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Marshall Mullins was a Vietnam Veteran who served AC-119 Gunship aircrew and others as a Life Support Technician in 1972. Later in life, he had a dream – to ride someday as, and with, the Patriot Riders. Several things happened not far apart that affected Marshall’s dream: in 2012 he was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer; he came to an AC-119 Reunion and learned about the AC-119 air and ground crew Killed In Action (KIA) and their stories; and a benefactor learned of his dream and bought him a three wheeled motorcycle customized with paintings, depictions, and hardware that commemorate the AC-119 Gunships in the Vietnam War and their honored air and ground crew KIA). Marshall rode his Memorial Trike to several AC-119 Reunions with Marilyn driving their truck as his road warrior partner. It was not easy but they did it anyway – dreams help us do things we couldn’t do otherwise. Some of the AC-119 KIA families and survivors got to see Marshall’s Memorial Trike and talk with him, learning of his story and sharing their own. It doesn’t get any better than that.
Marshall started chemo treatment and set a goal to ride the Memorial Trike cross country to increase awareness of both our AC-119 KIA (and ALL who were lost in SEA) as well as his own ride for the cure focus. He did that. His wife Marilyn started a blog to document Marshall’s journey fighting cancer and living his dream. It is an awesome, inspiring, gut-wrenching story of love, compassion, anger, fear, and living life as best you can. It helped many understand prostate cancer, Marshall’s dream and journey, and Marilyn’s courage and strength. Marshall passed away July 22, 2015. We know the Big Guy upstairs understood the kind of man he received. One of Marshall’s biggest worries in his last months was what was going to happen to his motorcycle. Marilyn recently decided to continue Marshall’s dream, and do something with his Memorial Trike that would be meaningful to Marshall and his memory. Specifically, to celebrate and honor the AC-119 KIA he chose to memorialize, to tell and remember his journey, and to do that with a Vietnam Vet Patriot Rider if possible.
Marshall’s Dream Continues!!!
On July 4, 2018, Marilyn Mullins posted the following on Facebook: For the past three years since Marshall died, I’ve had his wonderful motorcycle sitting in the garage. When Marshall was dying, one of the things he was most agitated about was that bike. He kept saying, “You’ll let my bike go to hell, won’t you?” I kept assuring him I wouldn’t but as time went on I couldn’t come up with something meaningful to do with it. The two things he was passionate about were veterans’ rights and prostate cancer awareness. So I contacted the AC-119 Gunship Association, the military group that Marshall belonged to and I asked them to come up with ideas. My contact person was Wayne Laessig. He talked to their Board and they came back with a suggestion to donate the bike to the Patriot Guard so that it would spend its life riding in funeral processions for veterans and first responders with the rest of the Patriot Riders. Marshall always wanted to ride his bike in these ceremonies but he never had the stamina. So I know this is something that would make him very happy and very proud. Wayne worked with the Patriot Guard organization to decide who would be the right person to be the bike’s “handler.” We narrowed it down until we found Matt and Annette Robeck in Antioch, Tennessee. They were perfect, even down to the fact that Matt resembles Marshall. Last week I had the bike transported to Pikes Peak Harley — which is where we bought the bike — and had it serviced. Then Matt and Annette flew in on Sunday (July 1) and on Monday we had a small ceremony at Pikes Peak Harley. There were Patriot Guard Riders there, as well as a representative from the AC-119 Gunship Association. Then around noon on Monday, Matt and Annette left on the bike for their trip back to Tennessee. They will send me photos whenever the bike is on one of their Missions. In the short time I was with them, I felt like I had known them for years. Later today, I will do my best to post photos of the hand-over of the title to Matt and Annette.
Annette Robeck posted on Facebook also: Our Journey has begun, meeting and hugging Marilyn, we both held tears as best we could! Then a short time later, meeting one of the daughters whose father, a KIA, Tia, and her family…hearing her story, knowing her father is listed, he will be with us on this journey….words are hard to describe, we are so Honored, and Blessed to be on this…..carrying on Marshall’s Journey….through Patriot Guard missions and events…tomorrow is going to be really special, for Matthew, he’s humbled and honored, to begin this Journey….We will be beginning in Colorado Springs Colorado, at Pike’s Peak HD, tomorrow, Monday, with stops along the way til we arrive home. But Marshall’s mission will continue long past our return to Tennessee….
