Sunday, June 26, 2011

2LT Harry Bedard, WWII MIA/KIA, Dayton, MN. 25 Jun 2011

Early morning 42 Patriot Guard gathered at the church in Dayton and prepared to ride the 7 miles to bring 2LT Harry Bedard back to the church. 35 motorcycles lined up behind me in perfect formation. During the 6:45am briefing I stressed the need to be respectful of the quiet sleeping community. But even while we were trying to keep stealth, it is hard to subdue the roar of 35 motorcycles on a mission. We rolled down the road holding a tight formation all the way to the funeral home. On the way we picked up one of our LEO escorts from the Wright County Sheriffs Department. (there is a sub-story about our LEO that you will need to ask Dan or Joe about)

At the funeral home our group lined the knoll between the road and the coach and waited for family. When they family arrived they had a special request for the Patriot Guard, so I asked for 6 volunteers. Without hesitation 6 stepped forward without even knowing what the mission would be. The group entered the funeral home and had the honor of transporting 2LT Bedard to the coach while the rest of the group stood at attention

2LT Bedard was readied for his trek to the Dayton church and we mounted up. As we crossed the river the Wright County Sheriffs squad pulled in front and cleared the traffic for us. A second unit was waiting at the busiest intersection to secure it for our safe passage. Our group was awesome it stayed tight and looked so professional, I would have to think that the people that saw up thought we practiced for this. 7 miles of perfect moves by 35 motorcycles was an awesome tribute to Harry.

When we arrived at the church our flagline run by Ernie Johnson had grown and was in place. Again we were asked to carry 2LT Bedard into the church, so 6 volunteers did the honors.

We held our flagline while the family and friends arrived. At one point a lady drove up that wasn’t part of the funeral and walked the entire flagline to thank each of them for what we do, then left right after, we had welcomed home her son.

Shortly after the service started our group stood down for a break. As the service ended our group had lined the road from the church to the cemetery and the cemetery driveway to the ceremony site.

The honor guard carried 2LT Bedard the whole two blocks to the graveside site with the family and friends following. As the last of them past our group fell in behind. Once we reached the grave site we surrounded the family. The church did the blessings, Chaplin Morris gave a great speech, and the Honor Guard did their honors. I had 5 minutes to present the family with a plaque and I praised the family for their persistence over the generations in keeping Harry in their lives, waiting for his return. as I finished the family thanked us for what they thought was a amazing act on our part and the guests applauded us.

As the clapping stopped it was replaced with the thunder of powerful F-15 engines as they approached, then they appeared just above the distant tree line. They came in low, I could see their numbers. Cpt. Allen’s coordinates that he supplied to the aircraft were right on, the missing man fighter peeled off and climbed what seemed to be straight up right over our heads. The roar was deafening as the afterburner came on, we watched as the F-15 went out of sight, we could still hear the roar for quite a while. On the conclution we were asked again to carry Harry to the coach and escort him back to the funeral home. There were 25 of us that escort 2LT Bedard back to the funeral home to prepare him for cremation. Again the escort performed their mission flawlessly, staggered, tight, and with as one moves.

Everyone that was there, I thank you. You made this a great mission.

Special thanks to all those that were on the escort, and well done. Also to my team working front and behind the scene: Dan Wilkenson, Ernie Johnson, Geno Kamerac, Jack Foster, Joe Eagan, and Mike McDonough. The Wright County Sheriffs Dept and the Elk River Police were great support, we couldn’t have done what we did without them. If there is anyone I forgot, THANK YOU.

Tim Leonhardt

POW/KIA SGT Ralph Carlson, US Army, Korea

Mission Report: June 25, 2011
POW/KIA; SGT Ralph W. Carlson, US Army, Korea
Braham, MN

