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Day 2 – Flagstaff to Albuquerque

Day 2, Flagstaff to Albuquerque

Woke up early this morning.  Way too early.  Headed over to the meeting location.  At the meeting, I mentioned the activity at Milan and handed out the cards for riders to read with the Milan children.  I passed out all I had and hoped it would go well.  Then Six-String brought more cards and more riders got one.  So we should have been covered when it came time to say the pledge with the children at Milan.  Next Cornman mentioned the collection for Milan Elementary school and the t-shirts being sold to benefit the school (got me one).  He then asked for further contributions and the money started to come in for all services.  I don’t know the total or which branch of service donated the most, but later at the school more than $2600 was donated. Our Ambassador Leader read a bio of an MIA whose remains were reported found, but when this was investigated none were found, a sad moment.  She always concludes “This is why we ride”.  She’s right.  Remember Parry Hopper, owner of the shovel that was used to break ground on the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial?  She was at our meeting this morning.  So cool.  Then we got the usual lesson on hand signals by our road guards.  I don’t know why they demonstrate them every day.  They obviously don’t use hand signals that are specifically for use in platoons and they usually mess up a signal to two anyway.  It’s no wonder one platoon in our group was confused which hand signal to use for staggered formation.  Oh well, like a friend of mine always says “it is what it is”.  Immediately after being released for our platoon meetings, the 5-minute horn sounded. At my platoon meeting, about all I had time to tell everyone was follow the person in front of you.

We headed out of Flagstaff on time and the further we headed east the warmer it got.  At our fuel stop in Holbrook, everyone was either running inside or shedding gear depending on the severity of circumstances.  Someone had graciously provided Danish muffins for Run For The Wall members inside.  I had a couple, they were good.  Then I had a couple more.  Thanks to whoever provided them.  We then left for our next fuel stop which was determined to be a “fuel & go” style stop.  We were not supposed to leave our motorcycles, but the hydration truck was set up for our convenience and some like me took advantage of it anyway.  We’re always told to hydrate and take advantage of the hydration truck, right?  So that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.  I went over to the hydration truck and got a fruit drink.  Those are so good.  I love the green ones.  A lady there looked at my vest and pointed at one of my pins and asked where I got it.  I told her I got it a long time ago and didn’t remember.  Later I saw folks from M25 huddled around this kind woman offering a prayer for her.  She was crying over some emotional event I didn’t learn of.  Anyway, I went up to her took the pin off my vest and pinned it to her blouse and she really started crying.  She said something about an angel, I didn’t hear.  A few of the M25 folks thanked me and shook my hand and left me wondering what I had done.  I’m used to giving people stuff off my vest.  Sometimes children point things out and I give whatever it is to them.  They think it’s some type of treasure and it’s really just a trinket.  I like making people happy is all it is.

At Milan, I grabbed my camera, my pins and my poker chips and headed toward the children.  After handing out nearly everything to the children outside, a rider asked me if I knew where the Chaplains Corp was.  I said I didn’t know and asked what the problem was.  She said there was a man on a trike that was having trouble.  So I went over to him.  I recognized him.  He’s a good friend of mine.  His wife was there with a couple others.  After determining his blood glucose level was low, I ran for some Gatorade and had him drink some.  Medics from inside the came out and checked him out further.  An ambulance came by but it was determined it was unnecessary.  We were told he needed to eat some food and rest inside out of the heat and after helping him inside he soon felt better.  Meanwhile I missed the Pledge of Allegiance with the children.  I really wanted to be there when we recited the three pledges with them.  I’m sure it went great and that the children were impressed.  I did finally get inside with them and took some pictures of the event.  I got some great shots of our riders eating in the cafeteria after that.

Next we headed to the casino for fuel (again sponsored) and then lined up to be escorted into Albuquerque.  If you have not witnessed this event, you have missed one of the wonders of the world.  It’s truly amazing.  What a blessing all the motor officers are as they help us enter the city completely by ourselves right into the Harley Shop that sponsors our evening meal completely unmolested by a single vehicle.  Burgers and dogs and all the fixings.  There was so much smoke from the grill, you would think the fire department would have been alerted, but no.  There was a long line, but it went fairly quickly. There was a great band playing as well.  Lots of favorites.  Good times.

