Ride Rally for the Haditha Marines

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On June 23, 2007, a Blue Star father, Don Dinsmore (US Navy, retired) set out by motorcycle from Seattle, Washington for the main gate at Camp Pendleton in Oceanside, California.

(See news stories from the North County Times and NBC San Diego. View a video here.)

He arrived on June 28th and led a rally in support of the Haditha Marines, seven Marine officers and enlisted men being prosecuted on charges arising from an incident in Haditha, Iraq.

This page is a photo diary of Don’s journey. Go directly to the rally here. For an After Action Report, see here


June 23, 2007

Let’s get this Ride & Rally for
the Haditha Marines on the road!

Don Dinsmoreset out this morning from Seattle, Washington. Destination: The gates of Camp Pendleton, Oceanside, California.

He will be traveling 1,220 miles over the next five days down Interstate 5…

Photos from the departure: Seattle, Washington, June 23, 2007


June 23, 2007

Ten Miles from Roseburg, Oregon

Here’s Don Dinsmore’s report for the day of June 23, 2007…

Stopped for the night 10 miles from Roseburg, Oregon. Can’t set up a tent in a Rest Stop, so it’s sleeping bags and air mattresses.

We will meet a 3/1 Support Parent in Grants Pass as he waves Old Glory with us when we ride by.

Some of us stop for gas and a chance to chew the fat.

You can find Marine Parents just about anywhere. These folks drove about 50 miles to support us this morning.
They gave us the best send off ever.

As parents of Marines we need to get involved now and get training on how we can support our Defenders “before” they get into trouble. There are definite ways to counter the accusations and charges. And believe me parents can be the best Third Base Coaches.

As an example, on Capt. Jeff’s first 18 hour interrogation I told him to turn his phone to vibrate. “I will call you Jeff.” He said “Dad I won’t be able to answer the phone.” I said, I don’t expect you to answer, but when it vibrates against your leg you will know that I am right there with you and you aren’t there by yourself. Not alone is one of the most important things that we can do for them. And Dads can do it best.

Don Dinsmore


June 24, 2007

Redding, California

Don’s report for the day of June 24, 2007…

I’d ride a mile or two for a hug. I tell you, actually, I’m getting a lot of hugs on this trip. I have not met one person who was not elated by what we are doing.

Everyone knows and is nauseated by Paris Hilton in jail, but has no idea the Marines are charged and in jail. There response has been, “I didn’t know, tell me about it.”

Bob Reich, Jason’s dad met us in Grant’s Pass this morning. He called me a couple of times to make sure he could link up his support, and a great support he was. He gave me some terrific ideas for the ride.

I’m in Redding, California and should be in Chico about 8 AM and Sacramento at 1 PM. I’ve been ask to ride up to the capital building, and I plan to do that.

The groups in the two attached photos are those who met me in Grants Pass and a Rest Stop just after that.

It was great to see a long line of Old Glories heading down the freeway, all for the same reason.

From Roseburg to Grants Pass, June 24th


June 26, 2007

Redding to Stockton, California

Don writes…

I spent time with Mike Anderson today at his GMC dealership south of Stockton, California. Mike is a 3/1 Marine Gold Star father. His son, Cpl. Mike Anderson, Jr., was killed in Fallujah in 2004.

It was truly a treat and a privilege to meet such a humble dad. I can not imagine his position. If any of you get the opportunity to shake his gracious hand, believe me it is worth the travel to do so. If any know me, they know that I don’t say nice things unless I mean them. I am anything but a politician. Mike put the frosting on the trip.

Below are The Weasels of California. They maintain that they are a drinking club that likes to ride motorcycles, not a motorcycle club. There were more, but had tire and riding trouble. Mike Anderson is on the far left and Rick Tedford is just to the left, behind me. They all were great and that leg of the ride was very entertaining and hospitable. The Weasels contributed a big bundle of money and presented it to me at Mike’s dealership.

Rick cooked me a steak and treated me like one of the family. They all took the day off of work to ride for “No Man Left Behind.”

The toughest haul: the San Joaquin Valley to Bakersfield.

Share your soldiers story with us like hundreds of soldiers have already done.


June 27, 2007

Bakersfield, California

A Haditha Marine supporter heard about Don’s trip on the Internet. She invited him tostop for a visit (and a donation) at a motorcycle shop, Renegade Classics, in Bakersfield. Her is her account of his visit:

I spoke to Don on the phone on Monday night. He decided to stop by Bakersfield as we had a donation for him. My brother (ex-Air Force) owns Renegade Classics which is a motorcycle clothing and accessories store. It is family owned and operated. I called someone I knew at the American legion and Marv and his wife Susan brought their trike down.

Marv is a disabled ex-Marine (and of course I know there is never and ex-Marine).

Marv’s trike is amazing. Don got some really good pics of it. It is a Harley Heritage Softtail with total custom paint. The paintjob and all accessories on the bike are related to Vietnam, POW’s, and 9/11. It is amazing, even the front window is engraved.

My brother’s Heritage Softail is painted like the Confederate flag.

We had a great time with Don, he is a great guy!

Photos from Don’s visit to Renegade Classics, Bakersfield:

Morning of June 28: Bakersfield to Los Angeles


The last leg: Los Angeles to Oceanside.

Don at the last rest stop before Camp Pendleton on I-5, ready for the final three miles of his journey.

June 28, 2007

Camp Pendleton
Oceanside, California

For the story of the rally, click here