Metal of Honor on the Move

Filed under: , by: Krystal

I went with Dana today to pick Metal of Honor up from Chrome Fusion. She was in the shop having her pipes re-coated. The original black powder coat was flaking off. The new powder coat has a high gloss instead of matte finish. Dana isn't sure he likes it as much, but it will wear MUCH Better and hopefully not flake off.

metal of honor pipes powder coat harley davidson
Here's Dana and Sandy (he did all the hand engraving on Metal of Honor) with the bike inside the shop. As you can see, Sandy is a very busy man with a bunch of projects in the hopper. He says he going to stop doing small projects and focus on full bike jobs, like Metal. So if you wanted an engraved bike, well now you know who to call!

Chrome fusion harley davidson

We didn't bring the trailer so Dana rode Metal over to Red Rock Harley where she has to go into the shop again for a factory recall to replace something or other. He rarely gets to ride her and LOVES how loud and fast she is. Don't really get to open her up in traffic since I don't think we went over 40mph. A pretty sedate ride for him, but I did get to drive the large and luxurious Ford Explorer (or whatever this giant SUV is that he owns) behind him on the way over. No way am I letting some idiot get behind him and damage "my" Harley! I usually drive a tiny Nissan Versa and well, you certainly feel much more invulnerable in one of these tanks! Once I figured out where the parking brake was hidden so I could disengage it so it would quit beeping at me, I quite enjoyed the air conditioned seats. It was a mind-numbing 110 degrees in Vegas today, in case you were wondering.

Dana checking out the new tank guard leather piece from Shirley over at BadAss Seats.

metal of honor harley davidson

Watch out - Woman driver with a camera! (hey, I can poke fun at myself but you better hush!)

metal of honor harley davidson

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A Special Tribute to a Special Sailor

Filed under: , , , , , , by: PearlsofHonor

During the recent month-long series of celebrations for the 100th birthday of Medal of Honor Recipient John W. Finn, John was more-than happy to carry out a special request to administer the oath of reenlistment for a fellow Navy Aviation Ordnanceman.

This particular reenlistment ceremony was scheduled to take place during the 4th of July Parade held in Coronado, California.

And with John Finn being the Guest of Honor at the parade, a special pre-parade dinner was held at a very nice restaurant in Coronado the night before.

Among the invited guests were the sailor who was to receive the oath of reenlistment, Aviation Ordnanceman 3rd Class (AO3), Melissa Thorton, as well as her mother, who flew all the way from Florida to attend this special event.
Metal of honor tribute harley world war II pearl harborAs an aside, prior to the commencement of the dinner party, I brought “Metal of Honor” out the trailer and put her on display in front of the restaurant for the guests and the public to see. And as expected, much of my time during the dinner party was spent chatting with people who asked to take pictures of the bike, as well as having wonderful conversations about the project as a whole.

During the dinner party, Melissa rose to her feet and expressed her deep appreciation for the honor of being selected to have the most-revered Ordnanceman in Naval history, John Finn, administer the oath; and I think there wasn’t one person in attendance who wasn’t deeply moved by Melissa’s words... as she stated: "We're not among heroes, we're among angels."Metal of honor tribute harley AO3 Thorton John W. FinnAs the party was relaxing after a fine evening meal, Melissa took the time to step outside so as to take a few pictures of the bike to show her fellow Ordnancemen aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz.
Metal of honor tribute harley AO3 Thorton John W. Finn Metal of honor tribute harley AO3 Thorton John W. Finn And I have to believe by the shear number of photos Melissa took of the bike that she found it pretty special... what with the Aviation Ordnance community's favorite hero engraved on the tank.

Metal of honor tribute harley AO3 Thorton John W. Finn Melissa even got on the phone to tell her friends about the bike as well as how excited she was to be eating dinner with the hero of the Aviation Ordnance world, John Finn.
The following day, Independence Day 2009, brought with it spectacular blue skies and parade fans 12-deep on both sides of the nearly 2 mile long parade route.