About time for me to go, I mounted my bike and proceeded to carefully maneuver out of my confined space only to drop my brand new Ultra Limited 115th Anniversary bike right there in the parking lot.  I’m sure everyone saw it.  Were you laughing?  Well, I’ll bet it was funny and I’m sure you were thinking you were happy that was not you.  Some folks standing close quickly came to my assistance and helped my get it up right.  I drove away embarrassed.  Oh well.  The meal was great, the music was great, the company was great.  No sense letting a small thing like that ruin my evening.  Anyone get a picture?

“We Ride For Those That Can’t”

Tom “Twotone” Lystrup – Platoon 5 Leader / Midway Route SitRep Writer

I’d appreciate your comments.  For those that have emailed me their comments, my thanks and my love to you all.


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Day 2, Williams to Gallup NM, May 17, 2018

Day 2, Williams to Gallup

I think we left Ontario with about 450 people registered and about 350 bikes total. It sure seems like there are more in the RUN. Each group such as Fuel Team may have 20 to 30 bikes each and when each team is added up there are sometimes nearly as many bikes in total in the groups as ther are in the main body of the RUN. There are several good things about the many different teams. Many different teams provide opportunity for many people to be involved in their area of expertise and the entire group functions better because of the many parts. (There is a spiritual truth there isn’t there)

We left Williams and headed toward Holbrook. The weather was great and has been that way the last two days. Being the spoiled rider that I am with this job I have, I am able to move outside the group when necessary and today was one of those days. I wanted to get ahead of the main group and go to one of the overpasses and greet and talk to some factory workers who work at a nearby coal fired electrical plant. I was invited to go along with the Ambassador, which was a renewed treat for me. It was good to honor the workers, salt of the earth people for sure, and to share just a little with them and leave some pins. America was built by hard working people like these men and women and it was good just to be there.

Next we headed to Holbrook NM. It is a special place for several reasons. One, the people are so genuine and the kids at the schools are terrific. I will show several  pictures that will explain better than my words so enjoy.

The last stop is Gallup NM. We were greeted for over 8 miles of dear people along the sides of the road that were waving flags and cheering for our men and women. We were also escorted into town by NM State motorcyclist and we will also have them for all day tomorrow. They really move quickly when they need to and me thinks it is somewhat of a game for them.

Gallup, NM. is a favorite for many of the riders because of the Navajo Nation’s presentation for us. The program was put on by the Black Creek Gourd Society. The Navajos believe the warrior is the top of the ladder in their world. In English warriors translates to soldiers and the Navajos show and incredible respect for the Veterans on the Run For The Wall. At one part of the program they ask the riders to join them. It is quite a site to see 200 bikers in leathers doing their dance. Comical maybe but oh so very sincere. They show us a level of respect that few people understand. I dare say if you were not there we could not explain it. They are very serious about the concept of our soldiers and their warriors are one. (Last paragraph by Dan Koster)

I wanted to get some new pictures of the school kids and of our entry into Church Rock but circumstances do not allow so I am posting two from last year but they show what I intended to capture today, just a year old.

Okay folks, thanks for watching and or reading. I am now going to get some needed sleep. I truly appreciate your interest in these and if you have any questions you can email me at

Until next time, ride safely and may God richly bless you all.




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Day 2 – Chandler AZ – Las Cruces NM ☀️Hot & Windy💨

A great day to be alive and a beautiful day to ride!

The day began, sunny and warm, a nice 70 degrees. Our first stop was in Marana, AZ. We gassed up at the Circle K and swung around to stage in the parking lot of a little bar. We were thrilled that the parking lot was paved this year and we didn’t have to deal with gravel. It’s the little things in life. We did need to use kickstand pads as the black top is so soft the bikes sink. Gotta love Arizona ☀.

Marana, AZ might be a small town out in the Arizona desert, but they have big hearts! The gas stop was donated by DVMA 3212, VFW Post 5990 Auxiliary, breakfast was donated by Mike Kemery and Maricopa VFW. Wow! a big Thank you from RFTW – Southern Route!

Gunny was in Marana and we got a peek at his new FNG Patch that was presented to him yesterday. Gunny and I discussed the other 15 original ATW riders. Looking forward to seeing Cowboy in Odessa, that leaves 13 missing riders. Perhaps someone will seek them out… hint, hint.

Before we knew it, it was time to hit the road. We crossed into New Mexico at 1:40 and crossed the Continental Divide at 2:40. That’s always fun. Next stop, Wilcox Arizona.

Wilcox is another small town in Arizona with a big patriotic heart! The kids come out with posters and flags welcoming the riders. The Elks lodge hosts our lunch. The VFW performed a flag ceremony. So much happened in such a short amount of time, I didn’t get the names of everyone involved in the program. The Wilcox PD lead riders in and out of town.