It’s been sixty years but SGT Ralph Carlson is finally home. One hundred and sixteen MN Patriot Guard Riders came to show their respect as he was laid to rest in the family plot next to the old headstone that marked his death and burial long ago somewhere in Korea.
They came from all over Minnesota; Metro, Cloquet, Duluth, Thief River Falls, Brainerd, St. Cloud, Marshall, Willmar, Mankato and beyond. They came to honor this soldier who sacrificed so much so long ago. SGT Carlson died in a POW camp at the age of 22. We stood with dignity as the family finally had closure.
At their request the front row of the church parking lot was reserved for PGR motorcycle parking. What a sight as over one hundred bikes stood sentinel as our escort led SGT Carlson to his funeral service. Our flagline greeted family and guests as it lined both sides of the two driveways leading to the church parking lot and all across the front of the large church.
When we stood down after the service started, all PGR members had an opportunity to sign the guest book. So as not to disturb the congregation the books and their stands were brought outside the front doors of the church. A sketch drawing had been made of Ralph and his parents as they would have looked welcoming him home as a young soldier 60 years ago. A plate at the bottom was engraved “Home at Last”. It also was brought outside for all to see.
We then moved all but the escorts two miles down the county road to the cemetery where our flagline was put in place to await the arrival of the funeral procession. The POW/MIA hot air balloon was inflated and stood vigil next to the cemetery. As the service ended they carried SGT Carlson to the coach as the PGR escorts came to attention and saluted along with the military members there. The MN Patriot Guard escorts led SGT Carlson to his final resting place. The county road was closed to all other traffic. People were scattered along the route waving flags as we passed. Many of them children.
A horse show was going on along the way to the cemetery. The show stopped and people there came to the side of the road with some holding flags. Horses and riders stood in quiet reverence as we passed by.
Our flagline surrounded the burial place and formed a corridor for the pallbearers to carry SGT Carlson through. Full military honors were given and we presented the MN PGR plaque and coins to SGT Carlson’s brother and sister, hoping to ease their pain by knowing their brother was a true American hero and was now home. We moved our flagline to line the road out of the cemetery. The look on the faces in the cars as they passed by reassured us that our mission was complete. We did make a difference this day.

We were thanked for showing Honor, Dignity and Respect for the sacrifices of this young soldier:
SGT Ralph W. Carlson, US Army, Korean War, POW/KIA
“Home at Last”

I want to thank all the members that attended this mission. You’re being there is what matters.And a thank you to the MN PGR leadership from all around the state that led their sectors to Braham for this mission and for their help during the mission. A big thank you to Alan Peterson for the photos of this mission.

Larry Myslicki “Slick”
Ride Captain Metro NE
MN Patriot Guard Riders

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

MSG Dave Riddering (Ret)

Under cloudy skies and pouring rain, 12 Patriot Guard from MN & ND paid honor to MSG Dave RIddering (Retired) for his 25 years serving in the US Navy as a Seebee and continued his service in the Naval Reserves, North Dakota Army National Guard, and the US Air Guard. Dave's brother Ted, MN PG member stood the flag line with us honoring his brother. Members came from Thief River Falls, Alexandria, Metro, Detroit Lakes Sectors, along with fellow PGR from North Dakota.

Staging was at 12:30 p.m. and flag line set by 1:00 for visitation. A few flag line members had double duty with umbrella's helping guests from their vehicles to the church. Flag line stood down once the service started and went to the basement of the church, where the ladies insisted we have sandwiches, cake/bars, and coffee - when we said no thanks, they sat trays of food on the table and said "eat"! The funeral home director said this was his first experience with the Patriot Guard and he was so happy to see us there as he had heard many wonderful things about the PGR.

Five members remained at the church for transfer and the remaining members moved out to the cemetary and established the flag line for the interment. American Legion in Barnesville provided military honors. Flag line was dismissed when all family & friends had departed.

Thank you all who were able to come today to honor Dave and thanks to all who were with us in spirit!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

1-125th FA Troop Send Off Mission Report – Pipestone, Luverne, Jackson and Fairmont

On Thursday, June 2nd, we had a full showing of support at all locations as we started at 9 am with one bus of soldiers in Pipestone. 324 miles and less than 8 hours later, six buses were proudly escorted to the gates of Ft. McCoy courtesy of our neighbors in the Albert Lea Sector.

Key to coordinating the details and the route was being able to work closely with members of the 1-125th contact team including Captains Douty and Vulcan of the A and B Batteries, respectively. It also doesn’t hurt that CPT Douty is a fellow Patriot Guard Rider! : )

In Pipestone, CPT Douty and the Citizens Committee had been busy getting the word out about the Thursday morning departure of our troops and the streets were lined with hundreds of citizens showing their support with the American Legion’s flags lining Main Street. Especially moving were the 100+ elementary school children lining the streets holding flags and signs courtesy of the school buses provided by the school district. Just prior to departure, we fell out from the flag line and presented two signed PGR flags on behalf of all Patriot Guard Riders to show our support for the 1-125th FA from based in Pipestone and Luverne. We had previously presented flags in St. James and Fairmont/Jackson.

For the 25 mile trip to Luverne we were generously escorted to the county line by two Pipestone Country Sheriff vehicles only to have two from Rock County waiting for a rolling hand off to lead us into Luverne. Along the way, we were grateful to see groups of people and vehicles scattered along the rural highway showing their support.

