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Historic Military Convoy makes stop in Connell

Updated: Aug 31, 2022

Aug 18, 2022

By: Katherine Trowbridge

It was a sight to behold as historic military vehicles made their way down SR 260 into Connell (pictured). The Military Vehicle Preservation Association (MVPA)’s Convoy through the original 1924 National Park-to-Park Route and segments of the Lewis and Clark and Oregon Trail routes took their morning break in Connell. Several from across the N. Franklin community came out to view the vehicles and talk with the MVPA as they shared stories, history, and all about the vehicles themselves. There aren’t too many of these vehicles left, Lieutenant Dan McCluskey, Convoy Commander who headed up the convoy told the Franklin County Graphic. We are working to preserve them while honoring the Veterans, active duty Servicemembers, and First Responders. The MVPA plans and executes cross country convoys of privately owned historical military vehicles over historic and, usually, military significant routes to celebrate Veterans and Servicemen all while promoting the education and the remembrances of our history.

The MVPA brought a variety of vehicles from WWII to recently retired. While many expressed they would have liked to have seen some armored vehicles or tanks, they were pleased to see the variety and the history that was represented. It was a thrill to stand next to these historic vehicles who in their own way put forth so much for freedom over the years. One can only imagine the stories they hold.

The convoy included Veterans, many from the Vietnam era, and one from WWII. Ray, a Navy man, was riding with his son-in-law, a Marine, in one of the Jeeps. Ray’s family owns a ranch in Arizona. He told us he and his brothers decided to go in together as a pact as long as they all joined the Navy. Ray served in the South Pacific fleet from the Wake Islands as far south as the Solomon’s, near Australia. He also traveled back and forth to Pearl Harbor and Guam; serving on a fleet tug. There were about eight to 10 tugs per fleet. His middle brother served the longest voyage ending up in Maine and having to hitchhike home. All five returned home. A cousin joined up following the war and served the longest in the family.

One drove the furthest to join the convoy, all the way from Maryland. Seven members of the convoy were from New Zealand. The Sheriff, as he was introduced, stated he always wanted to come to America and drive a convertible Mustang across the country. For him, this experience is even better than his dream, even though there are no Mustangs involved.

Claudia Bingham stated, “What a sight to see and what a privilege to witness all the Veterans that were at Pioneer Park this morning. I walked around talking to many of the service men. Connie and Rick and Rick’s daughter, Molly, (age44) converted an old school bus into a motorhome. Rick’s daughter has Cerebral Palsy and is in a wheelchair, but she goes everywhere with her Dad and Connie. Their bus had pictures of nine family members who were in the military, four of them are still alive.” The three-some has been a part of the convoy since its beginnings back in 2009.

Ken Crawford, a local Veteran, enjoyed talking with a Chief Warrant Officer about their time in the service and what they did. The Chief Warrant Officer was in charge of the motor pool for maintenance on the vehicles. They also talked about how there used to be a driver and co-driver and truck commander for that particular type of vehicle. Now there is just the driver and truck commander on the vehicle. Crawford served in each of these positions in his two tours to Iraq. Crawford enjoyed getting to see the vehicles and interact with the convoy while sharing his own history with his daughter.

KaTrina Kunkel, a council member and owner of Kaffrin’s Coffee, expressed how great it was to see the convoy stating, “We loved getting to see the old military vehicles and chit-chat with their drivers and Veterans.” Kunkel coordinated with the FCG, and Lieutenant Dan to provide coffee for the members on their morning stop in Connell. She added, “I hope they come back to Connell every year.”

The Convoy left Connell heading west on SR 260 to Hwy 17 heading to a lunch stop in Othello. During their 15 day, 1600 mile trek they will visit Palouse Falls, Mt. Rainier, Mt. St. Helens, Ft. Stevens, WWII Coastal Defense Positions, Ft. Clatsop, the Spruce Goose airplane, Mt. Hood and the CCC built Timberline Lodge. They will also visit Sisters, John Day, Baker City, Or., Hells Canyon, and travel segments of the Lewis and Clark and Oregon Trail. The convoy will arrive back at their starting point near Kamiah, Id. on Aug. 27. The convoy typically travels around 35 mph for about 100-150 miles per day, primarily along state and local routes, a few are gravel roads. Stopping points become static shows to present the historic military vehicles to the public.

The MVPA is a convoy of privately owned historic military vehicles of all eras, and welcomes new members to join. You can find more information about the MVPA at:

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