Upon leaving Wilcox we experienced a 100+ mile leg, 100 degree weather and 100 mile per hour winds. It was a fabulous day, because, it wasn’t raining!

I have a question for local New Mexico residents. There are signs posted telling travelers what to do in a dust storm:

1. Get off the road.
2. Stay buckled up.
3. Turn lights off
4. Take foot off the break.

What the heck is that? Seeing all the signs and the fierce wind, I wondered what we would do on motorcycles if we experienced such a dust storm.

The day ended at Barnett’s Harley Davidson Shop. They do such a good job hosting the riders of the Southern Route every year. One of the favorite high lights is the ginormous flag flying from the Fire Engine. Thank you Barnett’s for hosting us year after year.

I just have to give a shout out to my most wonderful husband. He gassed up my bike tonight so I could start working on the sit-rep. It’s a good man that will gas up your bike after a long day of riding. Thank you honey! (he never reads this, but what the heck)

We’ll end tonight with this thought:


For as long as we have Wars
And we send our Young to fight
We’ll have Those who are Missing
And the POWs plight.
All People of this Nation
Have this Duty to fulfill.
We must keep Them in our thoughts
And, We must have the Will
To bring every One home
And do all we can to find
All those POW/MIAs
And leave NO Souls behind.

Good night and God Speed

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RFTW Central Route, Day 1, Ontario to Williams

Day One. Ontario to Williams:

This is the day we have been waiting for over 355 days since last year and it is finally here. So many, many preparations have been made, thousands of bikes have been repaired and readied to go and thousands of riders are at the ready. The air is filled with excitement and every rider wishing the best for each other and charging them to ride “safe”, a caution said many times but certainly needs to be repeated. This is a very special day for all the riders. All without exception have looked forward to this day great expectations. Some maybe with some fear of what the ride will bring out in them while others have great excitement about the day and week ahead. It is one of those things that you have to experience to really appreciate.  I will attach some pictures of the departure.

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Some of the riders ready to leave Ontario.

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A short video of Central leaving Ontario

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One of those RUN treasures I found sitting in a chair by the refreshment area. Many of his long-time friends walked by and greeted him with warm affection and hugs and hand-shakes, it was a blessing to see how they treated him. I did not know who he was although I have heard his name in the past and it was usually used with respect. His name is Bill (No Chute) Hanlon. Yep, you guessed how he got his name. He went out of a helicopter about 100 feet above the forest canopy and the canopy helped break his fall. Anyway he survived and lived a productive life and is no 74+-.  I guess they made them tougher back then. He is a lifetime member of the SAL, Sons of the Legion. His health seems to be failing him and I asked him what mattered to him in his life now. His words to me were “it is important to me that everyone gets out safely today and have a safe trip.. He also shared with me that it is important to him to give back and he is very proud to be a brother and a Vietnam Vet.

This was a fast day, about 402 miles through some open desert land with mesquite shrub that spread out for many miles. Just a side note, the signs along the way in the desert were interesting to me. Here we are, riding along in this somewhat desolate land and I kept seeing signs like “Big Sandy Wash” which gets me to thinking that if Sandy is that big, why can’t she wash herself. Another one read “Rattlesnake Wash”. Wow, I can’t imagine why anyone would want to wash a snake and certainly not a rattle snake. Maybe it was the heat, but it just seems a little funny or strange to me and of course we all know that a wash is a place where the water runs fast when it pours down rain, so, maybe, possibly, I was just seeing things a little different from all the heat or in desperate need of some “humor” at the moment.

Okay back to the real stuff. The ride from Barstow was uneventful and as we headed towards Needles the temperature began to climb. It was 107 when we arrived in Needles. If you are wearing much gear, 100 degrees is pretty hot and you would need to stay hydrated for sure. I am glad we could get to cooler temps as we climbed towards Williams. The country we traveled through does have its own kind of beauty and though it may seem useless and desolate it does have much value to some who live there.

The ]dear people at Williams and Needles always put on a great feast for us and they all raise their own money and provide all the food for all the riders. This is no small task and it is expensive. Legion Post #13 in Williams was one of the first outposts of the American Legion and they have been serving the RFTW for 17 years. The 30 people who work with Roger Ely prepare about 200 lbs. of pork, 150 pounds of beef and yes all the fixins and yes those wonderful deserts. Thanks so much to all of you who go the extra mile to make it great for us.

