MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. – --
Marines form 2nd Marine Logistics Regiment gathered to thank the Patriot Guard Riders who support service members throughout the community.
The riders met Marines from 2nd Marine Logistics Group aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, March 26.
“We put this together to show the Patriot Guard Riders our appreciation for all they have been doing for the Marine Logistics Group,” said Col. Dwayne A. Whiteside, commanding officer for Combat Logistics Regiment 2. “Rain, sleet or snow, these guys were out there to escort us back home.”
“The Patriot Guard Riders welcome back Marines and sailors coming home from deployments. They act as a shield for families from protestors and escort fallen service members as invited guests at military funer¬als,” said Mary Mathews, a family readiness officer for Combat Logistics Battalion 6.
“When we have our Marines and sailors coming back from deployments, we give the Patriot Guard Riders a call and they come out on their motorcycles and escort the buses back,” said Mathews. “We usually have upwards of 30 riders to escort the buses from Swansboro, to their armory and then eventu¬ally back here to the families.”
Many members of the Patriot Guard Riders are veterans who want to ensure today’s service members receive a welcome home, explained John Holmes, a veteran and Patriot Guard Rider.
“I am a Vietnam veteran as well as a Gulf War veteran, and when I came back from Vietnam, we didn’t get a welcome home. When I came back from the Gulf War we did get a welcome home and it was a great feeling,” said Holmes. “After I re¬tired, I met a member of the Patriot Guard Riders that I came to know as a friend; after that I joined, bought a motorcycle and have been escorting service members and run¬ning interference from protestors at funeral services for the families of our military ever since.”
Although it is a mission the riders take extremely seriously, they enjoy any moment they can give service members a welcome home.
“We just enjoy the living daylights out of being there (by) the buses when Marines and sailors get off, shaking their hands and saying ‘welcome home,’” said Holmes.
The Marines are thankful for the tremen¬dous support the riders have given them throughout the years, explained Whiteside.
“We really appreciate the support that they provide (for) the Marines,” said White¬side. “They welcome us home in class.”
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