The North Texas PGR Contingent met at 1100 hrs at our staging area at RED RIVER HARLEY DAVIDSON in Wichita Falls Texas. Above is Red River Harley Davidson. See this link for more on Red River Harley Davidson. http://redriverharley-davidson.com
There were several PGR members already there when I arrived. This is Richard. His wife, Wilda, who also has her own bike, could not be there due to having to work.
This is left to right: Grinch, Mike & Tex. Grinch is the PGR Deputy State Captain-Panhandle/South Plains Region, Mike is a NTX PGR Ride Captain and Tex is a NTX PGR Assistant Ride Captain.
More folks arrive. This is Left to Right: Mike, Walter, Richard, Valerie (his wife) and Richard
This is Mike & Bill.
Before we headed out, Greg, one of my good friends, who I worked with for 27 years, that now works for Harley Davidson (he runs the Riders Edge Program), came out, gave me my weekly hug and invited us to have a hot dog. This was Sturgis Weekend and the Jolly Volunteer Fire Dept, was cooking up hot dogs and giving them to the riders passing thru. Red River Harley Davidson was one of the rest stops for folks heading to Sturgis to stop at, get something to eat & drink and rest up a little before pressing on up North
This is Deborah & Valerie. Deborah is just now getting over an operation but made it for this mission
This is Kevin & Deborah (his wife). They are good friends and great folks to be with and to ride with
Lamont arrived and he is a member of the Buffalo Soldiers M/C. Also his motorcycle has the brightest headlights that I have ever seen on a bike. Last year I was about 2 miles in front of him on the freeway and he had the bright lights on and they looked like landing lights on a large aircraft in my mirrors.
This is Don and he is wearing the dress uniform of the Comanche War Scouts. He also has one of those Cavalry hats like the major in the movie "Apocalypse Now" with the US. Navy emblem on the front and says that the Comanche War Scouts were the ones who gave the Air Cav permission to wear the black hat with braids.
This is a member of the Jolly Texas Volunteer Fire Department cooking the hot dogs for the Sturgis Riders passing thru. http://www.manta.com/coms2/dnbcompany_g777nw
We start to gear up and get ready to head out to Ft. Sill Oklahoma
We head North on I-44 and start across the Red River Bridge and Oklahoma on the other side.
Here is Tex (on the bike) and Don in the pickup, crossing the Red River Bridge. Don stated that as of toady, he was joining the PGR and was going to convert his truck into a big flag carrier.
We make it to the other side of the bridge and here is the Welcome to Oklahoma sign
We had to stop short of Lawton Oklahoma and pay the toll. Here we are lined up at the toll gate.
We get to the Ft. Sill Blvd Gate at Ft. Sill and we all pull over to put on our reflective vests. It is policy at Ft. Sill that for us to be allowed on post we must: Wear helmets, glasses or shields, long fingered gloves, long shirt, boots up over the ankles and a reflective vest or belt. They then checked our ID's and let us on post.
Here is Tex putting on his vest
We proceed on post to the post Chapel where the funeral services would take place. We were the first contingent of PGR bikes to arrive at the Chapel as the most of the other PGR folks were escorting the Pratt family in from Duncan Oklahoma, about 30 miles or so East of Ft. Sill.
This is the Frontier Chapel Center on Ft. Sill Oklahoma. Ft. Sill is an Artillery Training post and I had called many a fire mission when there in the past as a Forward Artillery Observer (13F). For more info on Ft. Sill, see: http://sill-www.army.mil/
Here is Tex as we park the bikes across from the Chapel
Our bikes lined up on Ft. Sill
This is Jerry, who arrived shortly after we did. He was first of the Oklahoma PGR members to arrive
Don got out of his truck and set about hanging these banners around the outside of the Chapel
The Frontier Chapel Center Sign
Brigadier General Buchanan came out and talked with us and graciously accepted my request of being photographed with us. From Left to right: Mike, Jerry, Jason, Bill, Richard, Walter, Valerie, Lamont, General Buchanan, Kevin, Grinch, Richard, Deborah, Tex & Don
Left to right: Mike, Jerry, Jason, Bill, Richard, Walter, Valerie, Lamont, General Buchanan, Kevin, Grinch, Richard, Deborah, Tex & Me (John)
There were all makes & models of bikes there with Big flags to small flags. Here is one of the Harley's
This is Cindy, Senior PGR Ride Captain-Lawton Oklahoma. pointing out where the flag line would be set up. Cindy did a good job and had things in order and lined out..
Cindy giving out info and answering questions during one of the briefings...