At the William’s Legion meeting place we did our best to honor Gold Star Mom, Dotty Morris who lost her brother in the Vietnam war. Her brother Michael Andrew Miller was killed in action on his 24th birthday when his plane crashed. Thank you Dotty for sharing with us and we are sorry for your loss. No picture available.

We also met Katharine, standing next to me, she is the daughter of a WW2 Vet and her mother is beside her.

Hope you are making sense of these posts and remember to say a prayer for all of us as we travel across this great land. If you have never been able to go on the RUN with us and are reading from your home or business, it may be harder to experience what we see as we ride. We see people along the roads, in the towns and on the overpasses who are there to genuinely thank the Vets and riders for their service. As I have observed the interaction for many years now, I have come to the conclusion that we really need each other. When you come out to see us on, you encourage us more than you might know and we so appreciate the many things you do for us. I believe also that it provides for you who come out to support, a place or point of contact that makes the service of men and women in the military and yes those alongside them, more real and you leave with a greater sense of belonging and purpose. So thanks for being at the overpasses and the towns and the roads we travel. YOU make it worthwhile. Thanks

Roger (Pops) Hageman

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2018 Central Route SitRep – Day 0 – Ontario, CA

Hi Everyone, we are back for another great, fun filled year on Run For The Wall trip. Similar to last year, I will be posting daily at this location and I hope you will find it interesting. I will not be reporting on the daily schedule as much as I will be writing about some of the events and people that help make this RUN, the “Greatest Run In America”. That may sound boastful but if you stop to think of all that takes place on this RUN, you may change your mind. When you consider the tens of thousands of people across America who buy and prepare the daily food, who do rallies to purchase and pump the gas, the many who line the streets to cheer their support, the national and local leadership who do all their service for free, all the work to set up and tear down each event, the many hours of the traffic and road guard people. Then consider all the healing that takes place in the lives of the participants. We have countless stories of men and women who have found healing for emotions, help and encouragement in their lives because of what this RUN does. Needless to say, I am a fan and I have been on this RUN for 11 years being a platoon leader, ambassador and Sit report writer. So if you are home and reading this, make plans to be with us this or next year and come be a part of something bigger than yourself and be a blessing to many!

If you want to keep track of the RUN and its progress go to the web page, scroll down and click on where it says to keep track of the RUN. C1 will be Harlan in the lead and C2 will be the tail end of the RUN. it is always on when they are moving so have fun and keep up with us.

The first day there are many meetings,  as all of the RUN information needs to be communicated in a short time and that is done through bulletins, emails and meetings. Through leadership, FNG (Funny New Guy) meetings, and then each platoon leader will meet with their riders and sort out the many questions that riders will have. There are also the fuel guys, the road guards, the ambassadors, Chaplains, chase vehicles, missing man, and etc.

One of the special leaders for the RUN is a guy better known by his road name, “Bullet” (Don Pierce)  He is one of a kind that is always there in the middle of the action and always there when needed. He is one of a few “89ers” group that help start the RUN in 1989. He now serves as “Law Enforcement Liaison” for the RUN and has served in several other capacities over the years, such as platoon leader (although there were no platoons then). Some of his early memories of the RUN were when a Kansas trooper headed all the riders off onto an off ramp and had them circle around to and open field by Colby Kansas where they had a meal prepared and people waiting to serve them. They were unaware of this event until it happened and were really touched by the caring people. Bullet says that was the first time anyone was told “Welcome Home” and it is now an often heard sentiment on the RUN. Another memory he has was a semi tanker fuel ruck had pulled into a field and was ready to fuel the RUN’s many bikes but the fuel man was disappointed when they only had about 30 bikes. Oh for the good ole days huh, actually we have many, many people who step up and help us with our fuel costs, may God richly bless them! Although Bullet helps many to get to the Wall, he still finds it difficult himself to make it to the Wall. He has over 70 buddies whose names  are on that wall and it is an emotional event when he does go. Bullet has the best attitude about all of it as he says, “he tries to look forward as he can’t change the past but he can build a better future”. Bullet you are a great example to us all and thank you for being there for all of us!!! We are very thankful for you and for what you do for all of us.

