Sixth-generation soldier rides in Rolling Thunder to show support for the military

Jake Hughes
May 23, 2018 - 9:48 am

(Image courtesy of Gary Brinson)


Gary Brinson knows a thing or two about service to one’s country. His son is currently enrolled in the Ranger Assessment Selection Program, or RASP. He himself is a veteran of both the Coast Guard and the Army, where he served as a Warrant Officer. His father was a Green Beret who served three tours in Vietnam. His grandfather also served in the Army. While he’s not sure about his great-grandfather, his great-great-grandfather served in the North Carolina Army during the Civil War, and his grandfather served during the American Revolution. His family extends all across America, and there’s even a town in Georgia that shares his name. “I have a lot of pride in my country, and a lot of pride in what we do.”

Gary got his love of motorcycles form his father. While stationed in Germany in the 1950’s, the Army auctioned off several World War II Harley-Davidsons, and Gary's father bought one for $250. After returning from Vietnam, when Gary was eight years old, his father bought him an orange Suzuki Trailhopper. “I rode that bike for ages, I loved it.” While he eventually outgrew the Suzuki, his passion for bikes never wavered. He’s ridden both two and three-wheeled motorcycles. Today, he rides a Harley-Davidson ’17 Road Glide Ultra and that’s the bike he’ll ride to Rolling Thunder this weekend.

He never got to participate in the ride while he was in the Army, but he eventually attended with his father. It was important to Gary that he honor the troops, but even more so for his father. “Growing up in Fayetteville, NC, around Fort Bragg, we were kind of insulated from the way Vietnam veterans were treated when they came home.” After this, Gary got involved with the Patriot Guard Riders, so he could further serve fallen troops and their families.

(Image courtesy of Gary Brinson)

When asked specifically why he rides in Rolling Thunder, Gary got quiet for a minute, then said “I think it’s important, and I think it’s the greatest way to honor our troops. Riding in a group is a lot of fun, I love it. It’s the biggest show of support for the military every year. You think about all the guys coming in from all across the country, and I’m only 60 miles away from Washington, so I feel almost obligated to go."

“I do a lot of things for veterans. I write resumes for them for free, and other things I do to show support for them. (Rolling Thunder) is just one more thing we can do to serve our nation and serve those who are serving. I just feel so much pride in anything that’s done out there that supports our military.”

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