Ride report Posted for Mitch Lainge, CA North Bay Road Captain

Part 1 – Wednesday April 20 – Airport Escort and Return Home Thanks All for Wednesday Escort of Pfc Mervyn Sims
We had a great gathering at staging, 30+ Patriots including WWR, PGR, CMA, Sonoma MOMS and MET, plus the POW-MIA Corvette. We made our way to the airport, parked and found out the plane was still in Los Angeles. The ETA continued to move up the clock so after conferring with The Military Honors Team several riders went to eat, Ron Collier invited the Honors Team to relax at the Windsor Fire Station, some riders returned home and others back to work.

We got confirmation the plane left LA at 1300hrs and as many as possible gathered again for the 1430 landing (4 hours late), and while the Honors Team received the remains of Pfc Sims we staged for a Rolling Start.

2 MET Riders in the lead, the Military Vehicles, 7 Bikes followed by 7 Vehicles rolled past Windsor and Rincon Valley Fire assembled on Airport Blvd to honor Pfc Sims (plus a small group of parents and school children who came to honor Pfc Sims at 10:30 and were back at 2:30 — Thank You!) and we were met in Petaluma by the Pet FD Ladder Truck with large flag and had a Petaluma Police Escort with additional Fire Fighters along the route saluting in honor as we made our way to Cypress Hill Cemetery.

At the cemetery we formed a dual flag line and the Honors Team transferred Pfc Sims and Flag into the office to await the Friday Service. I thanked all Riders who rode in damp weather plus the MOMS and others who used vehicles and we all gave our thanks to Capt Dominguez and The US Army/National Guard Honors Team.

Sharon Roloff, niece to Pfc Sims, received my report and Andre’s photos last night plus the great coverage Kent Porter did for The Press Democrat. She thanked us for all the honor and respect everyone has displayed and looks forward to meeting us on Friday.

Part 2 – Friday April 22 – Graveside Service WWR, PGR and Rip City Riders staged in Petaluma
We were pleased to have Sonoma MOMS and Marin Blue Star Moms join us along with Tom & Nancy Engkilterra representing the NATIONAL LEAGUE OF POW/MIA FAMILIES, and the POW/MIA Corvette of Rick Ansick & Jannette.   Just prior to our Briefing the family contact, Pfc Mervyn Sims’ niece Sharon Roloff, stopped by with her family and I called riders together and introduced her to the group. She was very happy she stopped by as it showed the community cared and deciding to bury her uncle locally rather that at Dixon was a proper decision.

During briefing we recognized the Blue Star Moms, Blue Star Riders, had one person ask who was active military… then raise his own arm (Spike, active Navy, Baby…) and we were honored to have Gold Star Dad Bob Velloza who was riding his son Jake’s Victory. I had a 52 bike count (2 Can-Ams, do 6 wheels count as 3 bikes?) but more showed after that, so I’ll round up to 60 bikes and over 70 people with our group (including 1 service dog/co-rider).

What can I say… Thank You All!

Lynn Tross had arranged for special parking for the bikes at the (Hilly) cemetery and this worked well. Everyone headed toward the Veteran’s Section of the cemetery and after some changes in where we were requested to stand, there was a fantastic showing of Flags that left an impression on everyone there. Pfc Sims received full military honors, and there were well over 100 citizens and patriots at the service. In attendance were some school mates of Mervyn Sims, including an early girlfriend, several former military in uniform, Sonoma County Civil Air Patrol, Marine Corp League and several from American Legion Groups. Channels 2 and 7 have video coverage plus Press Democrat photos from the day are available via websites (below). Included in the service was the archaeologist who located the remains and he spoke about his adventure, plus the Chaplain talked about how helpful the military was in identifying Sims and working with the family to make this day happen. After the service Sharon spoke and thanked everyone for their show of support. Many riders offered their condolences directly as did several other citizens.
This mission was a rare opportunity to escort home and honor an MIA, missing for 68 years!

Thanks to EVERYONE who made this day special for the family, and to honor not only Pfc Mervyn Sims, but the remaining 72,000 American MIAs from WW-II.

Email from Family representative Sharon Roloff —
Now that I am back home and thinking of the day – – – my first impression today was all the bikes staged at the Shell Station.  I am so glad I stopped to meet all of you then.  I felt the genuine respect you had to offer Uncle Mervyn
and our family.  I was in awe and it really helped prepare me for the service.  It was a beautiful day of love, dignity, honor, unity, and’military brotherhood’. Thank you for all you have done – – and can do within ‘the rules’.

Sharon Roloff
Media Links
Remains of WWII soldier from Petaluma buried ABC Channel 7

Press Democrat Coverage
Pfc Sims Returns Home Wednesday April 20
Graveside Service Friday April 22