By Daria Anderson-Faden
The Observer 

Military Vehicle Convoy Overnights At Gotte Park


September 5, 2019

Daria Anderson-Faden / The Observer

The Yes Ma'am Singers from Bayard performed their World War II USO show during the military vehicle convoy's visit to Gotte Park in Kimball.

Kimball rolled out the red carpet for the Military Vehicle Preservation Association convoy on their 38 day, 3,200 mile trek across the country.

The convoy, between 40-50 vehicles, overnighted at Gotte Park on August 29. The town celebrated the convoy and military service, and the celebration was complete with entertainment and a V.F.W. hamburger feed.

The convoy travelled from North Platte to Kimball on Day 20 of their schedule.

The Military Vehicle Preservation Association convoy left York, PA on August 10 after their annual convention and headed west along the Lincoln Highway and will end up in San Francisco, CA on Sept. 10.

The trip is retracing the original 1919 U.S. Army Transcontinental Motor Convoy at the conclusion of World War I, the current convoy is celebrating the 100 anniversary of the 1919 convoy.

The original convoy had 93 vehicles including motorcycles, Dodge staff cars, 3-1/2 ton and 5-ton trucks.

In 1919, then Lt. Col. Dwight D. Eisenhower, observed the convoy. He said it was “a test of durability and (a way) to thank the American People for support during World War I.”

Although Eisenhower did not travel continuously with the convoy, he observed it and wrote reports. During his observations he stayed overnight in Big Springs at the Phelps Hotel. His wife, Mamie was with him in Big Springs.

The purpose of the convoy mission in 1919 was, according to commander of the current convoy, Dan McCluskey: “Two things, two missions, one was to promote the idea of good roads, the army realized early on that these new automobiles and these new trucks couldn’t be driven like the horse drawn or oxen drawn wagons, who could go through anything, dirt roads, mud, anything, they could go right through them. They were trying get the word out and also promote the idea of the Lincoln Highway. They were promoting this whole concept of a sea to sea highway.” McCluskey continued, “Their second motive was to learn the logistics of doing a move clear across the country. They had never tried moving across country without rail.”

On Thursday, the oldest vehicle in the convoy, a 1918 Dodge staff car, could be seen being pulled on a trailer. It had operated perfectly until just after lunch on the 29th. McCluskey said, “It was like it just needed a nap after lunch.”

By 7 a.m. The following morning, the convoy was on its way to the next stop, Laramie.

Independence, Mo., is the headquarters for the Military Vehicle Preservation Association, which was created in 1976 as a nonprofit organization for the “collection, restoration, preservation of historical ground transportation.”

Daria Anderson-Faden / The Observer

The oldest vehicle in the convoy, a 1918 Dodge staff car, needed a little lift after lunch. It had run perfectly all the way from Pennsylvania but just quit.


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