Combat Veterans and Motorcycles

What is a combat veteran?  Well, it depends on who you ask.  The definition can range on one end of the spectrum from a service member who engages in direct, individual physical contact with the enemy to the other end of the spectrum of a service member  who deploys to provide support to combatant units.  The definition, as it relates to membership criteria for the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association (CVMA), is a veteran of a foreign war or combat zone, as verified through award of specific service medals/ribbons for actions in combat and/or service in DoD designated combat zones.  My service in Operations Desert Storm and Enduring Freedom meet the criteria, and I have been a member of the CVMA since 2013.

Double D, me (Sunshine), Chief, and BabyCakes originally all started off together in Texas Chapter 23-3. They are all now in Texas Chapter 23-21 and I in North Carolina Chapter 15-1.

Though I have not been much of an active participant since returning to Fort Bragg in 2016, my social life pretty much revolved around my CVMA chapters when I was stationed at Fort Sam Houston, TX and Fort Leavenworth, KS.  Veterans assistance running the gambit of home repairs, serving meals, bike escorts for funerals and homecomings, meetings, celebrations of life and career milestones, and just being there – we truly lived the CVMA motto of “Vets Helping Vets” and became family in the process. 

Gabbie, me, Mongo, Gemma, and T-Rex. Crew from my time with Missouri Chapter 4-8.

Anyone that knows me, knows that I am not a fan of motorcycle rallies.  I love riding, but I don’t enjoy doing it with thousands of others in a small geographic area.  Oh, and I don’t like big cities!  So, the fact that I I worked an extremely large motorcycle meeting, in a big city that wasn’t exactly on my cross country route, into my itinerary just to catch up with folks I haven’t seen in 5-7 years, is a testament to how strong the CVMA brother/sisterhood is! 

Each year, CVMA holds its national meeting in a different city, and this year it was in Louisville, KY.  Louisville had a lot of sightseeing to offer, and a lot of folks participated in bourbon tours and riverboat cruises, but I spent most of my time playing tourist with Chief, Baby Cakes, Double D, Big Daddy, and Yellow Rose.  We did the Kentucky Downs tour and Kentucky Derby museum, Louisville Slugger bat factory tour and museum, lots of eating, and of course, a bunch of sitting around reliving the good times and talking through some hard ones.  

The tour of Churchill Downs was super interesting, and the movie in the museum really helped explain the culture of horse racing and the Kentucky Derby.
You can tell by my horrible stance that I never played baseball! We got a mini-bat at the end of the tour at the Louisville Slugger factory and museum. Every Louisville Slugger bat is made at this location and you get to see the process, from start to finish, during the tour!

As much fun as all the excursions were, the main reason for being in town was the organization’s national meeting, so on the last day, we got down to business.  Soooooo many veteran bikers!  Although we didn’t have any WWII veterans as in previous years, we did have a Korean veteran and several Vietnam Veterans, including Chief. Unfortunately, the decision to get a photo of the female members wasn’t made until after the meeting was over and people were already leaving, so we only got a smattering of women Warriors in the group photo.  Although the women make up a small percentage of the membership, we showed up and represented!  

Like herding frogs!
Female CVMA full members (combat veterans) and support members (non-combat veterans) that were still around for photos after the meeting ended.

Louisville proved to be a great respite from travel, but as the activities drew to a close, I was happy to join the thousands of bikers who packed up and hit the road. There wasn’t a single route radiating from Louisville on Sunday that didn’t have a rider or vehicle with a CVMA logo on it.

Where to go from here?

2 thoughts on “Combat Veterans and Motorcycles

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  1. And the hits keep on coming and memories are made at every turn. Spending time with you was the highlight of the trip. Keep the blogs coming….I’m living vicariously through your travels. Tell your folks and Monica Hi for us.

    Reservations have already been made for Colorado Springs 2023. You BETTER BE THERE!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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