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Don (Bullet) Pierce

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When I hang around the entrances to the hotel I run into many special long time RFTW riders. One of those was Jim (Scout) Hoffman. He road on the RUN for 15 years starting in 1999. He road a FJR Yamaha. I remember Scout, he was always where he was needed and he moved pretty fast on that bike. He was and is a treasure that the RUN has had for many years. Jim told me that he kept coming back because he wanted to give back and he liked the camaraderie and the friendships that he developed over the years and I would add to that, I know the RUN really appreciated his expertise on the road guard team.


Part of my work or duties on the RUN are being part of the Outreach Team. Our job on that team is to stop and honor any Gold Star parents that are located along our route. So, one of those parents we talked with today is Deana Howard age 50, and she lost her son 20 year old  Mark Howard on 4/28/12. He was Army  Airborne. PFC. Mark was the kind of guy that liked to make people laugh and he loved learning new things and he had wisdom beyond his years. Deana now works 120 to 140 hours to make ends meet and she takes care of other children. When talking to Deana, we all could see that she is a hard working lady who is determined to better herself and family and she has put the RFTW on her bucket list for maybe next year. Deana, we would very much like to have you on the RUN next year.

Ok, that is it for today and I am already behind but figured you would like the early bonus.

Roger (Pops) Hageman, make it a good day tomorrow!

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Day 1, Ontario CA to Flagstaff AZ

President Williams (Les) comes up to me at our fuel stop in Williams, AZ of all places and says’ “look Tom, Morse Code” as he flips the sun visor in his helmet up and down in a familiar pattern.  So I said, “Looks like SOS” and he said, “That’s what it is”.  I laughed.  Maybe I should have asked him if he needed help or if I could get one of our Chaplain Corp for him.  Just trying to be funny here.

What a day this has been.  It started as most of our missions have.  A very thoughtful, sincere prayer by our Chaplain asking for blessings for our safety and giving thanks for all we receive, then The Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem signed again by Alisa and Ashley.  They have been doing this for six years I think.  During the anthem I could hear members of the crowd singing softly.  I had a sort of warm feeling in my heart and I started to sing.  I hope no one was listening to me.  Then a Missing Man flyover and a second pass.  So cool.  Thanks to whoever arranged that (I think I know).  Gunny Gregory was asked to come forward.  He was awarded something he had never before received, an FNG pin.  We all laughed.  With some final words from Les, Run For The Wall XXX (30) was about to begin.

We got outta Ontario without a hitch.  Piece of cake really.  Can’t say that for previous years.  Great idea whoever thought of having the mandatory meeting the previous night.  Let’s do that again next year.

We all arrived in Flagstaff safely. Our fuel was sponsored at all our fuel stops.  No out of pocket expense.   We have some very generous folks that care about us riders.  We were in and out of Ludlow in 20 minutes or less.  We crossed over into Arizona and had a few extra minutes at the Lake Havasu stop.  There I saw my high school friend and his misses.  They have come by to see me there for 5 years now.  The hydration truck was available here.  I think the M25 organization donates all the products from this truck.  An awesome blessing they are to each of us.  We are so appreciative of their offering, their support, and their time.  Heading into Kingman, the Kingman Police Department got involved for the first time.  They escorted us and blocked traffic to our next fuel stop (also donated).  Who are these people that have so much money? I know it must cost about three grand (rough guess) per fuel stop.   Then to our lunch stop outside the Mother Road Harley Davidson shop. A large circus tent was set up and burgers were being served to a long line of hungry riders; homemade cookies also.  Bandit presented many organizations and people with the usual plaques.  There was Rachel “Queen Bee” our Arizona State Coordinator, Elks Lodge 468, Kingman PD, Mother Road Harley Davidson, the City of Kingman, Eagle Riders, American Legion Riders, (I’m forgetting someone I’m sure) and there were several certificates handed out to many folks that donated or volunteered their support.  Then the “Music Man” gave his rendition of Good morning Vietnam”.  So funny.

We departed our lunch stop and found we had no police escort.  It wasn’t quite the easy transition back onto the “slab” as we call it.   Someone said over the CB “maybe we should have only given them half a plaque”.  I thought that was funny.

Near Flagstaff, we were escorted by the Flagstaff Police Department right to the VFW.  We passed many citizens lining the streets with waving flags welcoming us to Flagstaff.  Inside the VFW, the Boy Scouts served us Sloppy Joes.  Glenn Waggoner handed out awards to organizations that helped us out and most everyone soon departed.  One of our Road Guards Mark Masman, came to our table with a shovel.  He explained that this shovel had been used to break ground on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.  Our eyes bulged.  He said the lady that owned it was out back.  Her name is Patty Hopper.  Her husband was a member of the group that helped break ground for the memorial and they bought the shovel for $10.  We had to get some pics. Me with Patty and my APL Buck Guest



Tomorrow comes early and it will be cold.  Hope everyone has some warm gear.  I’ve got my electric jacket and glove liners, but not much more than that.  I’m thinking it will be warm soon after we get out of Flagstaff.

