Historic military vehicles in Wyoming, re-creating 1919 trans-continental convoy route - Casper, WY Oil City News
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Historic military vehicles in Wyoming, re-creating 1919 trans-continental convoy route

(Courtesy of the Military Vehicle Preservation Association)

CASPER, Wyo. — 42 historic military vehicles along with ten support vehicles rolled into Wyoming on Friday, Aug. 30 as they make their way across the country.

The convoy celebrates the 100 year anniversary of a 1919 United States Army Transcontinental Motor Convoy across the then-new Lincoln Highway.

The Lincoln Highway was dedicated in 1913.

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“We are commemorating the army doing this in 1919,” says Dan McCluskey, commander for the Military Vehicle Preservation Association-organized convoy.

This live tracker details the current location of the convoy.

The 2019 convoy includes a 1918 Dodge staff car, a World War I era vehicle used in the original convoy. McCluskey adds that there are a number of World War II era jeeps as well as WWII and Vietnam era cargo trucks.

He adds that the centennial convoy has military vehicles from more recent eras as well. All of the vehicles are privately owned with veterans driving about 60%.

The remaining drivers are military vehicle collectors.

“In 1919 the US Army decided to plan and execute a motor convoy of various military vehicles across the country on the newly formed Lincoln Highway,” the MVPA says. “In general, the route began at the Ellipse, in Washington, DC and ended at Lincoln Park, in San Francisco, CA – some 3,250 miles and 62 days later.”

McCluskey says that the 2019 convoy began in York, Pennsylvania because construction in the nation’s capitol didn’t allow them to replicate that aspect.

People are invited to come and see the vehicles and talk with the drivers at stops along their journey.

McCluskey says that in addition to celebrating military history, the convoy is a celebration of American military veterans.

He says the convoy moves at about 35 mph.

“We expect breakdowns,” McCluskey adds, noting that they’ve had about one per day since they set out after the MVPA convention Aug. 10.

When a vehicle breaks down, support vehicles help repair it and load it onto a trailer to catch up with the convoy.

McCluskey says they are making better time than the original convoy which took 63 days to cross the country.

“They had much more breakdowns than we do,” he says.

The original convoy not only had to deal with vehicle breakdowns, but also had to pause to repair or make temporary bridges.

“Two objectives [of the original convoy], among several were to 1) evaluate the cross-country performance of various military vehicles and 2) thank the American people for their support of the US initiative during WWI,” the MVPA says.

“This would become the first motor transport convoy ever to cross the US.”

When Oil City spoke with McCluskey on Friday, the convoy was at the Abraham Lincoln Memorial Monument outside of Cheyenne along I-80.

“2019 will mark the 100th anniversary of this pivotal convoy and the 210th anniversary of the birth of its namesake — Abraham Lincoln,” the MVPA says. “His name…inspires millions of people today as he did during his life.”

The 2019 convoy expects to cross the country in 37 days, 26 days faster than the original convoy.

The convoy will arrive in Laramie today where they will stay at the local National Guard Armory.

They’ll rest in Laramie on Saturday before hitting the road again on Sunday.

On Sunday, they’ll stop in Medicine Bow for lunch before moving on to Rawlins, where they will stay at the Carbon County Fairgrounds.

They’ll then head to Green River on Monday before continuing on to Evanston on Tuesday.

The convoy is expected to arrive at its final destination in San Francisco on Sept. 14.