Rolling Honor Riders: Keeping The Memory Alive

July 27, 2008

It’s my honor to be able to tell our readers about a very special group of men, who got on their motorcycles and made a cross-country trip to visit the graves of 4 Soldiers that served with one of them. At each stop, the men also took the time to visit with the families of the fallen, share their grief and their memories. It’s been almost two years since the deaths of their friends, yet their memory remains a strong one and for 1SG Paul Alkire, the ride is most likely a therapeutic one, a means of closure and a way for him to say good-bye.

Almost two years ago, on January 20, 2007, a group of paratroopers were ambushed in Karbala, Iraq. One of the Soldiers was killed immediately and four others were taken prisoner and later were executed. 1SG Paul Alkire and three other motorcyclist left Alaska on a cross-country trip last month, to visit the hometowns of the four men who were executed. Alikre was the 1SG of the men. He designed a patch that is in the shape of a US highway sign, with the number 4 circled by the names of the 4 men who were executed … SPC Johnathan Bryan Chism, 1LT Jacob Noal Fritz, PFC Shawn Patrick Faller and PFC Johnathon Miles Millican. They were assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 337th Parachute Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, that is based out of Fort Richardson, Alaska. Their journey would take them about 5,000 miles, before they were able to visit the hometowns of each of the fallen. Their last stop being Gonzales, Lousiana, where they laid a patch at the grave of SPC Chism.

Photo of the patch from Rolling Honor Riders website

“I knew I had to do something to pay my final respects,” Alkire said. “I got to thinking about the miles between their hometowns and the highways needed to get there.”


While he was still in Iraq, after the deaths of his comrades, Alkire decided that he would visit the hometowns of the fallen personally, as well as make it a point to meet their families. Three of his closest friends, also from Alaska joined him on his journey, leaving Seattle on June 30th. They call themselves the Rolling Honor Riders. The only thing left to do, is to venture back where they began their journey, 3,000 miles away in Seattle. The men accompanying Alkire were Marc Phillips, himself a Special Forces Soldier and father of a son currently serving in Iraq, Laddie Shaw, retired Vietnam Veteran and Navy SEAL, and Todd Bullock, son of a retired Air Force Tech Sgt and supporter of the wounded warrior project.2

The Rolling Honor Riders

While it was comforting to meet the men, Chism’s mother said it was also very emotionally draining. She attempts to stay in touch with her sons friends. The Chism family joined the riders, sharing a private moment and remembering PFC Chism, each in their own way.

“To see the grown men crying and to give each other a hug - it was special,” said Patsy Meades, Chism’s sister. “They have not forgotten.”


Please visit the Rolling Honor Riders website, read about the heroes that were lost that day in 2007 as well as read their notes on the trip/ What a great way to honor these fallen heroes. I’m sure that this gesture meant the world to the families of the fallen men, that the riders visited.

Rolling Honor Riders

Army Times

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