Remember tomorrow we will be going to Milan Elementary School. Here’s the pledge again.  I’ll have some copies to handout in the morning.

New Mexico Pledge –

“I salute the flag of the State of New Mexico and the Zia symbol of perfect friendship among united cultures”

Milan Elementary School Pledge –

“I pledge to be a person of character;

to help others when they need it;

to treat others the way I want to be treated;

to be caring, respectful, responsible;

be a good citizen;

be fair and trustworthy.

I count!  You count!”


“We Ride For Those That Can’t”

Tom “Twotone” Lystrup – Platoon 5 Leader / Midway Route SitRep Writer

I’d appreciate your comments.  For those that have emailed me their comments, my thanks and my love to you all.


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Day 1, Ontario CA – Chandler AZ, 50 mile detour

It was a beautiful morning to kick off the XXX Run for the Wall.
3 Routes – 1 Mission

To quote Board of Director President, Les Williams, “This is a mission, not a joy ride. We are here for our brothers & sisters. The rider’s meeting began with the usual, prayer, pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and The National Anthem.

As the National Anthem began a quiet hush fell over the crowd. Slowly and gently, voices could be heard joining in. The voices swelled in one united chorus. Brought chills to my bones and made me that much prouder to be an American 🇺🇸.

The Flag ceremony was performed by the 2nd Battalion, 23rd Marines. Les dismissed them immediately so they could spend time with their families, as they are being deployed soon. May God Bless them and keep them. 🙏🏻

James Gregory “Gunny” was then presented with the one thing he’s never been awarded, an FNG patch. Hahaha! Les, dismissed the group with these words, “We will meet again in Washington D.C.” Amen! And we were off!

The Southern Route made it to their first stop, 92 miles, a little ahead of schedule. Wookie shared the story of Specialist Elliott Crook, assigned to Company A, 101st Aviation Battalion, 101st Airborne Division: “The Screaming Eagles”

On May 16, 1971 Spc Crook was the crew chief of a UH1H helicopter. Other crew members: Lt. Joseph P. Nolan, pilot; W1 Craig L. Farlow, aircraft commander, and SP4 Timothy J. Jacobsen, door gunner. The helicopter was the 7th to land on the LZ. On departing the LZ, pilots of 5th & 6th helicopters reported taking enemy fire. LT. Nolan reported that he was taking heavy ground fire, that his crew chief was wounded. Lt. Nolan immediately took off and at 250 feet, witnesses saw his aircraft rapidly lose roter RPM and crash into the tree tops, bursting into flames. No survivors were seen to exit the aircraft. The crew is missing in action.


“Man doesn’t die as long as he is remembered” WE REMEMBER!

We left Coachella ahead of schedule for the 92 mile ride to Blythe. Four miles in, we left California and entered Arizona. We also crossed the Colorado River. The ride was beautiful, saguaro Cacti on either side of the road. The cacti have new growth right now. The tops of the cactus look like they are growing hair. The ride was a little hot, my temperature gauge pegged at 120, but it’s a dry heat 🤪.

Blythe rolled out the red carpet. The Blythe JROTC conducted a beautiful remembrance ceremony.

I ate lunch with an MIA son, Joe Stuart, he is an FNG rider. I have his Father’s biography and will share it another day. We are honored to have Joe riding with us. We love you Joe and are glad you decided to join us.

Pulled out of Blythe, again ahead of schedule. Bee lined it for the Tonopah – Shell Station. Once in Tonapah, we learned there was a problem on the I10 and Arizona State Troopers would be escorting us on the detour. WELL, little did we know it was a 50 MILE DETOUR! Through the Sanora Desert National Monument Park, beautiful detour. The route was supposed to be 68 miles, it ended up being 114 miles. I was beginning to wonder if anyone at the front new where the heck the Chandler Harley Davidson was located.We finally arrived, enjoyed cheeseburgers and mac & cheese, called it a night and went to the host hotel.

I’ll end with today’s quote in the Southern Route itinerary. “My responsibility, our responsibility as lucky Americans, is to try to give back to this country as much as it ha given us, as we continue our American journey together.” GEN Colin Powell.

