15 Completed Missions
(click a mission below)
Sat 24 Jun 2006
SFC Clarence D. McSwain
Wed 12 Jul 2006
Ft. Campbell, KY
Eagle Remembrance Ceremony
Sat 15 Jul 2006
Pfc Kevin F. Edgin
Sat 26 Aug 2006
LCpl. Adam R. Murray
Sun Oct 15 2006
Capt Robert M. Secher
Mon 16 Oct 2006
Union City, TN
Welcome Home Ride 913th†Engineer Co.
Tue 12 Dec 2006
Sgt. Dustin M. Adkins
Sun 22 Apr 2007
Spc. James T. Lindsey
Sat 28 Apr 2007
LCpl. Jeffrey A. Bishop
Sat 19 May 2007
Sgt. Jason W. Vaughn
Sat 23 Jun 2007
SrA William N. Newman
U.S. Air Force
Fri 20 Jun 2008
SFC Gerard M. Reed
Tue 13 Oct 2009
PFC Brandon A. Owens
Tue 28 Sep 2010
Pfc. Joshua S. Ose
Patriot Guard Website
Other Tribute Sites
Fallen Coalition Heroes
Click the jet just above this to hear, see and shake as your choice of jets do a flyby. The mission log is further down the page. If you want to know about the Patriot Guard then read my introduction below.
Who are the Patriot Guard and Why did I join
First of all I DO NOT REPRESENT THE PATRIOT GUARD IN ANY OFFICIAL WAY. I am just a volunteer supporter. In my opinion anyone who would protest at a fallen soldier's funeral, that they had never met and know nothing about other than they died serving America, are ugly, shameless, hateful, disgusting, repulsive, abhorrent, sinister, worthless, mean, disrespectful, creepy, offensive, distasteful, sordid, revolting, horrid, loathsome, objectionable, repugnant, miserable excuses for human beings. They're actually worse than that. "The Uglies" is the term I'll use to refer to them. I'll defend their right to voice their opinion, no matter how stupid it is. It's wrong to do it at the funeral. Give them City Hall and all the press will show up. They have the right to speak their minds but they don't have the right to force us to listen!
As I researched about the uglies I found the "Patriot Guard Riders". The PGR organizes volunteers to travel to our fallen heroes funerals, as long as the family invites us. Most are veterans and ride motorcycles. All are welcome though. I drive a pickup. As long as your intention is to honor and respect our hero and the family, you are welcome. Our primary mission is to present a patriotic display to honor our fallen hero and support their family and friends. We will not forget the price they paid to protect us. We do not counter protest, that would disrespect our hero's family and his memory. If any uglies actually show up, we ignore them and try to block their view. Since we're invited, our line of honor is closer to the family. I originally found the PGR because I wanted to do something to counter these protestors. But now that I've joined and participated, it has nothing to do with them anymore. The last few missions that I've attended I didn't even think about if they would show up or not. It's not about them. It is one of the most fulfilling things that I've ever experienced in my life. The effort it takes to go to a funeral pales in comparison to the price our hero has already paid.
Click here to find out how you can participate. It costs nothing but your time and travel expenses. You set your own level of support. If you can only make it to a couple a year, that helps.
PLEASE READ - IMPORTANT FACT THAT ONLY AN IDIOT WOULD ARGUE AGAINST:
Whether you join the Patriot Guard or not, support any given war or not, please remember to ALWAYS SUPPORT OUR TROOPS! They don't serve for a President, political party or an agenda. If you're an American, they serve to protect you! My dad served for 24 years, '45 -'69. He had 5 Commander in Chiefs, U.S. Presidents, during his service. Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon. They all made decisions that involved our military and set American foreign policy, which our military enforces. They all use the military in different roles and missions. Our military stands ready to do what our elected civilian leaders order them to do. The President gives an order and they don't have a choice. They will go into harms way when told. WE MUST ALWAYS SUPPORT THEM IN THEIR MISSION! Even if you're a crazy whacko, you should thank and support them for protecting your right to be a crazy whacko.
That's just my opinion. I've been wrong once or twice.
My dad told me once that he knew inside that his service was one of the most honorable things he could've done with part of his life. He was ready to fight and die, if that's what it meant, to protect America and other freedom loving friends in the world. Sadly, America is freedom's only hope in the world. I don't think our Allies could do it without us. If it means we do it alone, then so be it.
How to use my mission log
The PGR organizes "missions". The term is not meant to be disrespectful or insensitive. You can check out my notes on the missions that I have attended by clicking a mission link on the left side panel. They are listed in chronological order.
My 1st mission was on 24 Jun 2006, Sgt. Clarence D. McSwain of Laurel MS. I will never forget him and pray for his family often. If you're interested in joining the Patriot Guard and wonder what the first time is like, then you should read this mission first.
Mission Date: Sat 24 Jun 2006
The Department of Defense announced the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom
Sgt. 1st Class Clarence D. McSwain, 31, of Meridian, Miss., died in Baghdad, Iraq on June 8, of injuries sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his convoy vehicle during combat operations.
McSwain was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.
Bronze Star Medal; Purple Heart; Army Commendation Medal; Army Achievement Medal; Army Good Conduct Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Kosovo Campaign Medal; Iraq Campaign Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal; Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon; Army Service Ribbon; Overseas Service Ribbon; Medal Weapons Qualification, M4, expert; Combat Infantry Badge; Air Assault Badge; Parachutist Badge; Expert Infantry Badge; and NATO Medal.
