Historic U.S. Army convoy to visit IVH Aug. 23

Public invited

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Pictured is military vehicle only identified as “B” and off the road. It was part of a 1919 U.S. Army convoy that traveled from Washington D.C to San Francisco. Its mission was to test the American highway and bridge system.

The late U.S. Army General and President Dwight D. Eisenhower earned everlasting fame as Supreme Commander of Allied troops in World War II, but only a few Central Iowans may know he played an active role as a lieutenant colonel in a 1919 U.S. Army convoy that traveled from Washington D.C to San Francisco.

The convoy traveled along the Lincoln Highway – later changed to U.S. Highway 30 – and drove through Marshalltown, according to convoy historians.

“In the summer of 1919, Eisenhower participated in the first Army transcontinental motor convoy,” according to archives from the Eisenhower Library and Museum in Abilene, Kan.

The expedition consisted of 81 motorized vehicles that crossed the country, a venture covering a distance of 3,251 miles in 62 days. The expedition was manned by 24 officers and 258 enlisted men. The major objectives of the expedition were to test various military vehicles, many developed too late for use in World War I, and to determine by actual experience the feasibility of moving an army across the continent.”

Taking on the challenge of re-enacting the historic undertaking is the Military Vehicle Preservation Association, which is replicating the convoy across the entire U.S. along Highway 30 to commemorate the centennial of Eisenhower’s convoy at the close of World War II.

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO U.S. Army Maj. Sereno Brett and Lt. Col. Dwight Eisenhower during the 1919 convoy.

“They will be visiting the Iowa Veterans Home with approximately 30 historic military vehicles in the late afternoon Aug. 23, following a parade, and will be staying on our campus overnight,” said IVH Executive Assistant to the Commandant Dex Walker. “They wish to interact with IVH and Marshalltown residents and allow them opportunity to examine their historic military vehicles. State officials and area veterans groups have been invited.”

Event timeline

• 4 p.m.- MVPA members begin staging in the Miller School parking lot. They will be traveling toward IVH from the east down Main Street.

• 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. – Streets will be closed, including 13th Street between Main and Summit streets and Summit between 13th Street and Independence Avenue.

• 5 p.m. – A small parade will welcome the convoy down through the 13th Street District. A police escort will guide the convoy. The group will turn left at Summit and enter IVH grounds on Independence Avenue, circling the resident living areas before staging in the Sheeler Administration Building parking lot. Residents will be able to park in the ball diamonds and park areas connected to 13th Street.

• 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. – Military vehicles will park and historical presentations will take place.

• 8 p.m. – Event closes down.

Aug 24:

• Sunrise- Convoy departs Marshalltown.

For more information, contact MVPA’s Brad Nelson at 563-508-4167.

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Contact Mike Donahey at

641-753-6611 or

mdonahey@timesrepublican.com