31 JANUARY 2019
Greetings from Fort Worth, TEXAS!
…currently one of the few places in the U.S. not suffering from global warming, er, I mean the Polar Vortex FREEZE! My coldest ride ever was 22°F for the Big Texas Toy Run several years ago. I’m sure many of you will easily have that beat! Let us know in a reply – Who’s the toughest Polar Bear on the road? Just be safe out there family! Warmer riding days are coming, and I look forward to sharing them with you on the Run in May.
SR RC Welcome Video
The long-awaited Southern Route RC Welcome Video is almost complete and should be published very soon. Big thanks to my Daughter Cara “Bug” (FNG 2017) for being my Director/Videographer and to Gunny for providing some RFTW 1989 Interview footage. I believe we should all occasionally look back to where we started as a heading check towards where we’re going. I hope you’ll all enjoy watching.
50/50 & Raffle Rouser
There are two very important jobs still open on the Southern Route… We need a 50/50 Rouser and a Raffle Rouser – yes, I’d prefer two volunteers so that each can focus on one of the tasks. We’ll have some very impressive items for the Raffle this year and the 50/50 drawing every morning on the Run is always an exciting way to start the day. If you’d like to be a part of the fundraising process and get more involved in the workings of the Run, this may be the step you’re looking for. Besides, it’s a great way to meet EVERYONE on the Southern Route!
We’ve been working hard to tweak the Itinerary to take advantage of some of the great comments received on the After Action Reports this summer. BIG THANKS to our Road Guard Captain for coordinating and confirming the entire route and to our ARC for participating in the detailed review sessions. It’s not just a cut and paste from last year – we plan ahead for known upcoming highway construction and for changes in our fuel stops – we’ve had a few Gas Stations close or that will be under construction! The Itinerary book goes to press at the end of March and will be released in digital form as soon as it does. I can tell you that for general planning purposes, the basic route, lunch stops and daily destinations are very much like last year’s plan.
Phone Calls & Texts
As we get closer to May, things start moving faster in the planning world. With so many FNG’s (Welcome Home!) coming out for the Run this year there are bound to be questions. Most all critical info and a lot of good gouge and planning info are available on the rftw.us website. But I do get the occasional call or text asking some basic questions, because as hard as we try, someone will think of something we didn’t cover. So, if you urgently need a piece of info that is nowhere to be found, your ARC and I are here to help. Just introduce yourself and ask away – I don’t have everyone’s phone number in my contact list – yet!
Track the Pack during the Run
Last year, we were fortunate to have the use of Scout GPS Trackers (findmyscout.com) to help us keep real time location on the pack. This year, we’ll be working with the good folks at Scout again and will be equipped with their latest updated systems. There will be a link on the rftw.us website that may be used to find where the pack is at any point along the Run. We hope this is especially useful for our supporters along the roads and bridges as well as for our advance teams as we approach fueling stops and staging areas. Look for the link on the website as we get closer to May and plan to use it!
So, the Vietnam War ended almost 44 years ago – at least according to our government – the Korean War ended (sort of) almost 66 years ago. So why is it so important that we keep pushing forward to keep this mission alive?
First of all, the termination of hostilities and even the declaration of Armistice ends only the active involvement of national conflict. The “War” is endured in the hearts and minds of those personally involved and I don’t mean only those in service. Everyone who has served in uniform or as a civilian had someone back home that was just as deeply affected. Especially so, if those in service did not return. The focus of our Mission is on people – even a quick glance at the RFTW Mission Statement makes that obvious. When that mission statement is boiled down to its base, we can see that it is borne of one of the oldest creeds of the “Brotherhood of Arms” – LEAVE NO ONE BEHIND. For us, “NO ONE” – includes family and friends.
Secondly, our collective attention to the issue of those left behind is important to help keep the people of our country and of our government aware that we have NOT FORGOTTEN. In an age where it appears most our politicians are more interested in staying in power and opposing people they don’t like, our unbiased attention to the real issues facing our patriotic citizens is more important than ever. I may not agree with how all our RFTW family members feel about political issues, but I will lock arms with all of them to keep the pressure on to bring home the TRUE Patriot who was lost or missing in the service of our great nation.
Finally, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (dpaa.mil) is an office in the Pentagon that is funded by our tax dollars and their mission must be kept in the spotlight! Whether you love them or hate them, the DPAA is a staffed and funded function of our military infrastructure and they are moving forward. From the latest stats published by the DPAA, the numbers of missing are as follows…
________________Missing as of 25JAN2019______Accounted for in 2018_
World War 2: 72,747 160
Korean War: 7,671 43
Vietnam War: 1,590 11
Gulf War: 5 0
I was encouraged to see that 88 of those recovered from WW2 are from Pearl Harbor – the USS Arizona Memorial Site there is as sacred to a Sailor as the Alamo is to any Texan. It is also worth noting that of the more than 82,000 missing, 75% were lost in the Indo-Pacific region, and over 41,000 of the missing are presumed lost at sea. The bottom line is that we are not just shouting in the wilderness – there is an agency working for us to seek out and recover our missing. We are the watchdogs. We must help keep the focus where it belongs so that the spark of hope can become the warmth of closure for our honored POW/MIA Families.
This is why WE RIDE…
TOGETHER WE can make a difference…
TOGETHER WE RIDE!
Very best regards,
Billie “Bugs” Dunlap
Southern Route Coordinator
Run For The Wall XXXI