The Connecticut Patriot Guard Riders started off the month with an Honor Mission on Aug 8th in Rockfall for Richard Rostosky, a Marine who served in Desert Storm. Two days later on Aug 11th we stood another Honor Mission in Hamden for Alfred Badale, a Navy veteran of WWII. The very next day we stood the third Honor Mission of a busy week. This one on Aug 12th in Wallingford for Jeffrey Carr, a fellow PGR member and a Marine veteran who served during the Beirut Conflict and in Lebanon. Aug 14th b rough another Honor Mission. This one on North Haven for Roger Baiocchi who served in the Army during the Korean War.
On Aug 19th, a large contingent of PGR along with other veterans organizations stood an Honor Mission for CPO Brian Bill, a SEAL who was killed when a Chinook helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan. Brian was a highly decorated combat veteran with three Bronze Stars along with numerous other awards. Two busloads of his fellow Special Warfare Operators attended the funeral service, along with many family, friends, and law enforcement officers. A very good showing of community support for this hero’s sacrifice.
On Aug 20th, we stood a Honor Mission on Plainfield for Pastor William Stephen Percy Jr, an Air Force veteran. On Aug 26th, approx. 35 motorcycles and half a dozen cages escorted the body of Army Sgt Edward Frank, a recent OEF casualty, from his arrival at Bradley Airport to the funeral home on Bloomfield. The next day, many members returned for an Honor Mission at the funeral home where military honors were rendered. Also on Aug 27th was a second Honor Mission, this one in Haddam and Northford for WWII Army veteran Charles Paul Tautvid, who served as a sharpshooter with the 188th Parachute Infantry. We had short notice but managed a good showing at yet a third mission on Aug27th, a Honor Mission in New Haven and Meriden for Sgt Jonathan Matthew Caruso, who served in the Marines, the Marine Corps Reserves, and the Army National Guard. Sgt Caruso participated in the liberation of Kuwait and served two tours in Iraq among other duty stations around the world.
On Sep 2nd,we stood an Honor Mission in Naugatuck for Marine Cpl Mathew Tooker, who served two tours in Afghanistan, and was wounded in action. Mathew left active duty in August and was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident shortly afterwards. The PGR escorted the family from their home to the funeral home where we were met by a large flag line of PGR members, supported by numerous MinuteMen Rider members.
The last mission for this issue was On Sep 3rd and was our only “feel good” mission for the past month. Marine Sgt Liam Dwyer was injured by an IED in Afghanistan on May, losing his left leg, suffering severe injuries to his right arm, and also sustaining injuries to his right leg and internally. Liam has been hospitalized since then at Walter Reed, under-going numerous surgeries and intensive rehabilitation. This was his first trip home on a weekend pass, and he was enjoying a Welcome-Home lunch with family and friends at a Middlebury restaurant. He was overwhelmed when 26 motorcycles and another 6 cages showed up at the restaurant to welcome him and provide an escort from the restaurant to his home in Southbury. A Middlebury fire engine and Middlebury and Southbury police also joined the escort to his home where we were met by a nice display of PGR, MMR, and friends standing a flag line showing their support for this hero’s service and sacrifice. This was definitely an emotional mission seeing the extent of his injuries, but realizing after listening to him talk that his positive attitude will enable him to overcome them and succeed at whatever he plans in life.
That’s it for the missions since the last CT Cruise News issue deadline. As always, we invite you to come out and join us in our mission to honor this country’s veterans at their funeral services. Come out to one, grab a Flag and stand alongside us, experience the same satisfaction the rest of us do. You’ll be back.
Go to www.patriotguard.org for more information or to join up.