Here is truly old Army iron. Left to right, SFC Mark Ounan with his 1918 Dodge, Ken Kafka
Terry Shelswell ramrodded the Convoy and put the necessary talent in place in the various departments to get the jobs done. Once the convoy hit the road, Terry "led from the front" in his own M-38A1 Jeep. Art Pope drove his own '42 Ford Staff car as the advance party made sure the stopping points were ready. The Maintenance trucks made innumerable stops while the convoy was underway, getting balky old rigs going along the roadside, or loading them up onto trailers when they could not. The hands-on guys, most commonly Bernie, Bob, and Ken Field, never had to worry about evening plans or days off. Likewise, Brad Nelson, the "Commo King," knew a fair part of his evening would be devoted to making sure the radios were collected and charged for the next day. And Dr. James Lawes, MD, the official Convoy sawbones, had no major catastrophes to deal with, but plenty of advice for keeping healthy along the way.
The Convoy was divided into groups by vehicle type, each with its own unit leader and tailgunner. The slowest vehicle, the '18 Dodge, was always at the front and setting the pace. Generally, that was about 32 mph, but the old timer pushed to 40 a few times. The really big iron came next, followed by the smaller stuff by group. In several states and a few cities, the Convoy got police escorts. There was only one incident, and while it was in the "major" category, it did not occur while the convoy was underway. In Rawlins, Wyoming, during a day of rest, motorcyclist Ian Wallace was struck by a car shortly after leaving a restaurant and was badly injured. Though hospitalized, Ian insisted that his damaged Royal Enfield motorcycle be loaded onto a trailer to complete the trip. This was done, and Ian is recovering well.
It was difficult to catch Convoy Commander Terry Shelswell in a stationary position for mo
When the Convoy reached the western terminus of the Lincoln Highway in San Francisco, they had driven 20 days, rested six, covered at least 3,250 miles and passed though 350 cities, towns or villages in 11 states. They drove unrestored portions of the original highway in several states, over dirt roads, through rainstorms and herds of range cattle. They met two people who remembered the original convoy passing through. Most of all, they experienced the heart and spirit of our great country in the love, support and respect heaped upon them by many thousands of Americans. Most of all, they cherished the veterans. Shelswell said it best in his wrap-up letter:
"We were encouraged and supported by far too many people to count! Our veterans standing there (rain or shine) straight as an arrow and saluting us. Somebody shoulda told them . . . we were doing it for them. They had it backwards."
So what's next
Maybe a Seattle to Alaska Convoy in 2012 to commemorate the building of the Alcan Highway. Don't be surprised to see 100-year recap of the TMC in 2019, either.
Veterans! These are the people the convoy came to honor-but, instead, they mirrored it. In
TMC '09 followed the course of the 1919 Convoy as much as possible. Each colored dot repre
The convoy had border-to-border police escorts through Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Indiana
Lincoln Highway Association
136 N. Elm Street
PO Box 308
Military Vehicle Preservation Association
PO Box 520378