Reply To: Welcome Home, Austin, TX, 01 MAY 2011

Austin Patriot Guard Riders Forums Completed Missions Welcome Home, Austin, TX, 01 MAY 2011 Reply To: Welcome Home, Austin, TX, 01 MAY 2011


Quite a good day yesterday as we welcomed home SPC Clakley. His family hadn't told him that PGR was going to be there. All went smoothly at ABIA, 4 Riders parked right out front of the terminal with the family POV behind us. The flight was on time for it's 1355 hrs arrival, SPC Clakley, rucksack on his back, along with his Wife, Mother and Dad were on the curb at 1404. As they stepped out of the terminal and saw the 3 bikes and a trike with Old Glories waving, SPC Clackey dropped the sack, looked at his feet then approached us as we gave a grand ovation! He was almost in tears and could not stop thanking us. Introductions were made and more thank you's exchanged.

A quick call to Sam at off airport staging to let him know we were about to roll and we were off, 3 bikes in front and WW II, Korea and VN Vet Bud Barton riding tailgunner behind the family F-250. We arrived at the apartment complex right around 1430 hrs- unbeknown to any of us what was happening in Pakistan at that very moment. As we rounded the corner we passed through a flagline of 20 PGR and family/ friends that were awaiting us. Bob Binkley, who recently had some pretty serious surgery, and Keith Longacre who took time away from his 29th wedding anniversary were among those who made it.

Again, SPC Clakley was almost in tears, this was pleasant surprise number 2 for him in a very short period of time.

We clapped. We cheered. Sam led a HIP HIP HOORAY chant. As we were talking with the SPC and family, his Mother asked Eric to tell us about how he earned his Purple Heart. He told of having been driving a truck in Afghanistan on 27 Dec., 2010 when an IED with a 450 pound charge exploded under the vehicle, flipping it twice. His LT was the worst off, but all on board were injured. SPC Clakley took shrapnel wounds to the chest and (in his words) his leg was messed up pretty bad. He added, "But I'm WALKING!"

He also mentioned how the U.S. personnel in the war know about the PGR, that they know what we do. He was moved deeply to have received the welcome home that he got.

As weather began rolling in, we said farewells and moved out. All except Bud, anyway. Last we saw, they were all sitting on a stone wall, swinging their legs- smiling and waving.

Yes. 'Twas indeed a good day!