September 21, 2012

All Posts, Editorials, News

There has always been a blood connection between bikers and America’s wars. One of the ironies of America’s Global War on Terror is that that war’s infrastructure and resources have been used to make war on motorcycle clubs. The irony is that for the last 65 years there has been no more hawkish or patriotic group than Harley riders.

The first clubs, for all practical purposes, were founded by World War II veterans. In 1964 Sonny Barger told a writer for the Oakland Tribune that the Oakland charter of the Hells Angels wanted to help in Vietnam. “Our oath of allegiance is to the United States of America,” Barger reportedly said. “If there should be trouble we would jump to enlist and fight. More than 90 percent of our members are veterans. We don’t want no slackers.”

Motorcycle clubs are what they have been for the last 40 years because of Vietnam. The Bandidos, Warlocks, Vagos, Sons of Silence and Mongols were all invented during Vietnam. The “proper” way of the outlaw biker was defined by highly disciplined, profoundly alienated, Vietnam Veterans who had been infected with violence, calloused against mere materialism and greeted upon their return with contempt and scorn.

The largest motorcycle club in the world in numbers of members is the red and black, the two patches that are one club, the Vietnam Vets and Legacy Vets motorcycle club. The largest one-day motorcycle event, Rolling Thunder, was founded by veterans for veterans.

Flair And Ink

The most common icon worn on the leather and denim vests of all bikers, whether they are patch holders, HOG members, loners or RUBS is the POW/MIA symbol designed by commercial artist Newt Heisley in 1971. Some of us wear it on our arms. (You can read a little more about Heisley here).  Part of the enduring legacy, and shame, of the late, great, 1960s, Mongolian cluster fuck of wars was the fate of Prisoners and of those Missing in Action.

So it is appropriate for the usual suspects, the known associates, the validated members and the cops, prosecutors and the merely curious who read this page to take a minute to recognize that today, September 21, 2012 is National POW/MIA Recognition Day. This is the day when America honors service members who endured captivity and those whose remains have yet to be recovered.

The official accounting of the unaccounted-for totals 83,414 American souls. An estimated 73,681 of them disappeared in World War II and another 7,946 were lost in Korea. The numbers for those wars were published by government committees in 1951 and 1956. Some of those men may have been buried at sea. One hundred twenty-six soldiers disappeared during the cold war. There are 1,655 combatants still missing in Vietnam and six soldiers are unaccounted for from Iraq and Afghanistan.

And Politicians

This is an election year so the candidates recognized the day by hiring someone to write a few brief words for them.

Republican Mitt Romney issued a release that read: “As we mark National POW/MIA Recognition Day, I am mindful that when America goes to war, we run the risk of losing our servicemen and women to enemy capture. I’m proud to call John McCain, who endured captivity in Vietnam, a friend. He exemplifies those Americans who deserve all honor and respect for enduring hardship and for making sacrifices that we cannot readily imagine. My heart goes out to the families of those who remain missing, often for decades. They deserve to be remembered. And the best way to show our remembrance is by never ceasing in our quest to find them.”

President Barack Obama issued a proclamation that stated: “As long as members of our Armed Forces remain unaccounted for, America will bring our fullest resources to bear in finding them and bringing them home. It is a promise we make not only to the families of our captured and our missing, but to all who have worn the uniform.”

There will be a brief ceremony in Washington today and a handful of Pentagon officials will ring the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange.

But this day is unlikely to be recognized on television. Most American newspapers including the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and Wall Street Journal published nothing about POWs or MIAs this morning. So today will go unnoticed by most Americans. It should not go unnoticed by you.

Fuck ‘em all but nine.



44 Responses to “Today”

  1. YYZ Skinhead Says:


    Props for posting. I wasn’t aware of the day prior to reading this article.

    Rebel and most of the folks here,

    What is the correct display of the POW/MIA flag? Does it go above or below the state flag?

    YYZ Skinhead

  2. Caretaker Says:


    I’m almost certain it goes under the us flag patch. Nothing is flown,shown,or worn above the american flag.


    Thanks for posting this.


  3. Erudite Hillbilly Says:

    Thanks for raising awareness Rebel! On the subject, folks; please visit or Google “Bowe Bergdahl”. Bowe is a living P.O.W. suspected of being kept in Pakistan. We need to bring him home! At this point I don’t care if someone does it for political reasons due to the elections, etc., we just need to bring this boy back home where he belongs.