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2018 Day 0 – Ontario

There was a lot happening today. Today is the ride into Riverside National Cemetery (RNC).  There was also supposed to be a presentation by Warrior Pointe to Run For The Wall, but I missed that and didn’t receive any info on how that went.  The meeting for the ride into RNC started at 0830.  All the bikes were lined up along the road ready to head out when time. We had the Pledge of Allegiance which was signed by Alisa and Ashley.  We had nice prayer by Gwyn Frost and all FNGs were welcomed.  Jim “The Mayor” Frost described the ride into RNC and gave us some tips about riding together safely.   Ontario police led the way and we bid them farewell at I-60 heading for RNC.  Traffic was a small issue but not bad and most drivers avoided riders by giving us plenty of room and right-of-way.  We arrived safely and rode through RNC to park near the POW/MIA Memorial.

Jim Frost arranged for several speakers to tell their stories about how conflict has affected their lives.  Peter Young, director of RNC Facilities discussed some of the details of the cemetery.  There are over 300,000 veterans deterred there.  They average 35 burials per day.  They are the busiest National Cemetery in the nation and will soon be the largest National Cemetery in the nation. Several speakers told stories of family members that were left behind as POWs and never returned. Our government has in large part, turned their back and forgotten them.  Part of our responsibility as Run For The Wall members is to bring awareness to the public and demand government accountability for our POWs and MIAs.

The POW/MIA Memorial was designed and created by Lee Millet Jr. Here’s some info about the memorial.  “The Prisoner of War/Missing in Action National Memorial was designated as a national memorial by the U.S. Congress in 2004 through Public Law 108-454. The memorial was dedicated on September 16, 2005. Vietnam veteran Lewis Lee Millett, Jr., sculpted the bronze statue which depicts an American serviceman on his knees with hands bound by his captors. The statue is surrounded by black marble pillars that evoke imprisonment.”

Lee spoke about current POWs condition and how the government has done relatively nothing to determine their status and bring them home. We were moved by the all the talks about POWs left behind.

The Mayor did a great job pulling this mission to RNC together. Run For The Wall is all about getting accountability for all our POWs and MIAs.  James “Gunny” Gregory and Bill Evans began RFTW in 1989 as a mission to bring awareness to the public and the government about our POWs that never returned and still need to be.  We will continue to apply pressure to that effect as long as it takes.

In the afternoon, we were all asked to assemble in the parking lot adjacent to the host hotel for a mandatory meeting.  The First Marine Band played several familiar songs and marches with precision and finesse.  Beautiful stuff.  President Williams spoke to the group as well as each of the Route Coordinators.  There were several plaques presented and then Hard Charger presented the Combat Veteran Bike build.  Sgt Dylan Gray was more than grateful for the amazing new bike he received and he got right on and rode it around the parking lot like he was born to do just that.  What an amazing act of kindness was presented to this combat veteran.  A mode of transportation custom built to match his abilities to operate the bike, unbelievable.  Those responsible for providing this custom motorcycle to Sgt Gray deserve all the applause and kudos they received at the least.

Later all were briefed by our Road Guard Captain Ken Dugas “Six String”.  He told us all what to expect the next day and along the ride.  He went over signals, safety and most every aspect of our trip to Flagstaff, AZ tomorrow.  Following Six String’s brief and a session of questions and answers, all were released to be briefed by their Platoon Leaders.  With all this out of the way, tomorrow should be easier to get on the road together than we did last year.  It begins tomorrow.

“We Ride For Those That Can’t”

Tom “Twotone” Lystrup – Platoon 5 Leader / Midway Route SitRep Writer

I’d appreciate your comments.  For those that have emailed me their comments, my thanks and my love to you all.


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Pre Run Day, -1, Ontario, CA

Southern Route FNG’s Started their 2018 run with an FNG Meeting. Route Coordinator Chad “Slacker” and Assistant Route Coordinator Billie “Bugs” were on hand to answer any questions and lead us on to DC.

We were taught this year’s meeting break out. Here’s how it goes:

Why do we ride? – Response: “For those who can’t”
How do we ride? – Response: “We ride with heart”
Where do we ride? – Response: “All the way”

1st Mission? Response: “Provide Healing”
2nd Mission? Response: “Show Support”
3rd Mission? Response: “Call for an accounting”
What does that mean? – Response: “Bring them home”!

At the conclusion of the FNG meeting a MANDATORY, All routes all riders meeting was held in the staging parking lot. The Marine Corps Band from Camp Pendleton played for the riders. Major General Smith from Camp Pendleton addressed the riders.