The US Army Honor Guard at the Chapel entrance, waiting for the family to arrive. The six soldiers immediately in front of the Chapel doors, are the pall bearers
The flag line to my right, from closest out: Walter, Richard & Grinch on the end
To my left, at this point, was Tex
A view to my right down the exit
As others arrive, we reform. I was now on the end on this side and Tex moved across the drive by the pillar
The flag line on the exit
The PGR flag line looking back at the drive exit
This is the PGR flag line at the entrance of the Chapel
Some of the PGR bikes across the street from the Chapel
That is Mike, across from me, with the maroon cap. PGR Ride Captains are given & wear the maroon caps. Regular members wear the blue caps, if they have one.
After the flag line, we put the flags up in the supprt vehicles and went to see what was scheduled for us next
Another members' bike with the big flags & trailer
We find out that some are riding with the funeral procession and some were heading out to the Ft. Sill National Cemetery to check on the location of the services there.
Some of the PGR members bikes
This is Chief's trike. There were many members there and he was in the mix somewhere, but I missed him...
More of the bikes & PGR members as we wait for the services at the Chapel to end. The family relayed that we could attend the services and several did. I went with Tex out to the National Cemetery to check on the location of the services there
As Tex & I get ready to head out, I get this shot of the PGR members getting lined up for the funeral procession
Tex, as we head North on I-44 from Ft. Sill enroute to the Ft. Sill National Cemetery
The entrance to the Ft. Sill National Cemetery. For more on the Ft. Sill National Cemetery, see this link: http://www.cem.va.gov/cems/nchp/ftsill.asp
One thing that immediately got my attention here, was that mixed with the extreme quiet was the incredible sense of peace. Here were some above ground final resting places of Soldiers, Marines, Navy & Airmen..
Another wall on Ft. Sill National Cemetery
I then walked out some to the graves
Ya know, words are hard to find to describe my feeling as I stood there. As I sit here now putting text to this post, as I look at these pictures of the graves, my eyes are tearing up again..
From those graves I turned right 90 degrees and take this picture of the entrance to the National Cemetery and the Wichita Mountains in the background
This is SSGT. Partick Gray & Tex. SSGT Gray plays the trumpet (TAPS) at military funerals and was there today with one of his sergeants that requested to play TAPS today. For the origin of TAPS, please see this link: http://www.arlingtoncemetery.org/ceremonies/originoftaps.html
SSgt. Gray also gave me the honor of having my picture taken with him.
Thank you Sergeant for your service to our Great country and in doing your part in keeping us, its citizens, free.
Valerie & Richard arrive at our location
As we carried the flags from the PGR support vehicles to the pavillion where the services where to be held, the funeral procession came into the Cemetery. Several of us grabbed extra flags and headed for our positions in the flag line. Arriving PGR members would then come to the line and get our extra flags and join us
The US Army pall bearers wait for the hearse
The front PGR bikes head our way. If you click on the picture you can see them on the horizon just above the grave stones and there was the familiar sound of rolling thunder coming, that only those that have experienced many, many motorcycles in formation, can identify with and those that haven't, can only imagine
We wait patiently & quietlt for our PGR brothers & sisters, in the procession. to arrive and join our ranks
The funeral procession still making its way across the horizon, the front of which had not yet made the final left curve to bring them to our location
We DO NOT take pictures of the hearse, coffin or services out of respect for the family. The procession arrived, pall bearers did their duty and the services were held and concluded. This is the PGR flag line and US Army Honor Guard as guests were leaving after giving condolences to the family of PFC Dennis Pratt.
The PGR flag line is dismissed and we head to the PGR Support Vehicles to put up the flags
One of the PGR members wait on a trike for her other half..
Lawton Oklahoma's TV Station Channel 7, KSWO was in attendence. I heard from several people that they did an outstanding story on the funeral.. I, however, did not get to see the news..
As I leave Ft. Sill National Cemetery, I get a few parting pictures of the grave marker arrangements
These are located to your immediate left upon entering Ft. Sill National Cemetery
The PGR members I rode up to FT. Sill with were all going to Medicine Park, in the Wichita Mountains, for lunch. I had kin folk coming in from Houston and had to get home. The final picture of today was as I entered the city limits of Wichita Falls Texas on South Bound I-44.
This will conclude this post. I enjoyed being with my PGR brothers & sisters today and was proud to be part of this PGR mission. Our condolences to the Pratt family and may God comfort you as you mourn your loss.
Scroll down for more rides, events & posts and don't forget to click on the "older posts" link at the bottom of EACH page for more rides and posts. Check out North Texas Bikers (1) at http://www.jjskewlstuff.blogspot.com/ for rides, events & posts from January 08-November 08. and North Texas Bikers II at: http://www.jjskewlstuffii.blogspot.com/ for rides, events & posts from Nov. 08-July 09. Until next post, ya'll be careful out there, ride safe, keep the rubber on the road & pray for our Troops & Pattie & Manuel................JOHN