The Vietnam Vets Tribute Bike will soon embark on ‘Operation: Dust Off’ to raise money for disabled and homeless vets.
* We apologize to our readers, but since this story was written, the Tampa Bay Times ran an article exposing this person as a fraud. Do not contribute any money to this man! Please read “Damned Lies – Man Uses Vet Tale to Bilk Bikers” for full details. Many thanks to mjburke2004 for bringing this to our attention via our forums. – ed
Robert Harris is a man on a mission. The Vietnam Vet and avid motorcyclist, also known as “Sky Soldier,” is in the midst of coordinating a road trip across the States to raise funds for his homeless brethren. Harris and the Veteran Tribute Bike will depart on its cross-country fundraising mission on April 4, 2009, out of Jacksonville, Florida as it embarks on “Operation: Dust Off.” The mission aims to raise awareness and money for homeless and disabled veterans and is named after medical evacuation helicopters and the pilots who flew them into heavy fire to extricate wounded soldiers in Vietnam.
“Operation: Dust Off” intends to travel the length of Interstate 10 from Jacksonville to Los Angeles, CA. Harris invites everyone to ride along, whether it is a short run through your hometown or all the way across your state. The trip will be filmed as a documentary.
Harris will carry American flags with him during his journey to be signed by dignitaries, officials, and sponsors along the way and one flag will ultimately be placed at the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. on Memorial Day. Another flag will be sent to troops serving in Iraq while a third flag will be sent to troops serving in Afghanistan.
Robert Harris, a member of the 173rd Airborne who served in Vietnam in 1965-66, is the man behind the Vietnam Vets Tribute Bike.
The Vietnam Tribute Bike started out as a 1985 Harley-Davidson FXST. After 20 years of riding his Harley around, its tanks were getting rusty, so Harris replaced them with two primer grey ones. It was these new tanks’ need for a paint job that brought about the Vietnam tribute theme. Paint on the fenders with the same theme followed, and a year later Harris entered the bike in a show in Connecticut. During the show, vets started coming up to Harris with different items they had saved from the war and asked him if he could find a place on his motorcycle for them. The Vietnam Vets Tribute Bike was born. The bike now features ammo cases for hard bags, shell casings for foot controls, and is replete with bandoliers of bullets, gas masks, flares and firearms in its full regalia and the words “In Memory of the 58,749 Who Never Returned” painted on its tank.
The Vietnam Vet Tribute Bike drew plenty of onlookers at the Harley-Davidson Ride-In Show during Bike Week.
“The Vietnam Vets Tribute Bike is my way of welcoming home all veterans from all wars from all branches of our military. It’s my way of not letting our nation forget,” Harris said.
It’s not too late to contribute to the cause or be part of the escort that helps send Harris on his way. The cross-country tour will start at the American Legion 316, 1127 Atlantic Blvd., Jacksonville, FLA. Interested parties can contact Robert at (352) 398-3120 or (603) 852-8272 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or Americanvetstributebike@yahoo.com.
It is an excellent way for motorcyclists to show their patriotism and have some fun in the meantime at the send-off party.