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Old 10-08-2007, 12:04
Carl Shefferd Carl Shefferd is offline
Echo-Charlie Ranger
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 396
Default SFC Matthew D. Blaskowski

10-4-07. Doc Willey and I rode North to Cheboygan, Michigan to attend the funeral of an exceptional soldier. SFC Matthew D. Blaskowski, 27 of Levering, Michigan. SFC Blaskowski was killed in action while serving with the 173d Airborne Brigade on combat operations in Afghanistan.

Having been asked to go and represent the Society of the 173d Airborne Brigade and Chapter 17 we also attended as Patriot Guard Riders. It was a very busy and emotionally draining day.

I tell you, nobody breaks out to serve their community and their veterans like rural America. There isn't a big city in the country that can compare to what we witnessed on 10-4-07. - I set my alarm to 0500, got dressed and walked down main street 'til I found an open restaurant. There were many locals inside and I got the hairy eyeball from all of them. Being dressed in my leathers they soon asked if I was in town to attend the funeral. After the initial words were spoken I was treated like I was someone special. (usually I get run out of town by the local gestapo.) The waitress said my breakfast was free as someone came in and layed down $300. to cover the cost of breakfast to any volunteer who show up to go to the funeral. - After returning to the hotel, showering and changing to class A uniform I met the honor guard, Matthew's beautiful wife and Matthew's best friend, SSG ? The Army had allowed him to take an early R&R to go to his friends funeral. (Pardon me but I didn't take notes and my memory sucks.) They had been up partying together so I did the duty of passing out Excedrine and cups of water to swallow them down with. (some traditions in the Airborne never change)

The funeral at the local high school was standing room only. Afterward the procession wound through the downtown area and approximately 8 miles to the cemetary. Everyone that could not go to the high school lined the procession route and honestly there were so many people you'd think it was a 4th of July parade instead of a funeral. After the procession left the city limits people from the outskirts stood by the road to honor their fallen hero and to give him one last goodbye. Amazing! - There was also a good 200 bikes in the procession from Patriot Guard Riders. Our own Doc Willey was asked to lead the procession behing law enforcement as he and 5 others were flying full sized flags from their bikes. - Law enforcement was well represented as there were officers from the local police, county sheriff and the state police.

If any of you would care to join Patriot Guard Riders it doesn't cost you anything but time invested, gasoline to get there and back and maybe a few shed tears if you get emotional like I do. There is no pressure because it is all voluntary and you come and donate what time you can. You will find there's a lot of good people like yourselves out there and maybe make some new friends because of it.

Shep, out!
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Old 10-08-2007, 14:08
Warhorse Warhorse is offline
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Tower Hill, Illinois
Posts: 382

Again Shep, I appreciate all the effort you put into the these things you do for our veterans that have given their all. (JP)
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Old 10-08-2007, 21:18
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photog101 photog101 is offline
Abn Inf
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: S.E. Michigan
Posts: 307

It is always my extreme honor and pleasure to attend another PGR event. Most of the times it is a sombering time and sometimes it causes me greif. However I look at it as psychotherapy in dealing with my own PTSD. Unfortunately, I can't do the grave side attendances. I still have not worked that into my psychological rucksack.

Here are a couple of attached photos from some of the bikes that showed up before the flag line was in place. I am glad that I took these when I did, as later there was very few parking spaces left, with the over 3000 attendees to the funeral. First was a Catholic Mass and then there was a Military representation.

As Shep stated, this was small town Cheboyagan, MI and there were people that lined the streets to show their support for the family and their condolences for the loss of a good man. Even on the back roads to the cemetary, every house had someone standing outside with either a flag, or their hand over their heart. There were even little children with heads bowed. Everyone showed nothing but respect, no cheering, just solomn faces. There was a couple of times that I was getting misty eyed in the procession, and I am trying to hold up that 900# bike at less than 5 MPH at times. It was a tough day, but Airborne brothers do what has to be done.

Fortunately, PGR does more than just funerals. Missions for Welcome Home are also in order at times. That was so on Sunday morning at 08:00 hrs when there were 10 riders that went to the house of LT Shull in Canton, MI., less than an hour after he landed at Metro Airport. LT Shull is a JAG officer returning from the big sandbox. He has two brothers that are currently in the Marines. Not only that, their father was a Vietnam Veteran as a helicopter pilot.

These welcome home events are the ones that really help me with my traumas. Sometimes I even feel guilty that it is helping me, but if I can't take care of myself, I surly can't take care of my brothers.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMG_3927 (Medium).JPG (75.7 KB, 6 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_3929 (Medium).JPG (87.6 KB, 5 views)
"Doc Willey"

1st Brigade (seperate) 101st Airborne Div. (1966-67)
HHC 1/327 Mortar Platoon, Brigade PIO (Tiger Force 1/327, Hawks 2/327, Recondos 2/502)
82nd Airborne Division (1967-68)
Lead Deployment for Div. Arty.
Proud Father of a Ranger
(SP4 James M. Willey-91W @ C co 1st BN 75th Rangers at HAAF before ETS 2006)
When one American is not worth the effort to be found, We as Americans have lost.
I am a Combat American Veteran. This is America. Speak English or leave.
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Old 11-19-2009, 19:42
gunman5921 gunman5921 is offline
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 2

i am a british soldier who has recently served in iraq and afghan i think the american army are fantastic.i dont have enough good words to say about you guys i would honestly love to do a year long posting. i have started reading about the lrps in vietnam. and i would like to speak to vets my father spent time in borneo during the same period. so please contact me thanks
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Old 11-19-2009, 20:04
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Administrator Administrator is offline
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Look Behind You
Posts: 875

Shep and Doc will always be there to Honor our Lost Brothers. Thank you guys for your efforts,
You Have Never Lived Until You Have Almost Died; For Those Who Have fought For It, Life Has A Special flavor the Protected will Never Know.
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Old 11-19-2009, 20:09
gunman5921 gunman5921 is offline
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 2

At The Going Down Of The Sun And In The Morning We Shall Remember Them
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