A caravan of more than 50 historic military vehicles traveling across the country will make a stop at Fort Leonard Wood.
The Military Vehicle Preservation Association will display military Jeeps and trucks dating from World War II to the present day from 5 to 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Daugherty Bowling Center parking lot. MVPA drivers will be available to talk about the importance of their vehicles during their military service.
The visit is part of the association’s 30-day, cross-country convoy from Chicago, Illinois, to Santa Monica, California, along Historic Route 66.
“Route 66 is a major attraction in the area, and Fort Leonard Wood was a perfect fit for this group,” said Karen Hood, certified travel industry specialist with the Pulaski County Tourism Bureau, which brought the tour to Fort Leonard Wood’s attention.
“We know that our community and the participants of the convoy will enjoy the visit,” Hood said.
Following the static display, the MVPA plans to enjoy a private dinner banquet at the John B. Mahaffey Museum to fuel up for the remaining 25 days of their journey.
Brad Nelson, a nine-year MVPA member, who helped to coordinate this year’s 2,300-mile convoy, said to be part of the MVPA, one only needs to have an “interest in preserving military vehicles.”
“You do not need to be a veteran to be in the MVPA, but there are many veterans who are members,” he said.
Nelson said MVPA members participate in the convoy, which is held every two to three years, because “it is a good excuse to drive their vehicles and see the country at 35 miles per hour.”
“You don’t get to see America on the interstate,” he said. “I don’t know who gets a bigger kick from the event — the drivers or the people who come out to see us. It’s fun to see the responses.”
Honoring veterans is an important goal of the event.
“The convoy participants use this event as an opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to all military Veterans, active-duty armed forces personnel and their Families for their service to our country,” Nelson said.
The public is invited and encouraged to meet and greet the vehicle owners and take photos.
“The visit represents a joint effort between Pulaski County Tourism, the city of St. Robert, the MVPA, Fort Leonard Wood, and the surrounding community,” Col. Tracy Lanier, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Leonard Wood garrison commander, said. “Fort Leonard Wood looks forward to a great event and everyone is invited to come out to enjoy this historic visit.”
In addition to meeting with MVPA drivers, the public may also tour the indoor and outdoor museum displays, which will be open after hours that day. The 399th Army Band Jazz Combo is slated to perform to welcome the MVPA and guests.
To gain access to Fort Leonard Wood, visitors should be prepared to provide a current driver’s license, proof of insurance and vehicle registration. Visitors are not required to have a pass to attend this event.
Daugherty Bowling Center and the John B. Mahaffey Museum are located on South Dakota Avenue. Additional parking will be available across the street at Davidson Fitness Center.
For more information, call the Pulaski County Tourism Bureau at 573.336.6355 or the Fort Leonard Wood Public Affairs Office at 573.563.5034/4145.