And with fellow Aviation Ordnancemen marching in escort of the classic GTO convertible carrying the oldest living Medal of Honor Recipient, Melissa and her mother waited with great anticipation of the arrival of John at the reviewing stand.
With a spotless inspection-ready dress white uniform, AO3 Thorton stood at attention, and with right hand raised, took the oath of reenlistment from the Medal of Honor who her fellow Ordnancemen hold as their greatest example of Naval service.
And what a wonderful gift to remember this special event by, that of a beautifully framed picture of John Finn, along with a copy of his Medal of Honor Citation, and adorned with three separate Medal of Honor challenge coins, another of the Purple Heart, and an Ordnanceman coin; something any AO would be extremely proud to have on their wall.

All who had the chance to meet and chat with Melissa over this two day period who I subsequently spoke with mentioned that Melissa not only beamed with excitement over these events, but displayed that special spark of energy that only a true sense of the love of duty can bring forth. In short, Melissa made us all feel our own renewed sense of duty to this country.

And that wonderful feeling Melissa left us with is why we all were so incredibly shocked and saddened to hear the news that Melissa was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident only two weeks after the 4th of July.
My prayers for her mother Judi and family have been constant, and in some small way, I hope the photographs taken of this very special sailor will inspire others to find their own love of duty for this country.

Non sibi sed patriae

(Not self but country)

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Visiting Nellis AFB Officer's Club

Filed under: , , , , by: Krystal

We had a great visit today with the Las Vegas PHSA Chapter out at Nellis AFB Officer's Club. The Survivors were very moved to see the bike and thrilled to see themselves on Metal's trailer. Quite a few of the officers and airmen going in to lunch stopped to check out the bike as well.

nellis air force base officer's club metal of honor harley pearl harbornellis air force base officer's club metal of honor harley pearl harbor
nellis air force base officer's club metal of honor harley pearl harborPearl Harbor Survivor Jack Gold (93, oldest member of Las Vegas PHSA) stands proudly with Metal of Honor at the Nellis Officer Club. The Harley Davidson Cross Bones is owned by Dana Harbaugh, Las Vegas author and Navy Veteran. He created the bike with help from several local artisans to honor all those involved in the attack on Pearl Harbor.

nellis air force base officer's club metal of honor harley pearl harbor
Dana shows LV PHSA Chapter President Ed Hall, the detailed engravings that adorn Metal of Honor. The bike features over 100 images telling the story of the attack.

nellis air force base officer's club metal of honor harley pearl harborNearing 90 years old, Las Vegas Survivor Clifton Dohrmann climbed right up on Metal of Honor for a picture. He was just delighted to see the bike and his picture on the front of the trailer. Once up on the bike, he gave Metal a good look over. He seemed very touched by the tribute to him and those he served with at Pearl Harbor.

nellis air force base officer's club metal of honor harley pearl harbornellis air force base officer's club metal of honor harley pearl harbornellis air force base officer's club metal of honor harley pearl harbor

nellis air force base officer's club metal of honor harley pearl harbor

Just as we were getting ready to put Metal away, Dana snapped this picture of a flyover by the world famous Thunderbirds. I am sure they had no idea we were there - just a lucky coincidence, but it made a great shot!

Many thanks to Cate Berry for making sure security let us in the gate :)

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A nice thank you from the kids

Filed under: by: Krystal

thank you note

A while back Dana took Metal of Honor over to a local school. He just recently received the sweetest Thank You card from the teacher and her kids.

Dream the impossible dream

Filed under: , , , , by: Krystal

The USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor is under going a huge renovation in preparation for it's grand reopening in December of 2010. Dana really wants to take Metal of Honor, the truck and the trailer over for the ceremony, but I can't even fathom how much that would cost! So he says to me.. "Hey I bet some high muckety-muck General could make this happen." I started laughing , but then I remember one of my guiding rules in life.. " if you don't ask, they can't say yes!"

So I'm asking. Anyone have any bright ideas on how to get the truck, trailer, and bike to Hawaii for the ceremony ... without it eating up the printing budget for the book, I mean.

Ok, back to the real world now.

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Video of Metal and all the engravings

Filed under: , , , by: Krystal

David Melchior kindly sent this video over of Dana showing some guests at gathering held Joe & Lil Larkin's house all the engravings on Metal of Honor.

At the Joe Larkin's in San Diego, Dana Harbaugh goes over features of his customized 2009 Harley Davidson that is dedicated to Pearl Harbor survivors. He is explaining to Medal of Honor recipients SP4 John Baca, USA and Colonel Bob Modrzejewski, USMC. Also pictured is retired Marine Captain Joe Larkin. Metal of Honor is a play on words by Dana. His website is: Dana served in the US Navy.

