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!
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT! LET’S DO IT AGAIN IN 12 MONTHS TO WELCOME THESE HEROES HOME!
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: