Name: Don Pierce “Bullet”
Sort of an FNG, been since 95 since my last Run, so here goes… Russ’s wife asked that I do an after action and try to compare this RFTW to the first one and any suggestions I have/had. So here goes.
RFTW has had the same effect on me over the years, it is cleansing, emotional, fun, dangerous and I have gotten to meet the most incredible people ever. It was the same in 89 as it was this year. So, the Mission has remained the same and I am happy that it has.
I was fortunate enough to be accepted as a Road Guard and we get to see the Run in a far different perspective and I have to tell you that it was ALL GOOD!
You folks have fine tuned this to a well oiled machine stocked and staffed with some incredible people and it shows every step of the way. People like Russ, Gunny, Ross, Spanky(Sparky) Santa and a wealth of others, The Fuel Crew was amazing and vastly under thanked, The Advanced Road Guards performed well and the leaders are fantastic! Talk about fast thinkers, things changing every second and Ross and Sparky took it (sort of) in stride and made things work. Talk about thinking on your feet!!! And they all have it in their heads, the entire route, fuel stops, exits, on ramps and it goes on and on. I listened in awe to them talking about last years problems and how to deal with them this year and it was all off the tops of their heads.
I want to thank Gunny for letting me be a Road Guard and keeping track of me while I learned how you do it now, talk about different! And it worked, over and over and over. He even sprang for the arm bands himself. How fortunate you are to have him.
The state coordinators did amazing things. Come on, an Apache Helicopter!, Navaho Code talkers and dancers?? A Huey?!?! Police escorts? Free Food, Free fuel! These folks all did an amazing job and with little thanks in proportion to the work they did. Wow, You people have it TOGETHER!
The Chaplain’s, amazing and I was very happy to see them there, that is a NO-BRAINER and a major plus to the RUN, I thank them all. The Staging Crews there every stop, putting it all in order until the next stop, flexible Registration people and the Missing Man Coordinator, all important jobs done by great people whose only interest is making it work!
So, differences? In some areas a lot, others none, all of it positive. There was nothing I would have done different and certainly nothing I could have done better.
Change? Only one and only because I have not heard the most recent arguments against it.
I like the NUMBER 1 (Hammer Lane), it’s worked before and worked well despite the Law Enforcement folks not liking it, lots less danger and lets the traffic flow free for passing and for off ramps. Like I said, I have not heard the latest against, but obviously it was visited over and over and found it to be lacking.
What I really liked is the adaptability of all those involved, free thinkers, get it done, not many things carved in granite, changes and decisions made on the fly when needed and made at the level needed, by who was there at the time. And it worked over and over and over.
So, thanks for everything everybody did, water crews, fuel, staging, Road Guards, Chaplains, Platoon Leaders, Tail Gunners, et al. and ad nauseam. Another memorable ride, as usual.