I had just joined the Patriot Guard the Tuesday before this mission. I had looked around their site and went to the state forum for Tennessee and said hello to everyone. I made sure I kept an eye on the home page. They list all the confirmed, pending and recently completed missions along the right. I saw this mission and check out mapquest. 660 miles round trip. I felt that was too far. Then I saw that "the uglies" said that they would be there. I decided that if they can get there from Kansas, I could make it from here. God knows that Sgt. McSwain doesnít deserve their hateful rhetoric. He left a wife and 4 children. 3 girls and a new baby boy. As I understand it, he was home for the birth or soon there after. It just breaks your heart.
My plan was to leave work early Friday and drive to my momís in Grenada. I spent the night and left Saturday around 0600. I was to meet the ride Captains, Cajun and Trog, and other riders in Richland by 0900. I got there 30 minutes early and a couple of riders were already there, Joe and John. Everyone was friendly. A few were more reserved than others. I just sort of hung out and took it all in. Richlandís mayor, Mark Scarborough, showed up. Apparently the ride Captains had arranged a police escort out of town. I think itís obvious that 99.9% of all Americans will do whatever than can to show respect for a fallen hero.
Our group of 10 bikes and 2 cages(cars/pickups) pulled out of Richland at 0900 and headed down Hwy 59 to the VFW post in Laurel. I drive a Tacoma 4x4. I brought up the rear and let Trogís lady follow directly behind the bikes. I figured they would probably feel more comfortable with someone they have riden with before directly behind them. It was so cool hearing those bikes up in front of me take off through the lights in town. We arrived in Laurel sometime between 1130 and 1200. The schedule was leave for the United Missionary Bapt Church on Hayes at 1230. I hung around a couple of the guys that were in my group. Just checked out the other bikes and talked to other members. Everyone was prepping their bikes, hanging flags and such.
I donít ride bikes. I know Iíve missed out on something but thatís how it is. I know Harley from Yamaha but not much beyond that. Even I said "wow" at some of the bikes that were there. Not all were bikes. Trog had a trike. I just figured out that there is a line of trikes called Trogís. See, I told you I donít know much.
By the time we left for the church we had over 100 bikes and I saw at least 9 cages. I think some locals tagged along because the line of cages at the site was longer than that. It was a short drive over to the church. They parked all the bikes on the edge of the street. We parked the cages in a field and walked over to our area. I first stood off to the side wondering what was going to happen. After a few minutes I saw that family and friends were starting to arrive. I needed to move over to the entrance to the road that led to the church. I took up my new position at the corner and displayed my American flag. I bought a new embroidered flag for these events.
On the opposite side of the street from us, the police had taped off an area for "the uglies" to exercise their 1st amendment right. Iím all for free speech and all, but there are laws that limit this right. Laws govern where and what we can legally say. Examples: I see on the news that when protestors interrupt a politician, they are removed. If they get a permit, they would be placed somewhere away from the politician. They can still say what they want. When someone goes to court, they canít lie. If you had unlimited free speech you could lie in court. But the law says no. Slander and liable are unlawful as well. I believe that "the uglies" should be allowed to protest and say what they want. Just set them up somewhere else and theyíll draw the media and angry Americans which is what they want. They just shouldnít be allowed to force the loved oneís of our fallen hero, in their mourning, to listen to them. You have free speech, it doesnít mean everyone has to listen to you!
Sorry, I got side tracked. Iím standing on the corner. The church was inside a neighborhood. Not much traffic on these roads. The church is back about 100 yards down the side road. I can see American flags in front of the church. Some of our members are standing near the entrance of the church with their flags held high. It was breath taking. The PGR leaders had a plaque for the wife and some stuffed animals for each child. They had gone down to the church to present them to the family. I just stayed there on the corner with my flag held high.
The majority of the supporters were standing along the main road and a little ways along both sides of the churchís road. They stood across the entrance to the church road until a policeman would say, "Let em through". They would divide and allow the vehicle to turn onto the road. Many of the mourners would smile or even give a subdued wave. Some said "Thank you" and a few slowed to shake hands. A gentleman with the family was out there checking on things early and an older woman walking to the service asked him, "whatís going on?" He tried to explain the whole thing and she heard "protestors". She thought we were protesting and the man said, "no, these are the good guys. Theyíre supposed to be here."
About 30 or 45 minutes pasted and my water bottle was ancient history. There was a couple driving a 4 wheeler around passing out water earlier. I asked where they were. They had run out of water. I had brought 48 bottles with me and we had only had a few from Jackson to Laurel. We went to my truck and grabbed them. At least I know I got to contribute something.
They passed the word a little after 1400 that the service had started. A few more people came through. The whole time light traffic slowly moved by to "check out" the scene. You could hear some muffled conversations. I met and talked to a few people that moved by.
A little after 1500 the word came that the service was over. No uglies showed. Their taped off area was as empty as their rhetoric. The word was passed to meet back at the VFW for refreshments and conversation. I went and found Cajun and Trog to tell them bye and how nice it was to meet them. I saw that Trog and some of the riders from Jackson were breaking down a tent and other items. I went over and helped. It also gave me a chance to talk with group from the morning ride and say goodbye.
I was on the road by 1530 headed back to Tennessee. As I thought about the dayís events I took a wrong turn and ended up on the wrong highway headed north through south central Mississippi. It was pretty. I drove through some National Forest that was beautiful. I had been wondering all day what was going to happen and how this all works. Cajun and Trog stayed pretty busy most of the day. I tried to leave them alone. I had decided to follow the groupís lead and I had a great experience. You canít wait for someone to tell you what they want you to do. Just jump in there and do what the otherís are doing. And donít forget sunscreen. I got a sunburn on my arms and neck. Hey, Iím a redneck.
I got home a little before 2100 hours. I had the feeling that this was one the most worthwhile endeavors I have undertaken. Thanks to the McSwain family for allowing me, the PGR, to be there.
I will be going on more missions. I will report on them as they happen.
God Bless America and Her Warriors!