Lee Erwin reporting
FORT CAMPBELL, KY. – Wounded, injured and ill Soldiers from Fort Campbell and Fort Knox, KY. spent two days riding their bicycles from Fort Knox to Fort Campbell as part of the Bluegrass Rendezvous Bike Ride. The inaugural event was a therapeutic and challenging ride between the two installations for Soldiers going through transition.
A group of about a dozen riders from Fort Campbell and their support team met with riders at Fort Knox and took off Tuesday, September 24 for the 97 mile ride to Bowling Green, KY. After an overnight stay, the close to 50 riders left Bowling Green Wednesday, September 25 for the 68 mile trek to Fort Campbell.
After a brief stop in Guthrie, KY., the riders passed through Fort Campbell’s Gate 4 at around 1:30 p.m. and rode by the 101st Airborne Division Headquarters on their way to a their final stop at the Warrior Transition Battalion (WTB) on post. They were welcomed by members of the WTB staff and Soldiers along with music from the 101st Airborne Division Band.
Riders from both of the Army posts have trained with their WTB Adaptive Reconditioning Program to make sure they were prepared to take on the physical and mental challenges of the 165-mile bike trip. Along with standard bicycles, some of the riders rode hand cycles and recumbent bikes to accommodate their unique abilities.
At their stopover in Guthrie, Chief Warrant Officer 3 from Fort Campbell, John Clement, talked about his participation in the bike ride. “I am an alumni rider with the Warrior Transition Unit (WTU) and was successful in returning to duty. Now I’m a company commander for my last year before I retire,” said Clement.
Clement added that the journey was a healing ride, saying it’s a way for the Soldiers to meet each other and make new friends and it’s also a mental challenge. You learn to work past the physical, get the mental side under control and you really help out your fellow brother or sister on the ride.
Awards were handed out to many of the Soldiers and their supporters once they arrived at the WTB. Sergeant Bryan Flanery took the honor of “Fort Campbell’s Most Valuable Rider” and talked about the ride and how it has helped his healing. “For myself it’s an awesome feeling. It’s a feeling of accomplishment that has been missing for a long time, it’s been good,” Flanery said.