Ride Report posted for Meatball


Warriors Watch Riders was asked by Darlene Markley if we could do an escort to the airport for her sons’ (Spc Frank “Frankie” Markley, 21 yrs old, 1st airborne infantry) deployment back to the sandbox,as we did a welcome home for this soldier once before.When Hogrider asked me if i’d like to RC the escort for this HERO,i was honored to do so.

 We were asked on the 17th and Frankie was leaving on the morning of the 21st, there was no time to spare. I spoke with Franks mother who told me about the type of man/soldier Frankie was,and I looked forward to shaking his hand even more so.It was a crisp sunday morning at 0600 as we rallied together to give this soldier a short but very deserved escort from his Woodlyn,pa home to the Philadelphia airport. The 15 or so that showed up on motorcycles didn’t seem to care one bit about the weather,as the warmth in their hearts kept them at bay. At the rally point waiting minutes away from the soldiers house, I met a fellow Warriors Watch rider who happened to be a close friend of the family,who mentioned how excited and thankful Frankie’s mother was of us doing this for her and her son. I explained how thankful I was for what Frank was doing for US!

So with time approaching, we all headed to the soldiers house. I was in my cage and as I lead the escort I could see about 17 bikes and several cages in tow. It didn’t take long to get there, as no one else was on the roads at that time,and all you could hear was the echoing of rumbling motorcycles. As we approached the street of the house with our soldier in it,emergency lights were kicked on and flashing,motors grew louder,horns blew as well as the excitement! All the houses were dark, and off in the distance I saw it,the only house with a light on and the american flag proudly waving. We all pulled up in front of the hero’s house and if he (or his neighbors) weren’t up, they were now!

 As I approached the front door I was greeted by Frank (a Warriors Watch Rider & friend of the family) who led me into the house and introduced me to the soldiers family and friends. His mother began to thank me for what “WE” were doing, I assured her it was “OUR” honor and privilege. Finally, Frankie came downstairs and as I intruduced myself, he reached out his hand as I shook his almost simultanisly we both said, Thank You. As he mustered his gear,we talked a bit,he explained how he was up for promotion from specialist to seargent and he was looking forward to it. He wanted it, bad. Ah, I said , I know that feeling,and as he saw the seargent stripes on my jacket he smiled and nodded. I felt a small bond, not only as 2 guys talking,but two soldiers who fight the same fight. I was happy to get to spend some time with this soldier, now I understood why his family was so very proud of him. As we made our way outside the Warriors Watch Riders applauded loudly, as did most of the nieghbors that came outside to see him off. Frankie took the time to humbly shake every single hand and there were hugs and kisses given too. While some of us were getting in cages and other mounting their bikes, this soldier did what others don’t he got on the back of Franks bike and said he’d ride with him. Now mind you, Frankie was only in a BDU uniform, Hoooooah!. Well as if that wasn’t enough Frankies younger brother Chris did the same,he rode with another fellow rider,it was cold and no one cared,it was great! So with everyone ready we headed to the airport,cars slowed,stepped aside and were honking their horns in appreciation, we made our escort onto the departure terminal. All of the Warriors Watch Riders dismounted their bikes and cages to take some pictures and give this soldier one more handshake and hug .His family thanked us, yet again for doing this. As I gave Frankie a last handshake,i told him to spread the word,that we appreciate them having our backs over there,and that “we” have their backs here.  

The crowd broke up, mounted their bikes to leave and as I was walking away he said to me,i’ll be sure to bring patches back for you,i just said make sure you come back to give them to me!