Monday is a combination of many different things — between the 3 routes probably 6 meetings, registration for all the riders present, assignments, and special events.
In our Road Guard meeting (for Southern Route) we are assigned additional responsibilites. I’m the LEO Liaision (Law Enforcement Liaison) as well as mentoring one RGIT (Road Guard In Training). Others are assigned positions like “Pusher Teams” — 4 RG’s that get on the freeway ahead of the pack, space themselves along the freeway to “push” the vehicles on the highway away from the on ramp, more towards the middle lanes. This will allow our “pack” to get on the freeway in a safer manner. We assign more mentors (as this is the way all RG’s get started. We assign one RG to work with the Advance Team (explained in a later email), a Rear Guard — their responsibility to insure people or riders behind the pack don’t dive into the pack causing accidents. They also can watch for non registered riders trying to jump in. More on all of this later.
I took a small group down to the Wounded Warrior Battalion. I’ve spoken of this many times before. An $80,000,000.00 facility designed by our wounded and used ONLY by our WOUNDED. Machines designed so that our wounded can exercise regardless of some physical limitations. A counseling crew that is there to help with adjusting back into the civilian world. Family counseling all in a caring extremely well designed facility. Then up to the 2/4 Memorial and the 5Th Marines Memorials for some pictures with a tribute trike — man lost his brother in Operation Hastings in ‘Nam — the bike is for him and the others that died in that unit. Marines on site to assist in getting the trike right up to the Memorial. Visiting Memorials always awakens memories regardless of what war they are for. This Memorial also has Travis’ name on it.
Back in Rancho we see that a whole mess more have arrived. Again more of our long time riders as well as a whole lot of FNG’s (FINE New Guys — a slightly different than a “FNG” in ‘nam. Seeing some of these old faces (and some are really old!) is really enjoyable and unique. Its like seeing family members at the annual family gatherings, except more enjoyable! Finding out what’s changed in their lives, how their health is (although we don’t always enjoy the answers) and meeting some of the “kids” now joining their Mom and/or Dad on the Run.
We spend a lot of time listening to the FNG’s as well as answering their questions. We are looking for potential problems, checking to insure the FNG’s understand what they MUST do to have a safe ride and to have the whole experience — watching to see might need a hand on their shoulder or just someone that can listen that UNDERSTANDS their thoughts and feelings. Most have lost someone in combat or have a close friend that did. This is sort of a “safe” time as they are not really into the emotions or the memories — too many things going on. Still all smiles although you can see the nervousness in some. Most have no idea what they’re going to experience. End of day today was pretty much by 9:30 — bars empty, rooms full. Early day tomorrow for the FNG’s going to Riverside National Cemetery to the National POW/MIA Memorial. More meetings for leadership. But today is done — sounds pretty boring but its not. For those of us who’ve been here before its more of an anticipation.
The Mission rules.