• Participants in the Transcontinental Convoy line up for lunch in Clinton, Iowa, served by the local troop from Boy Scouts of America. "First gear at 14:00 was the message to participants," who had to head to the convoy's next stop in Cedar

    Participants in the Transcontinental Convoy

    Participants in the Transcontinental Convoy line up for lunch in Clinton, Iowa, served by the local troop from Boy Scouts of America. "First gear at 14:00 was the message to participants," who had to head to the convoy's next stop in...

  • Dark clouds and drizzle hang over the Transcontinental Convoy as it arrives in Clinton, Iowa, having covered about 1,000 miles in its coast-to-coast journey. Poor weather didn't deter more than 100 area residents and veterans from attending the

    Residents Turn Out for Transcontinental Convoy

    Dark clouds and drizzle hang over the Transcontinental Convoy as it arrives in Clinton, Iowa, having covered about 1,000 miles in its coast-to-coast journey. Poor weather didn't deter more than 100 area residents and veterans from attending the

More than 200 people greeted the Transcontinental Convoy when it rolled through drizzling rain into Clinton, Iowa, on its re-creation of the 1919 convoy commanded by Lt. Col. Dwight Eisenhower.

The original convoy traveled to California, stopping at Rock Island Arsenal on its return trip.

Terry Shelswell, convoy director, said its reception has been remarkable everywhere the new convoy has stopped.

"It's been wonderful," Shelswell said. The response from the public has been inspirational."

Shelswell said traveling with a hundred or more vehicles, some of them more than 90 years old, is not without challenges.

""We have a few breakdowns, but we also have a lot of people with experience, and what breaks down, we fix, and if we can't fix it, we tow it," he said.

Clinton, a city of about 26,000 people on the banks of the Mississippi River in Eastern Iowa, corresponds to one of the original stops taken by the 1919 convoy.

"All of our stops are a near the original stops," Shelswell said. He said Clinton is slightly less than halfway through the planned coast-to-coast route.

"We've covered just over a thousand miles so far," he said.

The original convoy was designed to test the feasibility of moving troops and materiel, and to showcase the Army's use of then-cutting-edge technology. Today's convoy has different goals, according to Shelswell.

"We have two missions - the first is to say thanks to our veterans, active duty military members and their families," he said. "The second is to pay honor to the first group that did this in 1919, when it was very important."

Shelswell said a third key for the convoy is education. "We want to educate the public, and present these vehicles to the public so that they can learn more about them."

Lined up for the free lunch provided by a Clinton-area troop from the Boy Scouts of America, the convoy members were already planning to head out for their next stop in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

"We're in first gear at 14:00," was a message passed up and down the line. At 14:00, the big engines wound up and the convoy left Clinton.

Page last updated Mon June 22nd, 2009 at 16:48