Luverne brought two more buses and another escort through town with, once again, hundreds of people along the route and the same showing of support received in Pipestone. We were escorted by a Rock County Sheriff car which was joined by a MN State Patrol car for the next leg of the escort which would be on I-90. CPT Douty had asked if we could escort the troops through Worthington as he had received a request from that community also. We gladly obliged and were greeted with one of our Rolling Thunder members on a trike waiting off the ramp, proudly flying the Red, White and Blue along with Worthington police and fire vehicles. We exited off of I-90 and were escorted non-stop through Worthington with police road guards making our detour seamless. Once again, hundreds of people were lining the streets through town until our MN State Patrol escort smoothly merged us back into traffic on I-90.

Meanwhile, in Fairmont, our members had formed a flag line as the members of the B Battery loaded three more buses and escorted them through town to our pre-determined meeting place by the interstate. Once again, the citizens of Fairmont came together by the hundreds to bid our troops well. The A Battery buses pulled in and after a brief stop and confirmation of plans for the next rolling hand off and a food stop, the second Patriot Guard Escort team led by two members of the Fairmont Police Department continued east on I-90 to the designated rolling hand off point where our Albert Lea friends would continue to escort our precious cargo to their destination.

Below is a report on the final leg of the escort from Albert Lea RC Joel Radjenovich:

Here's a little synopsis of what we did in our part for your mission if you want to include it in your mission report.

Albert Lea sector was proud to be part of the escorts for the Pipestone, Luverne, Jackson and Fairmont units that were deploying on 2June2011. We were the 3rd and final leg of 3 escort groups and did a rolling hand-off at the rest stop in Hayward, MN.
We picked up the 6 buses and headed East to Ft McCoy down I-90. We stopped at Dextor so the soldiers could stretch their legs and get a bite to eat. When Paul Ramsbey called from Fairmont and told us of their plans of stopping at Dextor to eat, we called ahead to the Pit Stop restaurant and warned them that 150 soldiers would be stopping to eat in a short time. At first they thought we were kidding them, but soon realized that we were serious. They had things ready for the troops and things went smoothly. Our hats our off to them for going the extra mile for the troops.

The rest of the trip was uneventful. We put two riders behind the last bus as we got off of the freeway in Sparta to keep the RC informed of their progress thru town. That was a good idea as a couple of times they got hung up at lights and we waitied for them down the road to catch up. We delivered them to Gate 20 and then met up with the Rochester escorts and had a debriefing at the American Legion in Sparta and headed home after that.

All went well and everyone got home safely as far as I know...Thanks Paul for all that you did in putting this together. It went off rather well.


THANK YOU to everyone who came out to help give the 1-125th FA A and B Batteries the send off they deserved! This includes Patriot Guard Riders from the Worthington sector as well as our neighboring sectors, PGR from SD, IA and numerous members of the American Legion Riders, Rolling Thunder and ABATE. In the past two weeks we have had more than 100 members and friends answer the call to help in some part of this send off mission and the preceding deployment cermonies. I know that your support meant a great deal to our troops and their families and that’s what it’s all about!


Respectfully submitted by Paul Ramsbey, Worthington RC

Below are some links to photos taken from various sources:

From Dale Claussen and Shirley Ethen:

From the MN National Guard website:

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Precious Package Delivered, 125th Anoka Deployment.

About 30 Patriot Guard raised their flags lining the drive to the Anoka Armory to show support to the unit and their families as they dropped off their loved ones. The buses arrived about 11, the bus drivers open the baggage compartments and the flurry of subdued green baggage was on the move in a blur of movement. It seemed to only take minutes to get everything loaded. Once the unit had loaded and settle on the busses for the first leg of their year long journey the flagline moved to Main Street where they reformed so the unit had a good sendoff.

The buses were escorted out of the armory by two Anoka police, one Anoka Co Sheriff, one Hennepin Co Sheriff, and the six PGR riders. There were two on the fly (freeway) LEO handoffs, we didn’t even slow for them. We reached the MN/WI border about 12:40 and our last LEO escort peeled off leaving us on our trek. I need to thank Anoka County Hennepin County, Ramsey County, Washington County Sheriffs, and Anoka Police for there awesome assistance and support on this deployment.

Our trek down 94 to Menominee went without any incidents, traffic was very considerate to our procession. Our team executed many flawless lane changes when ever we came up on slower traffic. One of the bus drivers said we must have had a lot of training doing escorts from how well everything went. About 1:25 we got to the handoff point where our next team was waiting. We thanked the bus drivers and visited with the unit as they took a short break.

One soldier ask if we got scared moving in and out of traffic like we did, I told him yes because that is what keeps us on our toes. He commented that we made it look easy. I don’t think so, however with the team I had I could see how it appeared to him as looking easy.

Thanks everyone that were there doing the flagline, Jerry, Jim (Big-Um), Geno, Dan (expendable), Joe E., Pat, and especially Mark and Kip, for their assistance in making a great mission.