  4. (btb) back to basics Says:

    To Rebel…

    Thank you for this article. I happen to have a KIA/WIA flag flying under my US flag on a 65ft pole. They can be seen for miles away.

    POW/MIA…. NEVER FORGOTTEN by some of us.

  5. HLVNVMC Says:

    Thanks for posting, Rebel

  6. (btb) back to basics Says:

    There is a site that means alot to me. “Honor the Fallen”

    For most of you on Rebel’s site, you will understand.

  7. Chief Says:

    Thanks for posting this Rebel.

    Respect to who have served and are still serving.

    Never Forget,

  8. sherides Says:

    I wasn’t aware of the significance of today either. I can remember wearing a POW/MIA Bracelet when I was a kid. The soldier was Lyle Tromp. I had that bracelet until 1986 when someone broke into my apt and that bracelet was one of the items that was stolen.

    His family was notified a couple of years back that they had located his remains. Forty Years after he first was listed as MIA.

    Thanks Rebel and all of you that have served, are currently serving in the Armed Forces.

  9. jenkx Says:

    Rebel: Respects and thanks for the post!

    Thanks also to active duty and veterans for your service.

    A few years ago I got involved in a project to help injured and disabled patients of Naval Medical Center San Diego who were being discharged, transition into civilian life.

    Because of then existing VA regulations, many of these heroes were literally ending up homeless. It was a real crisis.

    We needed to raise funds to help them find housing, feed their families, and get their lives back together.

    Where did I go? In a few weeks, with the help of local (El Cajon) clubs, HD dealer and the Elks, we put together a “Grill Your Own Steak” night that raised almost $20,000.

    Those funds have since morphed into a program that, this year, served about 300 San Diego veteran families and has been duplicated by the VA in about 100 different cities.

    All of this because these bikers, portrayed by the media and some in law enforcement as thugs, dug deep in their hearts and pockets to help.

    This true story gets repeated every week, for a multitude of causes.

    I respect and remember what my friends and fellow riders have done!


  10. Base Says:

    Much respect Rebel, thanks for this post.

    The community I reside in has a strong Military presence was going to let my son skip school today and attend one of the many ceromonies in the area with my wife,his sister & I. But his High School had guest speakers (Vetrens & current Service members 3 of whom had been POW’s)and he wanted to be there.

    So we all attended with him, it was only suppose to take an hour but eneded up lasting three. The kids where very involved & engaged. It was a thing to behold, everyone, kids & school faculty were very repsectful.

    The standing ovation for the speakers lasted several minutes as they walked out.

    It’s moments such as this, witnessing our young people “getting it” that sparks a glimmer of hope for the future.

    POW/MIA YOU ARE NOT FORGOTTEN. At least not here….

  11. ghost Says:

    support the troops fuck the gov’t semper

  12. Wretched man Says:

    Thank you Rebel for posting. I too never knew the significance of today.

    Having arrived in the USA a little over 3 weeks ago I had the honor of being on a domestic flight that was carrying the remains of an MIA soldier (MIA since 1978) & was deeply touched at the respect paid (by most) to a hero. It did sadden me that after the Military Escort had disembarked & before the hero’s body was taken off the plane a few people just walked off the plane without so much as a moment for a man who served his country & was being brought home after 34 years (since MIA at least). Most of us watched the entire ceremony, some even shed a few tears along with me.
    In South Afica people are the same, very little, to no respect!
    I bought an MIA/POW T shirt & wear it with respect (I lost friends in Angola to the Russians/Cubans).

    Lost but NOT forgotten

  13. willienelso3 Says:

    I did not know of the day. now I do. I’m going to let some other people know too. thank you Rebel.

  14. (btb) back to basics Says:

    to jenkx …

    Give me a heads up when you are doing these events. I am in No. County. Maybe we can meet sometime face to face. Who knows, maybe we already have.