Since then, Matt and Annette Robeck have participated in several Patriot Guard events. Marilyn says it best in a note to Wayne: “Marshall’s bike has already participated in several small missions! And did you see that they provide military teddy bears to the children of the deceased? They pay for that out of their pocket. So I sent them a little money and I am going to try to get more donations for that (I’m not asking you for money — you are doing good things in other areas) – but I wanted to be sure you are aware of the good things they do. You sure found the right candidate for this bike!!”
Annette recently posted: Escorting SSG Joshua Williams on his Final Journey Home to his wife and children….mission complete, Sir….Forever in Our Hearts, Never Forgotten.
Matt and his wife Annette continue Marshall’s dream of riding his Memorial Trike with the PGR. They tell the story of our AC-119s, our KIA, and Marshall’s battle with prostate cancer.
Annette, who serves on the National PGR Board, recently sent us a letter from the Tennessee American Legion Commander asking Matt to serve as the Tennessee Department’s American Legion Riders Director for 20182019. Marshall’s service, dream, cancer, death, and legacy are now part of a bigger dream. We’ll occasionally post an update on Matt and Annette’s Patriot Guard Riders activities. This posting is because we wanted to share the dreams of a man, his awesome wife, and the wonder of it all as their dreams become a reality.
NOTED In Appreciation:
Tennessee American Legion Post 88 made the donation and transfer of Marshall’s trike possible.
Pikes Peak Harley helped Marilyn assure the trike was ready for the next part of its journey.
The National and Tennessee Patriot Guard Riders helped assure this dream continues.
We include this to help readers understand who Marshall was and what he stood for.
Marshal Mullins passed away at his home in Westcliffe, Colorado, on July 22nd, 2015, after a long battle with prostate cancer. Marshall was born in Wyco, West Virginia to Denver Colorado and Grace (Worley) Mullins on February 1, 1946. Marshall graduated from North Baltimore High School in 1964. He was a proud veteran of the Vietnam War, serving as a Life Support Specialist in the 18th Special Operation Squadron from 1964 to 1972. After completing his military service, he lived in Ohio and worked as an over-the-road truck driver for 15 years before settling down in Chicago to work for the United States Post Office for 20 years.
He and his wife Marilyn lived in Colorado for the past 15 years, where he loved the quiet beauty of the Rocky Mountains. He was a devoted fan of the West Virginia Mountaineers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He loved animal’s including his beloved adopted sheltie Marlee, dachshund Coco and cats Okie and Jerry and spent the last six years volunteering with Pet Project, a nonprofit pet adoption group in Westcliffe, to help in its spaying and neutering program. He regularly attended annual military reunions of the AC-119 Gunship Association. One of Marshall’s biggest passions was riding motorcycles. His prized possession was his Harley Davidson trike custom painted to honor the men in his unit in Vietnam; both those who died and survived. He traveled with his trike all over the country to motorcycle shows and veterans’ gatherings to remember his fellow veterans and advocate for prostate cancer awareness. He won top honors at several of the bike shows he attended. Marshall and his bike were featured in the October 2014 issue of Healthmonitor’s “Guide to Living with Advanced Prostate Cancer,” as well as a fundraising brochure that was put out by the Prostate Cancer Foundation. He was also featured in an online video that recognized Marshall’s service and advocacy, which can be viewed at www.vimeo.com/72275992. Marshall has donated his body to science for prostate cancer research. There will be a memorial service to honor Marshall at the North Baltimore American Legion Post #539 on August 8th, 2015 at 1pm. In lieu of flowers, it is requested that donations be made to the Prostate Cancer Foundation.
If you’d like to watch and hear Marshall tell his story, go to this link to watch Marshall Mullins – my time in Vietnam at https://www.facebook.com/everett.sprous/videos/763578760321662/