Ride Report posted for Al Bluesman Philo

It was about 8:30 in the evening, Thursday, August 13, 2009, when my phone rang. It was Artie “Norton” Flescher, VP of Friends of the Forgotten Northeast Wing. “We have a battalion coming home!” He said. “Great! When?” I asked. “Tomorrow morning! How many bikes can we get together for an escort?” I answered “At least two…you and me!”.

With about 12 hours notice, about twenty bikes appeared at the Wilkes Barre/Bear Creek exit of the PA Turnpike, 9:30 AM Friday, August 14, 2009, to Welcome Home and escort the 130th MP Battalion, out of Wilkes Barre, PA. They were coming…twenty-five young American Heroes, in a bus and two Hum-Vees, from Ft. Dix, NJ, after a fourteen month deployment in Iraq. As we waited at the turnpike exit, we got word that they were running about an hour late. No problem for us! We expected them at 10:00 AM,… 11:00 would be just fine. We can wait another hour, if they can put in fourteen months!

The Hum-Vees arrive about ten minutes before the bus. We fell into formation…most of the bikes between the Hum-Vees and the bus, “Norton” and I behind the bus, flags flying. Tom B, in his cage, was the rear guard.

We proceeded in this formation (with the assistance of the PA State Police…thank you PSP!) to the
Armory in Ashley, just south of Wilkes Barre, where a huge crowd of family members, friends, and news media were waiting to greet these Heroes. After the families had their hugs, it was our turn to “hug, mug, and coin”!

Special thanks to; the news media here in NEPA, who are always with us…
“Norton” for getting this together…
PSP for their protection on the roads…
And, to all who showed up on such short notice! Groups represented were Warriors’ Watch Riders, Friends of the Forgotten Northeast Wing, Friends of the Forgotten Inc., Soldiers’ Angels Riding Club, and Wheels of Freedom MC.
But mostly…to the 320th MP Battalion for their service! Welcome Home Heroes!

Respectfully submitted,
Al “BluesmanNEPA” Philo
Warriors’ Watch Riders State Coordinator, PA Northeast Region