  15. Snow Says:

    Deepest thanks and respect for all who serve, never forget. Snow

  16. Bill Says:

    Random selection from this site, WWII, A-F, U.S. Army Medal Of Honor Recipients


    Rank and organization: Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army, 30th Infantry, 3d Infantry Division. Place and date: Near St. Die, France, 28 October 1944. Entered service at: Port Arthur, Tex. Birth: Port Arthur, Tex. G.O. No.: 20, 29 March 1945. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty on 28 October 1944, near St. Die, France. When his company was stopped in its effort to drive through the Mortagne Forest to reopen the supply line to the isolated third battalion, S/Sgt. Adams braved the concentrated fire of machineguns in a lone assault on a force of German troops. Although his company had progressed less than 10 yards and had lost 3 killed and 6 wounded, S/Sgt. Adams charged forward dodging from tree to tree firing a borrowed BAR from the hip. Despite intense machinegun fire which the enemy directed at him and rifle grenades which struck the trees over his head showering him with broken twigs and branches, S/Sgt. Adams made his way to within 10 yards of the closest machinegun and killed the gunner with a hand grenade. An enemy soldier threw hand grenades at him from a position only 10 yards distant; however, S/Sgt. Adams dispatched him with a single burst of BAR fire. Charging into the vortex of the enemy fire, he killed another machinegunner at 15 yards range with a hand grenade and forced the surrender of 2 supporting infantrymen. Although the remainder of the German group concentrated the full force of its automatic weapons fire in a desperate effort to knock him out, he proceeded through the woods to find and exterminate 5 more of the enemy. Finally, when the third German machinegun opened up on him at a range of 20 yards, S/Sgt. Adams killed the gunner with BAR fire. In the course of the action, he personally killed 9 Germans, eliminated 3 enemy machineguns, vanquished a specialized force which was armed with automatic weapons and grenade launchers, cleared the woods of hostile elements, and reopened the severed supply lines to the assault companies of his battalion.

  17. rollinnorth Says:

    Never forget.


  18. Arctic Says:

    “infected with violence” That gave me chills.
    While on deployment in 2005 I was temporarily put on hold at Camp Doha, Kuwait before before rolling North. While there I would have occasion to drive to KCIA, Kuwait City International Airport. (there was an AF installation and army run morgue there at a secluded section of the Airfield.) on more than one occasion I was there when the C-130 carrying the remains of our fallen landed to deliver our lost brothers and sisters to be prepared for their flight to Dover AFB.
    When this happened the Giant Voice would request volunteers to meet the aircraft to help carry the caskets from the plane to the reefer truck. The first time I heard that I dropped my Subway 6″ tuna and followed the crowd to the plane. On the walk I was thinking to myself “shit it’s not gonna take this many folks. Then I got to the ramp at the rear of the plane. I stopped dead in my tracks at the sight of this C-130 filled back to front side to side with American flag drapped gaskets. I was able to do this three times while in Kuwait and it is and will always be the greatest honor of my life. Now this wasn’t my first deployment, far from it. I had already seen I little shit and been in a few dust up over there. I also followed the news reports tracking the number of KIA’s since the war started. Maybe I was just calloused or maybe I’d never REALLY thought about what the number meant…just a number. It wasn’t until I saw with my own eyes and smelled the cost of freedom that it truly hit home. Now when I think about the numbers that Rebel quoted in this article it almost brings tears to my eyes.

    I haven’t always gotten along with some of the regulars on this site but I have to say its because of you folks and folks like you that won’t let people forget that I love this country (which is my adopted country, moved here when I was 12) and couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.
    Thank you for your service weather it was in the military or as a supporter of the military.

  19. Glenn S. Says:

    Never forget the prisoners of all wars, including the ones the government declared on the American people.

  20. rollinnorth Says:

    Well said, Glenn S.


  21. YYZ Skinhead Says:

    Curious: where does everyone wear their patch? I wear mine right above my PISD patch.

    YYZ Skinhead

  22. One Eye Says:

    This is a very poignant post that hits a nerve. My Dad served in the Grand Harbour of Malta during WWII, my Nephew was decorated with the Sacrifice Medal, which is the Canadian version of the Purple Heart for injuries sustained in Afghanistan and I wear a tattoo on my chest in memory of a fellow one eyed Brother who was Special Forces in Viet Nam. Two of the three are no longer with us, but my Nephew is and I know when I heard the news of his injuries I remember thinking that I was relieved he wasn’t dead and then, that he wasn’t captured.
    To all who have served and are serving, may God keep you safe and I respectfully express my thanks.

  23. YYZ Skinhead Says:

    And yeah, that was a Freudian typo.

