Ride Report for Ride Captain Spike

Again, this is one of the missions I was able to find & put back together.  I am so very glad I was able to locate the pictures and intel as this was a very special mission.  I was originally contacted by one of the members of the WWR from back east.  For the life of me, I cannot remember who it was.  They gave me the information that this is someone who was living near him in Georgia.  The family contacted me & the plans began to come together.  The family was flying in from Georgia with our heroes ashes, along with the fallen heroes wives ashes.  Since our hero and his beloved wife spent most of their years in southern California, and Monterey being one of their most memorable places, we set the plan to meet the family at a camp ground where they were staying in their RV.  Our heroes daughter Sue brought with her a shadow box containing her fathers medals and military insignia’s.  We staged up with approximately 10 bikes early in the morning in Pleasanton for the ride to Monterey (nearly 2 hours away).  In the meantime, I had been in contact with the Monterey FD.  The family’s plan was to have a burial at sea off a very popular pier in Monterey called Fisherman’s Wharf.  Not to be confused with the San Francisco Fisherman’s Wharf…  I made contact with FD Captain and asked if it was possible to have a fire truck standing by near the entrance to the Wharf.  With deep regret, the FD Captain told me he could not provide an ladder truck for our hero to hang a flag.  As this was going on, the Army FHD contacted me and we planned to do the flag folding and presentation at the end of the pier.  After this was confirmed, the fire Captain called me back to reiterate they could not provide a ladder truck, but he would bring their FIRE BOAT!  He said they would escort the family out to sea & provide a water canon salute.  Man, I was thrilled!!!  I did not tell this to the family as I wanted this to be a surprise.  With the plans confirmed, we got to our staging in Monterey where we met 6 more bikes from south bay PGR.  We then mounted our bikes and headed to the camp grounds to meet up with the family.  Our hero David lived in Hungary until he was 18 years old.  He then came to the United States and lived with relatives.  His English wasn’t that great, but he joined the Army anyway in 1941.  He was with First Engineer Special Brigade in which he drove amphibian duks.  He participated in three WWII invasions – Africa, Normandy (Omaha Beach) and Italy.  They used David’s knowledge of the German language to eaves drop on prisoners.  He served his country faithfully and honorably.  After he was discharged, he met Lilly in New York – during the blizzard of 1947.  They married & moved Colorado, which didn’t last long and they moved on to California.  There, he got a job at Lockheed Aircraft in Burbank, CA, where he retired 30 years later.  When David passed away, his daughter Sue told me that she was receiving emails from all over the world offering condolences.  Once we picked up the family, we headed towards Fisherman’s Wharf.  We parked together, got off our bikes, grabbed our flags and with the Army flag to the left and American flag to the right, the family in the middle, we escorted them down the pier to the entrance of their charter boat. This pier has many business on both sides of the walkway & at the time we arrived, there were thousands of people about.  It was an amazing sight to see the shopkeepers and all the folks on the pier stop what they were doing, some placing their hands over their heart & some even saluting.  Once at the Charter boat entrance, we were met by the US Army FHD.  We had the family standing in the middle of the pier, we formed a circle of flags around them and with Army directly in front of them, they proceed to do honors.  I looked around & saw so many onlookers captivated by what was happening.  At the same time, my phone started to buzz in my back pocket & I was expecting the FD Captain to call me.  I excused myself from the flag line & started to speak with the Captain.  I asked him where he was & he said “turn around”.  I turned and there he sat – right in the middle of the water, next to the charter boat.  Once military honors was complete & the flag was presented to the family, we stood a flag line for them to walk through, all the way to their chartered boat.  We said our goodbyes to the family with hugs and well-wishes & condolences.  Then we gathered at the end of the pier & watched as the fire boat escorted our family & their hero and mom to their final resting place at sea.  Several days later, one of David’s son Michael sent me a picture of the fire boat shooting the water cannon salute.  This took me by surprise & took my breath away.