CHEYENNE, Wyo. - When Col. Steven Mount, Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations with the Wyoming Army National Guard, joined the United States Army in 1974, the wheeled fleet was a unique mixture of Korean War and Vietnam era cars and trucks.
Mount garnered an appreciation for antique military vehicles during his first active duty Army assignment as a member of the 1st Battalion (Reinforced), 3rd Infantry regiment (The Old Guard), stationed at Fort Myer, Va. This interest has continued throughout his distinguished military career.
Since then, Mount has not only restored antique vehicles himself, but also has taken part in military preservation groups for more than two decades - including a 20-year-plus membership with the Military Vehicle Preservation Association.
When Mount heard of a convoy of these antique military vehicles traveling across the continental United States, he too decided to join in on the ride.
Last week, Mount joined the Transcontinental Motor Convoy in Kimball, Neb., and drove to Cheyenne, Wyo., in his fully restored 1945 Willys' MB.
The colonel's jeep, representative of the long-used work horse of the U.S. Army, is a classic example of the model whose production neared 400,000 between the years 1942-1945.
When Mount purchased the 1945 Willys' MB in 2006, the vehicle was in need of a full restoration. The jeep, acquired from Torrington, Wyo., was fully restored by the colonel in his free time.
But this is Mount's second antique military vehicle. His first was a M2 Half Track car that he owned for 15 years.
Although Mount could only join the convoy through a small portion of the long journey across the U.S., other participants will ride through to the West.
The convoy will stop at several locations throughout Wyoming to mark the historic 1919 transcontinental trip. The group also will commemorate several sites along the Lincoln Highway - the route heavily utilized during the first cross country convoy.
Not only does the trip highlight the amazing feat the U.S. Army was able to accomplish in 1919, Mount believes it also raises awareness for the hobby of restoring military vehicles. He said the hobby brings many people together who share a common interest, ultimately displaying their efforts to the public.