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Patriot Guard Mission Report for Fallen Soldier PFC Shane R. Austin of Edgerton, Kansas
Services were held Friday October 20, 2006
Mission Report from Deems "Doc" Peterson
This was a four part mission. Phase one – a dozen riders and four cages met at KCI to escort the remains back home to Gardner. It was chilly with light rain and mist much of the way. Along with CAO Officers from Ft. Leavenworth, personnel from Bruce’s Funeral Home, and LEO support from Platte City, Gardner, and KS Highway Patrol, this was a successful transfer. Arriving at the funeral home in the chilly, misty, darkness of night we were greeted with 100 flags placed around the funeral home and 30 or 40 Patriot Guard. Members of Shane’s family and a couple of our riders served as pall bearers.
Phase two – a dozen riders volunteered to arrive early and place the 100 flags around the funeral home again. From 1330 hrs to 1900 hrs our riders rotated in and out to stand guard as friends and family came to show respect during the visitation.
Phase three – riders left home as early as 0300 hrs to ride (in 35 degree weather) the hundreds of miles to stand with us. We were 130+ riders as well as a number of cages. Standing guard around and in front of the school, our riders stood proud as we stood to honor this hero and his loving family. Our avenue of flags and the sound of bagpipes set the mood.
Phase four – involved the procession from Gardner to Ft. Leavenworth Cemetery. The fifty plus miles took over an hour and a half as we slowly traveled to our destination. Local citizens stood on streets and corners to show respect. Cars and semi’s pulled off the road. Many exited their vehicles to stand with hand over heart. Total strangers cried as we passed by. Our precession stretched over a mile in length including motorcycles, vans and cars. At the cemetery, the family was presented with a service flag signed by all our riders. Also an engraved plaque and a certificate signed by all our riders was also presented to the family. After “Taps” and the “volley” of rifle fire, we departed to leave the family in peace.
As always, this could not be done alone. Thanks goes out to all riders who gave up a day to honor this hero. Each and everyone of you played an important part. Special thanks to Keith Hawker for standing in as our Ride Chaplain. His moving invocation was a perfect way to start the day. Thanks to “Boondocker”, Jerry Godell, and Dave “Wheel Officer” for leading ride-ins to the staging area. Thanks to Ronda and Darice of Soldiers Angels for supplying doughnuts and coffee. For transporting the flags and for presenting Soldiers Angels Medallions to the family. Thanks to the many who volunteered to help plant flags at the visitation and the escort from KCI. Thanks to SARDog and his boisterous vocal chords for traffic control and staging help. Thanks to Sparks and Steamer and members of ALR Post #370 for all the extra effort they offered. As always the professional work done by Cpt. Wiley and his staff at CAO, Ft. Leavenworth was outstanding. The care and concern they show the family is more than impressive. Of all the missions we have done, I have never seen such professionalism and cooperation by any LEO as we experienced in Gardner. Special thanks to the Mayor and Chief of Police for a job well done. The planning with their own officers, the Sheriff’s Office, and the Kansas Highway Patrol was extremely well coordinated.
Thanks again to all. The family of PFC Shane Austin was overwhelmed with our support. “As an individual we can do little, as a group we can accomplish much”. Well done brothers and sisters. I’m proud to be associated with each and everyone of you.