Convoy heads for downtown Sulphur Springs Saturday

Military vehicle preservation group making 1st stop here

By BRUCE ALSOBROOK | News-Telegram Managing Editor

Nov 1, 2007 - If you thought the 87 classic cars and street rods that filled the downtown square for Saturday's Heritage Square Rod Run were tough, wait'll you get a gander at what's coming this weekend.

Staff Photo by Angela PItts

This M151-A1 “Mutt” is one example of the restored military vehicles that will convoy to downtown Sulphur Springs Saturday.

A parade of restored historic military vehicles from the Red River Valley chapter of the Military Vehicle Preservation Association will stop on the Hopkins County Courthouse square about 11 a.m. Saturday during the association's annual Fall Convoy.

Rick Ellison, a chapter member who lives south of Arbala just a stone's through away from Hopkins County, said as many as 20 vehicles from past wars can be expected to participate in the semi-annual convoy, held each spring and fall. This is the first year the group has brought the convoy through Sulphur Springs.

"It's an association that is decidated to procuring and preserving military vehicles of all shapes and sizes," said Ellison, whose personal livery includes a Korean War-era M38 Willys Jeep and a 1943 GPW, a jeep made by Ford.  "Veterans like to come out and take pictures, and we love talking to them. And the kids, they have a ball."

It's hard to say exactly how many military trucks, jeeps and halftracks are owned by chapter members — "There are bunch," Ellison said — but anywhere from 8 to 20 can be expected to make the trek to the Rains County Fairgrounds Saturday morning. That's the starting and end point for the convoy's expected 65 to 90 mile round trip, with the first stop at the soldier's memorial on Heritage Square in Sulphur Springs expected between 10:45 a.m. and 11 a.m.

Ellison said the association's collection is varied, from armored vehicles to recon trucks to half-tracks that "don't convoy too good." In fact, a 1942 World War 2 M3A1 troop transport vehicle built by RRV MVPA member Clay Cunningham brought oohs and aahs last Saturday when it was on display at the Honor Our Veterans Artstock Festival, held at the same time as the Heritage Square Rod Run.

But there might be a 1955 Canadian Ferret, an armoured fighting vehicle designed and built for reconnaissance purposes. There are a few examples of the type of car Gen. George S. Patton rode used, as well as some battlefield ambulances and, of course, lots of jeeps.

"The deuce-and-a-half convoy trucks may not be able to make it," Ellison added, referring to the M35, the venerable cargo truck that could carry 5,000 pounds cross country or 10,000 over roads.

Military Vehicle Preservation Association:

Red River Valley chapter:

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