    YYZ Skinhead

  24. YYZ Skinhead Says:

    One Eye,

    Your family sounds like mine. My dad, thank God, served during peacetime. One of my uncles served in WWII and another served in Korea. I had no idea they were Veterans while they were alive because neither of them liked talking about the wars.

    YYZ Skinhead

  25. Jim666 Says:

    Great post Rebel, thank you,

    POW/MIA never forget

  26. BobP Says:


    Thanks for making us aware of this day. I will pass it along as well.



  27. JAMES Says:

    Great article, thanks for posting and thanks to all serving or who have.

  28. One Eye Says:

    my Dad would never, ever talk about it, but I could see him get that distant look and I would see his eyes water and I knew he was in a dark place in his memory bank. I have many old photos of him, my favourite being a picture of him in formation being inspected by King George VI. My Nephew told me a very little about his experience, and I’m certain he’s experiencing PTSD. On a tragic note, one of his fellow soldiers ended his own life. My brother (not biological) who served in Nam wouldn’t say a word. I’m sure that’s why the returning vets who planted the seminal seed of the original clubs found it easy to be around one another. No one can know the ghosts and demons of what they experienced as well as a Brother In Arms.

  29. Glenn S. Says:

    I don’t have that patch. But after reading this post and the comments, I will get one.

  30. Tim Says:

    Wow!!! I didnt know anything about this,Now I feel stupid, Thank you to all vets who sereved for my freedoms, and thank you to all the Pow’s and MIA’S, I never relized the numbers were so high, Thank you to all the families who lost their loved ones in these wars, I pray God and Jesus comforts all of you, Thanks Rebel for posting this.

  31. swampy Says:

    I have two Vietnam Veteran buddies that are Purple Heart recipients(I’ve known a lot more). Yes, they both ride and both still have shrapnel that works through their skin to this day; one lost his leg in Vietnam. For years they, among other vets I know and have known, steered clear of V.A. Hospitals. Just in the last few years they have begun to be impressed, appreciate and receive help from V.A. hospitals. Making statements such as “Wow, it ain’t like when we came home and they herded us like cattle through them.”

    Rebel, thank you for this story. Respects and thanks to ALL who have served and are serving. I wish peace upon all POWs and the families of MIA and KIA. With the highest regards and respect, swampy

  32. Jenkx Says:

    To (btb) back to basics:

    Will do. Thanks for the support.


  33. Icebreaker Says:


    Thank you for posting this…



  34. Ol'LadyRider Says:

    For those who have yet to come home – you are not forgotten.

    Jenkx, I am also in No. County, and would like very much to support and pass on info about your veteran’s support activities, if you wish.

  35. (btb) back to basics Says:

    to Ol’LadyRider…

    Well howdy neighbor. Esco. You know what I mean.

  36. Austin Says:

    @ Rebel – Thank You.

    “No one can know the ghosts and demons of what they experienced as well as a Brother In Arms.” Well said One-Eye.

    My son returned from the sandpit in 2004 and did not re-up. He doesn’t have much to say about it, still.

  37. Ol'LadyRider Says:

    Dear BTB… As am I!

  38. (btb) back to basics Says:


    It is a small world. I’m sure our paths have crossed at one time or another. Hope you have a great day.

  39. Ol'LadyRider Says:

    BTB, I hope that I have, at some point, purchased your favorite libation for you… If not, it will be my pleasure to do so.

  40. RK Says:

    Once again Rebel, you’ve blown me away. As a veteran I thank you very much.


  41. Jenkx Says:


    Thank you. I will let you know when we plan another get together.


  42. Izzy Wildheart Says:

    Thankyou for posting Rebel!
    Most of my family served in wars all over the World.
    Respects to all those who served, to those still serving
    and to those who gave their lives for and to their country.
    May they never be forgotten.

    Respects to you Rebel as always

  43. Raider Says:

    Thank you Rebel. Having been a Veteran during the early 70’s I unlike the Pussys that promote the wars, yet have never been part them-HONOR Those that have. I also HONOR those that did not return. We did a job and came home, that all. We got on with our lives and ask for nothing in return. Those that try to promote wars, have never been in a firefight or battle and watch men dieing. You would detest death if you have. I honor all Veteran Brothers who did not return on this day. God Bless America.

    Raider MFFM

  44. Mark Says:

    Great read Rebel…

    POW’s and MIA’s..You will never be forgotten..

    And to all my fellow veteran brothers…Thanks for serving.

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