Perseverance, determination, communication, teamwork, focus on the goal – yep it works.  It is a bit like what we face each year on the Run.  Day 1 we’re charged up, ready to face the road, ready to face those challenges that may be lying in wait, heat, rain, snow, tornadoes.  By Day 3, we may be getting a bit weary.  But we work through it.  Our family composition changes as we welcome day-riders nearly every day.  The dynamics of the Run changes, often by the hour.  But we work through it as a team, as a family, to complete the MISSIONNO ONE LEFT BEHIND.

As we worked our way through having to shut down the store, one of our major sources of income; as we worked through not having a merchandise lead for Midway, as we received feedback from deservedly frustrated customers, we on the BoD communicated.  We communicated inside and outside the BoD.  We wanted to communicate the truth and stop rumors.  Rumors are hurtful and do nothing to improve a situation.  They only create and cause tension, and we can all do with less tension.  The BoD is working to communicate across all boundaries.  A decision made in merchandise affects our marketing team. That same decision impacts our finances, so we bring in our treasurer.  We were posting updates on social media, so it affected our communications team.  It most certainly affected our customers, so we communicated with each affected customer individually.  But we did not make these decisions or moves in the dark or without input from our other team members.  When I was assigned to headquarters positions, we often spoke about “vertical columns of excellence”.  We would experience the challenges caused by another directorate or division that affected our area, our AOR (area of responsibility) if you will; issues we were never consulted on or brought in so we could have input.  It caused frustration, delays, and our bosses we sometimes caught off-guard.  Vertical columns of excellence.  Yeah, a team may produce good work in a vacuum, but if they don’t consider the impacts across the spectrum, they become a “vertical column of excellence”.  The RFTW team is committed to avoiding vertical columns of excellence.

Fortunately, our RCs and team leaders understand the need to communicate effectively.  Each RC is conducting planning meetings that involve team leads across their AOR.  The RC depends on each team leader to communicate effectively with their team, and across to other teams.  We are getting down to the wire.  As I write this, my calendar says 79 days to KSU.  I know the RCs are feeling the crunch, the reality of May and all it brings.  Yet they are making the critical decisions RCs must make; they are receiving input from their teams; the team leads are listening to input from leadership and team members across their AOR.  To use an Army term, the route teams are “prepping the battlefield”.  They are making plans to conduct their part of this MISSION, respecting our goals, our mission statement, our priorities.  Run XXXIII is shaping up and it is happening!!!

As we go through the year, there are dates that carry significant meaning to our riders and our MISSION.  March 20th, 2023 (some will say March 19th) is the 20th anniversary of the start of Iraqi Freedom, as the US and coalition forces began the move to oust Saddam Hussein and take down the Iraqi government.  20 years.  March 29th, 2023 is the 48th anniversary of the day the last combat troops left Vietnam.  May 12th – 15th, 2023 is the 48th anniversary of Battle of Koh Tang.  48 years.  Anniversary’s that are 28 years apart, yet both eras impacted RFTW and many of our participants.  Different generations, different circumstances forever linked by commonality of purpose; to answer the call of our country.

RFTW recently partnered with the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War, a special commission dedicated to recognizing the contributions of our Vietnam vets.  In recognition of this commemoration and anniversaries, we are working on something special for our Vietnam Vets this year, and while this year’s ceremony in D.C. occurs while we are prepping to leave Ontario (May 11-13), we believe it important that we partner with this extraordinary event and commission.  To learn more, click here.

On Vietnam Veterans Day, Wednesday, March 29, 2023, Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum will offer free admission for Vietnam Veterans and their immediate families. Museum staff will also welcome each veteran home throughout the day by pinning them with a Department of Defense Vietnam War Veteran lapel pin.  Visit for more information about Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum and its Vietnam Veterans Day events.  Perhaps, if you are close, you might be able to attend.

Before there was “Maverick” there was a real Top Gun.  Capt. Williams came to RFTW Ontario prior to KSU in 2019. Royce helped us with the Naval ceremony honoring the new Sand Box route.  There has been a long-time push to give this man official recognition for his Korean War combat accomplishments. Many thought the Medal of Honor was in the bag for him, but it recently happened that the Navy Cross was ultimately (and officially) awarded.  The MOH needs two witnesses, but by the time the fight began all his wingman were heading back to the ship with mechanical issues. Only one wingman was left to see his heroic efforts.  Read about Capt. Williams heroic actions here:  Former US Pilot Royce Williams receives Navy Cross (


Is it May yet?

TurkeyJohn “Turkey” Staub
President, RFTW, Inc.
2011- CR FNG
2012 – CR Participant
2013 – CR Staging Team
2014 – 2015 – CR Staging Team Ass’t. Lead
2016-2017 – CR Staging Team Lead
2022 – CR Platoon Coordinator
2020 – Present – RFTW BoD member

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