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Patriotic Article
Heroes and Patriots

By USMC LCpl. Thomas Provost

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Honor Ride Honors Fallen Marine
(October 25, 2010)

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USMC Capt. Joshua S. MeadowsCAMP LEJEUNE, North Carolina (Oct. 20, 2010) - Peddling at an average of nearly 20 mph three days in a row, from dawn to dusk, four Marines along with seven others from various police and military organizations rode their bicycles the equivalent of more than 17 marathons to honor a fallen hero, Capt. Joshua S. Meadows.

Meadows of 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command, died Sept. 5, 2009 while conducting combat operations in Farah Province, Afghanistan, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The City of Duluth Police Department, founders of Operation One Voice, chose Meadows for their annual Honor Ride. This is the fourth Honor Ride.

Each year since the Honor Ride first began in 2007, it has honored a fallen service member from each service component of U.S. Special Operations Command. This year it was a fallen MARSOC Marine's turn to be honored.
A team of 11 riders from MARSOC, Duluth Police Department, Tallahassee Police Department, Tallahassee Fire Department, Air Force Special Operations Command and the North Carolina State Highway Patrol rode more than 465 miles from Sept. 7 to Sept. 9, snaking down country highways, small towns and cities. The ride began in Duluth, Ga., and ended with a closing ceremony Sept. 10 at the Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command headquarters aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C. Two North Carolina State Highway Patrolmen joined the team at the state line for the last day of riding.

In past honor rides, the riders would take turns being on the road, each riding different legs of the journey.
From left, Capt. Christopher Tousant and Gunnery Sgt. Joshua Chmielewski of U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command race towards Marion, S.C., Sept. 8, 2010. MARSOC Marines, along with riders from various other public service and military commands, are participating in the fourth annual City of Duluth Police Department, Operation One Voice Honor Ride, covering a distance of 465 miles over the course of three days.
From left, Capt. Christopher Tousant and Gunnery Sgt. Joshua Chmielewski of U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command race towards Marion, S.C., Sept. 8, 2010.
“Our plan was not to ride the whole thing - the mileage was a little overwhelming,” said Capt. Christopher Tousant, 1st MSOB, MARSOC.
But as stereotypical Marines do, they wanted an even greater challenge, so they rode the whole way.

The Marines rode the entire planned distance the first and third days without splitting up the distance into relays as was done in past Honor Rides. This is the first time in Honor Ride history a team has done this.

“We got on the road the first day and it was painful, to say the least,” Tousant said. But as time went on, the riding got easier each day, he added.

It was not just about a challenge to the Marines, it was also the opportunity to honor a fallen comrade.

“I think it's a great opportunity to honor the fallen MARSOC Marines,” said Capt. David Snipes, MARSOC. “It's just a matter of digging deep and making sure we are honoring them.”

The ride officially ended Sept. 10 with a ceremony at MARSOC headquarters where MARSOC Commander, Maj. Gen. Paul E. Lefebvre, and a formation of more than 40 Marines greeted them. An exchange of plaques and the donation of a specialized custom bike to the command followed.

According to the website, Operation One Voice is a program designed to raise funds in support of the children and families of wounded and fallen special operations service members. However, the Honor Ride has never been a fundraiser. Its sole mission was to honor fallen service members.

“We all feel it is just too easy to say, ‘I support you,' but it builds pride and fellowship to go out and sweat with the special operations forces guys that we are supporting,” said Lt. Bill Stevens, Duluth Police Department. 
Article and photo by USMC LCpl. Thomas Provost
Marines Special Operations Command PAO
Copyright 2010

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