Standing for those who stood for us

| January 24, 2013 | 2 Comments
Patriot Guard Riders escort Soldiers assigned to the 25th CAB form Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Airfield to Wheeler Army Airfield for an initial redeployment ceremony, Jan. 5. (Photo courtesy Michael Soucie)

Patriot Guard Riders escort Soldiers assigned to the 25th CAB from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam airfield to Wheeler Army Airfield for an initial redeployment ceremony, Jan. 5. (Photo courtesy Michael Soucie)

Sgt. Matthew Ryan
25th Infantry Division Public Affairs

WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD — The roar of motorcycles could be heard more than a mile away as Patriot Guard Riders escorted Soldiers assigned to the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam to Wheeler Army Airfield for their initial redeployment ceremony, here, recently.

Soldiers with the 25th CAB have been returning home since the start of December 2012 from a deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Patriot Guard Riders shake hands and greet Soldiers of the 25th CAB as they arrive for an initial redeployment ceremony. (Sgt. Matthew Ryan | 25th Infantry Division Public Affairs)

PGR members shake hands and greet Soldiers of the 25th CAB as they arrive for an initial redeployment ceremony. (Sgt. Matthew Ryan | 25th Infantry Division Public Affairs)

With each returning wave, the Patriot Guard Riders Hawaii Chapter — made up of various bike groups from throughout the island — have shown their support, rain or shine.

“Every flight, we never miss one,” said Michael Soucie, district vice commander of the American Legion Riders. “I believe every Soldier deserves a proper welcome home.”

“We do this to honor the troops,” said M. Williams, the assistant state captain for PGR, who coordinates rides and other events with the 25th ID.

Williams added that many of the Soldiers who return home end up being part of the escort ceremony for their fellow patriots.

Sgt. Steve Partridge, a flight engineer for a CH47 Chinook assigned to Company B, 3rd Brigade, 25th Aviation Regiment, 25th CAB, 25th ID, was part of an escort ride in December. He had wanted to be part of the ceremony because he had arrived on an early flight and wanted to ride in support of his friends and fellow Soldiers who were on this particular flight.

“I just love to ride, and this just felt great to do for my friends,” he said.

Patriot Guard Riders cheer Soldiers of the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade as they arrive from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Airfield for an initial redeployment ceremony, Dec. 30. (Sgt. Matthew Ryan | 25th Infantry Division Public Affairs)

PGR members cheer as the 25th CAB arrives for an initial redeployment ceremony on WAAF, Dec. 30. (Sgt. Matthew Ryan | 25th Infantry Division Public Affairs)

The PGR of Hawaii started in 2008, and by 2009 had become part of the official welcoming-home ceremony, said Williams.

“We even got to ride for the mayor in a parade once,” said Williams of an incident a few years back when they were escorting troops from the airport and the mayor saw them, which lead to the PGR being asked to ride in a 4th of July parade.

“That was a nice honor, to be asked to be a part of the parade,” said Williams.

The PGR does more than just escort Soldiers home from deployment. Its two mission statements are to show sincere respect for fallen heroes, their families and their communities, and to shield the families of fallen Soldiers from interruptions created by protestors.

The group also performs flag lines and offers scholarships for family members of fallen heroes.

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  1. M. Soucie says:

    Great job riders! You always make me proud to be a part of this community.

  2. James Butterworth says:

    Boy how I miss that and you guys !
    Ride safe !

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