Tuesday, January 29, 2008

SFC Matthew Ryan Kahler, 29, of Granite Falls, MN

Tonight, Minnesota again mourns the loss of another hero.

Sgt. 1st Class Matthew R. Kahler, 29, of Granite Falls, Minn., died Jan. 26 at Forward Operating Base Fenty, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered from small arms fire in Waygul, Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment (Airborne), 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, Vicenza, Italy.

We are in contact with the Casualty Assistance Officer who will be supporting SFC Matthew Ryan Kahler's family through the coming days. The family has invited the Patriot Guard Riders to attend the services as the invited guests of the family. Until more information is available, we ask you to keep his loved ones in your thoughts or prayers.

Please check the mission thread for details:

Rest in peace, SFC Kahler. We have the watch.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Warmth in the Deep Freeze

Many of you stood recently in subzero temperatures to honor Joshua Anderson and Matthew Pionk. We can't thank you enough.

The mission for Matthew in Superior was truly bone-chilling, with temps of -22 and windchills of -50. If you haven't seen the mission report from RCs Pete Prudhomme and Denny Padora, it's worth the read. PGR members (I know Denny among them) were asked to help carry Matthew into the church the morning of his funeral. What an honor.

I am told that one man stood the flag line for Joshua Anderson a week after having open heart surgery. (Sir, I want to both berate you and salute you for that. You amaze me, and you scared a couple of RCs.)

Joshua's mother Lynn made the rounds of the flag line more than once each time the PGR stood for her son. She sent the following letter to RC John Redfield.

I'm not sure which "Santa Claus" she refers to, since there is more than one white beard in our crowd. Maybe it was a quiet guy named Gene who shows up without fanfare at countless missions...or maybe it was someone else. Whoever you are, you and many others made a difference to a Proud Mom.

I just want to say Thank you again for being there for our son. All of you guys were so loving and supportive. By the end of the 3 days I felt like you were all family.

I almost hated saying goodbye at Fort Snelling. I truly missed hugging Santa Claus for the last time, I missed him being there. I really just can't say thank you enough, I salute all of you and am glad there is a group like you. God Bless you all.

Lynn Anderson
Proud MOM of SPC Joshua Anderson

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Let's Remember to say Thank You to our Veterans

While attending the funeral of PFC Jesse Caballero in Mankato, a gentleman approached where we were sitting and informed us that while he was older than Jesse, he had been a long time friend, and that he himself had served 4 years overseas in the Army during WWII. He had lost his brothers due to complications arising from their service in the war. Then he walked across the room and sat down beside his wife. I was busy digging for the Thank You cards that we normally give to returning War on Terror personnel. I went over and slipped him one of the cards and returned to my seat.

After a few minutes, this gentleman returned to our table and with his eyes full of tears, he said, "Thank you for presenting me with the most wonderful present I've ever gotten. Although I'm not sure I am deserving of such an honor." Coop and I assured him he was and we were proud of the sacrifices he'd made in defending our freedoms.

What's on the card you ask:

Dear American Hero,

I am not certain as to how to express my gratitude for all you have done to secure my freedom. Please accept this simple card as a small token of my appreciation.

A grateful American Citizen.

And on the flip side:

Thank You For Your Service and Dedication to Our Country!

We remember to thank the War on Terror kids, and the Vietnam Veterans, let's not forget to thank all veterans, especially those WWII veterans who are dying at the rate of over 1,000 per day. It doesn't take much time to say Thank You and I know it sure made an impact on the veteran mentioned above.

Friday, January 18, 2008

SFC Matthew I. Pionk, 30, Superior, WI

I apologize that this posting is so late; I thought I hit "submit" two days ago and just now realized it was not posted.

SFC Matthew Pionk died in Iraq on January 9, of wounds received from an improvised explosive device. His family has invited us to celebrate his life and stand in honor of his sacrifice.

This mission is in Superior, WI - tomorrow, January 19. Our neighboring state has been hit hard with casualties recently, and requested that Ride Captains from Duluth help out by organizing this mission. Together...we live up to the phrase "no borders."

Please check the mission thread for details:

If you are able to attend - please stay warm, and be SAFE. The windchills predicted for tomorrow are in the -40 range.

Rest in peace, SFC Pionk. We have the watch.

Friday, January 11, 2008

A Letter from Camp Victory, Iraq

I wanted to share a letter that John Redfield, SW Metro Ride Captain, received regarding the mission in honor of Spc. Joshua Anderson.

Mr Redfield~

I want to take a moment to thank you for organizing and being a part of this detail to honor Josh. I did not know him personally, but I am apart of every operation that 6-8 has partaken in. I am stationed at 3ID HQ at Camp Victory, Iraq. When I learned of Josh being from MN, I knew beyond a doubt that his family and friends would be shown the dignity, respect, and honor that Josh deserves if the PGR was requested.

I sincerely thank you all for your commitment to honoring the service of our military men and women. I pray for your safety on your travels to and from the "Welcome Home's" and the Memorial Services. (May the weather cooperate, also.)



Tuesday, January 8, 2008

SPC Andrew Hanson, Hero and Patriot

MN National Guard SPC Andrew Hanson was injured 21 May 2007 when the Humvee he was driving was struck by a roadside bomb in Iraq. Due to the severity of injury to his legs, it was necessary to amputate his right leg below the knee and his left leg at the knee.

Andrew is home in Luverne, MN for a short visit before returning back to Walter Reed Army Hospital where he's been recuperating.

The following is the mission report for Andrew's benefit in Luverne, MN Sun 06 Jan 2007

We had a wonderful day in Luverne at the American Legion during Andrew's Benefit. I believe there were 17 PGR members on the flag line and another 10 or so PGR/Rolling Thunder members who stopped by for some delicious pancakes and to show their support and gratitude to Andrew.

A very big THANK YOU to our friends and neighbors to the west in SD for their awesome support. We were joined by the SD State Capt, 3 RC's and their State HOTH Coordinator!! Tom and Company: Please express our gratitude to the rest of your members!

When I arrived about 8:45 we already had two members manning the flag line. With more joining us, we stood the line until approximately 10:15 AM when Andrew and his family arrived. After greeting them outside, we followed them into the Legion. Andrew was greeted with a very warm welcome by all in attendance. We then stood the flag line as a tribute song was sung for Andrew and filed back outside to reform the line. We were humbled by the gracious applause we received and also the many positive comments we received as we rotated manning the flag line and eating/visiting with the good people inside.

Thanks again for all your support! I continue to be so very proud and amazed at the passion each of you shows for our mission of Honor, Dignity and Respect!

Paul Ramsbey, Worthington Ride Captain

Friday, January 4, 2008

Pfc Joshua R. Anderson of Jordan, MN

Tonight, Minnesota mourns the loss of another hero.

Pfc. Joshua R. Anderson, 24, of Jordan, Minn., died Jan 2 in Kamasia, Iraq, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle. He was assigned to the 6th Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga.

We are in contact with the Casualty Assistance Officer who will be supporting Pfc Anderson's family through the coming days. Until more information is available, we ask you to keep his loved ones in your thoughts or prayers.