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More honor for John's 100th

Filed under: , , , by: Krystal

I guess you could say Dana's friend John Finn is a "rock star." The US Navy certainly thinks so, especially all the ordnancemen. Here's a story from DVIDS about a flag that has been traveling the world over to be flown in honor of John's 100th birthday. Second story. Third story

"We all gathered together during flight operations today to honor a man that we respect very highly," said Clift. "Aviation ordnancemen look up to this man for his accomplishments and for his leadership within his rate and his community." The flag that was raised on Eisenhower yesterday has already been flown at sea aboard USS George Washington, USS John C. Stennis and USS Ronald Reagan. It will continue making its way from one destination to the next until it is finally presented to Finn on his 100th birthday, July 23.

A photo Dana took of John at one of his MANY 100th birthday parties.
This image and two others Dana took of John's Medal of Honor were enlarged to adorn the car John and his longtime caretaker Francis rode in during the Coronado 4th of July Parade.

Did I mention John got to meet another President this spring?

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A few more 4th of July pics...

Filed under: , , , , , by: PearlsofHonor

I presume many have never seen a "Medal of Honor" flag carried in a parade... but since John W. Finn was the guest of honor at this year's 4th of July Parade in Coronado, California... his banner was seen by thousands that day.4th of july parade john w finn coronado island medal of honor And of course, the Medal of Honor Recipient John Finn, seated in the back of this beautiful GTO, had Navy Aviation Ordnanceman marching alongside his vehicle.

4th of july parade john w finn coronado island medal of honor

Nothing could have topped off this wonderful 4th of July day more than the incredible honor I received when two other Medal of Honor Recipients, John P. Baca (left) and Mr. Robert J. Modrzejewski (right) (click on their link to read their MOH Citations) took the time to do their own inspection of the Remember Pearl Harbor Tribute Motorcycle during a neighborly backyard picnic.

Their complements on this project were incredibly moving to this Navy veteran...

Words from these great men can only help to inspire.

4th of july parade john w finn coronado island medal of honor

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It's Military Monday on twitter

Filed under: , , by: PearlsofHonor

If you're on twitter and love our troops, please support #Militarymon or #militarymonday by tweeting out a thank you to someone you know who's served or a cause that helps our fighting folks. Just add the hashtag #militarymon or #militarymonday to your tweet.

Curious how some of our troops spend the 4th of July? More pics and story at Gazing at the Flag blog.

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Thank a solider or veteran this 4th of July

Filed under: by: PearlsofHonor

4th of july flag
While you and your family celebrate freedom and independence this weekend, take a few minutes to pay honor to those who have fought and continue to fight for our freedom. Remind your children that freedom has a price and this day is not just for fireworks and pool parties.

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Couple of pics from the photo shoot

Filed under: , by: Krystal

I've been retouching pictures for the past couple of days. Our photographer did a great job, but Metal is a giant mirror with all that chrome. There were a lot of reflections that had to be removed or disguised. Here are just a few of the final pics.

metal of honor tribute harley pearl harbor world war II

We had to put Metal of Honor in the Condor Pit Stop Chok for the pics on the grass. Dana just didn't trust the kick stand on the soft, just watered lawn by the lake. This chok is awesome. Only weighs 22 pounds and Metal stays very stable, even when bumped, on ANY surface. Sometimes you have to make trade offs, especially when you're shooting something that would be so hard to repair if damaged. As a designer, I really appreciate clever, elegant and simple to use design. We were so impressed when we saw them at the Laughlin bike rally earlier this year. Dana bought one for Metal like two weeks later. You just can't beat good old American-made ingenuity!

metal of honor tribute harley pearl harbor world war IIDetail of the gas tank with John Finn's signature.

metal of honor tribute harley pearl harbor world war III love the angle Nate got on the pipes.

metal of honor tribute harley pearl harbor world war IIFinally, some nice pics of Dana with the bike. I voted for the smile one, but he likes this "Mr. Serious Harley Rider" one. I'll win this debate yet, I swear!

metal of honor tribute harley pearl harbor world war IIThe V for Victory seal on the front fender.

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