Military convoy to make stop in Goshen

PHOTO CONTRIBUTED In this June 27 photo taken by John Osiak, the MVPA convoy passes through Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, during the 2019 Gettysburg Memorial Day parade.

GOSHEN — On Sept. 13, 1919, the front page of The Goshen Daily News-Times reported on a variety of different subjects and current events, including President Woodrow Wilson’s trip across the U.S., the raise in cost of retail food and the then future U.S. president, Herbert Hoover’s involvement with the League of Nations.

The paper also reported on an important local event: a 20-man motor convoy that was passing through the city, showcasing and testing military vehicles, displaying war artifacts and recruiting soldiers for the Army. The convoy was organized by the 6th Infantry Division, and one of the five officers was a young Lt. Col. Dwight Eisenhower.

On Sunday, 100 years later, the Military Vehicle Preservation Association will be passing through Goshen, taking the exact route of the original convoy travelers.

“It took our people two years to research the exact Lincoln Highway route. Not much information was recorded about the original convoy’s trip,” Dan McCluskey, a convoy commander, said.

According to McCluskey, the first re-enactment convoy was held in 2009, after an MVPA member presented the idea of traveling across the nation to promote an appreciation for history and the U.S. military.

Although this will be the MVPA’s fifth convoy since then, it will be the first to travel the exact route of the 1919 motorcade.

With around 50 vehicles and 120 personnel, the convoy started in the eastern part of the country and will be traveling through various parts of the nation, ending in California.

This year will mark Pennsylvania resident, Carole Popernack’s third convoy. Speaking of her experiences with the group, Popernack said, “I really enjoy and appreciate all the small towns who come out. It’s especially amazing to see all the veterans and people waving the flag.”

Popernack and her husband are not yet retired, so they will only be with the convoy until it pauses in Illinois.

McCluskey mentioned that the original convoy adhered to a rigid schedule and sometimes wouldn’t approach a city or town until 10 or 11 p.m. But the citizens always anxiously anticipated their arrival, often providing meals and hosting late-night celebrations.

“We’re lucky to have that still happening today,” McCluskey mentioned.

The motorcade will pass through Ligonier, Goshen, Elkhart and move on to South Bend sometime Sunday afternoon, presenting local community members with an opportunity to see historic military vehicles dating back to 1918.

The purpose of the convoy, according to McCluskey, is to keep history alive and show it in motion.

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