The Major General and the Marine Corps band were given copies of the book “Run for the Wall – A Journey to the Vietnam Memorial. Les Williams referred to the book as the history and accounting of the run.

Then one of my favorite parts of the pre-run events, the awarding of the Combat Hero Bike Build. This year’s bike went to Dylan Gray.

Time to prepare for tomorrow, hopefully by tomorrow I will figure out how to post photos. The pre-run jitters don’t help with writing Sit-reps😉

Safe riding to all riders on all routes – God Speed you on your journey 🇺🇸🏍

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2018 Day -1 Ontario, CA

An easy day today.   Many more people arriving.  Many more familiar faces to see and hugs to receive.  I started by collecting gear for my platoon leadership and applying numerous decals to strategic locations on my Harley.  Place decals in the wrong place and folks like our Staging Crew will not be happy.  They need to know what platoon you are in and expect to see your platoon number in basically the same place on all bikes.  I hope we all follow directions.

At our Midway Leadership meeting in the afternoon Bandit gave a very warm brief.  He says this is our run.  It’s for all of us.  Bandit wants us all to make it safely to Washington DC.  We as leadership to help our riders be safe and treat them with respect.  We have no idea the “baggage” they carry.  We should be kind in all our conversations with all our riders. Bandit really cares about all those we meet along the way.  Bandit also would like us to honor our hosts at each venue by sticking around for meals provided and the following presentations and not leaving the route to head directly to the hotel.  Very appropriate stuff I think and just what we all need to do.  Bandit mentioned that our State Coordinators do an amazing job arranging all the details regarding venues where we stop.  They deserve our utmost gratitude and respect for the job they do behind the scenes.  It’s a tiring job that takes many hours of their volunteer time and it’s all devoted to the riders on Run For The Wall.  If you meet a State Coordinator make sure to thank them.  Without their effort we could not make this trip.  Thank you to all our State Coordinators.  You are loved.

Bandit told us our Combat Veteran Sargent Dylan Gray (please forgive me if I misspelled his name) was on the way from the airport.  Our Asst Route Coordinator, Glenn Waggoner quickly left to greet him when he arrived.  When Glenn announced Dylan and his lady and escorted them into the conference room we all stood and cheered.  What a privilege I felt to be in the room as Dylan humbly walked to the front and spoke a few words of appreciation and gratitude.  This is why we ride.  We love our veterans and we love our military.

Tomorrow we have several significant events happening.  Check the Pre-run itinerary.  I’ll just mention a couple.

First Jim “The Mayor” Frost is leading the traditional run to Riverside National Cemetery.  Although this event is primarily for FNGs, all are welcome.  I’ll be going there again.  I have spent many hours traveling in escort with the Patriot Guard Riders to RNC.  It is a marvelous place.  It’s a hallowed place.  There is a feeling of peace and tranquility that cannot be felt many other places.  RNC is the busiest National Cemetery in the United States.  Here is a website where you can find more information about RNC.  If you have not been, you need to go.  The riders meeting is at 0830 and the run departs at 0900.  Usually the line begins along the east curb of the hotel.  There will be Law Enforcement Officer escort.

Second, I’d like to mention something our Board Of Director President, Les Williams talked about at our leadership meeting. It’s called Warrior Pointe.  They have a website  It’s worth checking out.  Members from Warrior Pointe will be at the host hotel at 0830 to present a plaque to Run For The Wall for 30 years of riding, honoring and caring for our veterans, military, POWs, MIAs and our KIAs.  If you are not planning to attend the run to RNC, please plan to be there for this presentation.  We need more riders on Run For The Wall.  Veterans like us are not getting any younger.  Les says our hair is not getting any darker, only lighter like his.  I quit cutting my gray hair.  I’m afraid I won’t grow anymore.  Les says that maybe soon we will need to change our logo again to Run For The Walls.  He mentioned that a location across the Reflection Pond from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall is being considered for the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts and that maybe soon there will be an additional Wall to Run to.  What a vision.  I can only imagine how RFTW will multiply attendance if veterans from other conflicts begin to think the Run is for them like it has been for us.  The run if for us all.  All need to know that.

“We Ride For Those That Can’t”

Tom “Twotone” Lystrup – Platoon 5 Leader / Midway Route SitRep Writer

I’d appreciate your comments.  For those that have emailed me their comments, my thanks and my love to you all.