Centennial convoy to arrive in Fallon ahead of 9-11 remembrance
LVN Editor Emeritus
Although “The War to End all Wars” ended with a cease fire in Europe on Nov. 11, 1918, the U.S. military still had months of work ahead of it.
The government began the arduous task of bringing home thousands of soldier, sailors, vehicles and tanks via ships across the Atlantic Ocean, a project that took months to complete. Less than a year after the war’s ceasefire, the U.S. Army conducted a convoy during the summer of 1919 that crossed the United States along the Lincoln Highway, beginning at Washington, D.C., and ending 62 days later at San Francisco’s Lincoln Park.
The first motor transport convoy to cross the United States met two major objectives by evaluating the cross-country performance of various military vehicles and thanking the American people for their support during the war.
The Military Vehicle Preservation Association (MVPA) based in Independence, Mo., is recreating the 1919 journey and will be stopping in Fallon on Sept. 9 for four days including Patriot’s Day when the nation remembers the events of Sept. 11, 2001. On that day, two passenger jets flew into the World Trade Tower, another slammed into the side of The Pentagon and the fourth plowed into a field in western Pennsylvania. More than 3,000 people died that day at the three locations.
The city of Fallon’s annual 911 remembrance ceremony will be conducted on Sept. 11 at the City Hall Courtyard to honor and remember first responders and military personnel and other people who lost their lives on that Tuesday morning 18 years ago.
A time for the 911 remembrance will be announced this week. Check the LVN website and Facebook page for the latest information.
MVPA spokesman J.T. Gillich said from Laramie, Wyo., earlier this week the convoy has been averaging upward to 170 miles per day on its journey and should be pulling into Fallon sometime Monday afternoon. The convoy crosses into eastern Nevada from Delta, Utah, later this week. Gillich, who lives in Reno, said the convoy participants will bed down at the same park in Ely where the original convoy camped.
“We’re averaging about 30 to 35 mph,” he said. “During the morning we have one to two breaks and then lunch. In the afternoon, we have one to two breaks and then our stop for the night”
Lucy Carnahan, executive director of the Fallon Chamber of Commerce, has been in contact with convoy participants for about a month. She said the convoy will be coming to the Lahontan Valley from Austin, 110 miles away. Gillich said the convoy will follow part of U.S. Highway 50 before taking the original Lincoln Highway over Carroll Summit and to Eastgate. From there, the convoy rejoins U.S. 50 several miles east of Middlegate Station.
Gillich said the convoy participants will meet with Fallon Mayor Ken Tedford sometime Monday afternoon or early evening at the Churchill County Fairgrounds. On Tuesday, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1002 will provide lunch for the convoy’s participants, and American Legion Post 16 will host dinner. On Sept. 1, Gillich said the vehicles will be on display for the city’s 911 remembrance. Check the LVN website and Facebook page for the latest times.
Carnahan said she would like to see Churchill County residents line Williams Avenue (U.S. 50) and other streets to the fairgrounds when the convoy arrives in Fallon. The convoy of privately owned historic military vehicles from WWI through to current-issue military vehicles includes cargo trucks, through to Harley Davidson WLA motorcycles, staff cars and jeeps to later model M913 5-ton cargo trucks.
“We’ll have about 40 military vehicles and eight civilian support units,” he added. “We’re traveling in marked groups. The headquarters section is in the front followed by heavy trucks, small vehicles and a recovery unit.”
Fallon was a major stop on the Lincoln Highway, the first transcontinental road for automobiles in the United States that was dedicated in 1913. As for the centennial convoy, the vehicles departed York, Pa., on Aug. 11 and are expected to arrive in San Francisco on Sept. 14 with prior stops in Carson City and Placerville, Calif.
According to the World War I Museum in Kansas City, Mo., “At that time, the Lincoln ‘Highway’ was a series of roads with conditions that ranged from poured concrete to tracks across quicksand, tracks across alkali mud and across bridges that gave way under the weight of these vehicles. The trip was grueling, and the daily average was 59 miles per day and about 6 mph.”
A young lieutenant colonel and future World War II general and U.S. president, Dwight D. Eisenhower, was one of 37 officers on the convoy along with 258 enlisted men. The convoy had 81 vehicles making the journey.
The convoy leaves Fallon Thursday morning (Sept. 12) for Carson City and will take a lunch break at the Nevada State Railroad Museum’s parking lot from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Then, the convoy continues over the Sierra to Placerville to bed down for the night. The museum welcomes the public to inspect the vehicles in the convoy.
Established in 1976, the non-profit MVPA is dedicated to providing an international organization for military vehicle enthusiasts, historians, preservationists and collectors interested in the acquisition, restoration, preservation, safe operation and public education of historic military transport.
See actual video of the 1919 convoy on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tgFiBeq66-E&t=301s
NEVER FORGET 9/11
On Saturday, the Iron Nation M/C is conducting its 18th annual memorial ride, Never Forget 9/11 Memorial Ride.
Not only will participants be able to remember the events from Sept. 11, 2001, but with their entry fees, they will also be supporting Honor Flight Nevada.
Sign-ins will be from 9-11 a.m. at Reno’s Wingfield Park with a ceremony at noon and a parade to follow at 1 p.m.
The cost is $20 single rider or $30 with a passenger. Outback Steakhouse is sponsoring lunch, and the Biggest Little Beer Truck is providing the beverages. Valentine Rodeo will have live music.
For information or if interested in donating or volunteering, call Shelly at 775-636-1294.
The Carson City Christian Ministerial Fellowship will gather at 6 p.m. on Sept. 11 at the 9/11 Memorial site located near the entrance of the Marv Teixeira Pavilion and the Carson & Mills Park Railroad.
The time will give those in attendance a time to reflect, to pray and remember the horror of that September day when more than 3,000 people, including those on the four jets, died that morning at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and Pennsylvania.
Several representatives from Carson City and the state of Nevada will speak, mingled with prayers offered by local pastors.
The city of Fernley and the Nevada Veterans Coalition will conduct a ceremony at 10 a.m. on Sept. 11 at the Out of Town Park’s gazebo.
The Fernley remembrance features several speakers who discuss the importance to remember the day when 19 terrorists hijacked four jets.