View Full Version : Green Beret builds motorcycle, honors fallen comrades

09-07-2005, 16:23

Green Beret builds motorcycle, honors fallen comrades
By Sgt. Joe Healy
U.S. Army Special Operations Command Public Affairs Office

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (USASOC News Service, Sept. 7, 2005) — Soldiers always remember comrades that die during battle. The U.S. Army Special Operations Command memorializes the lives all fallen Green Berets, placing their names on the Memorial Wall here at the U.S. Army Special Operations Forces Memorial Plaza.

One career Green Beret decided to commemorate his comrades by creating something that would transport the names of the fallen around the country for everyone to see - a motorcycle.

“I put together the motorcycle as a tribute to all of my fallen brothers-in-arms,” said Sgt. 1st Class Jeff Smith, an instructor at the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School. “It’s a way to remember them.”

The motorcycle is an interactive, mobile memorial. Fellow Green Berets, motorcycle enthusiasts and the general public marvel at its specific details and symbolism, Smith said.

Smith first unveiled the motorcycle during the 5th Anniversary of the Airborne and Special Operations Museum Opening Aug.19. The immediate response from audience members was amazement and bewilderment. People asked Smith why and how he built it while they examined his handiwork.

On Aug. 26, Smith won first place in the 2005 Fort Bragg Best Motorcycle Competition at the Green Beret Club. He received a $250 prize.

Attention to detail and meticulous preparation were the cornerstones of the two-year long project, Smith said.

The motorcycle has a soft-tail frame with a 113 cubic inch pan shovel motor and a six-speed transmission. The foot pedals are cement-filled grenade replicas and the shift and foot-brake levers are .50 caliber rounds. The fuel tank holds 4.8 gallons. An M-2 machine gun mock up is built on its front fender, and a Special Forces Coin is melted onto the rear brake.

The names of all fallen Green Berets who have fallen since 9/11 are written in white paint on the rear fender. So far there are 47 names painted on the bike, current as of Aug. 1, 2005.

The unit flashes of USAJFKSWCS, 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, 8th, 10th, 19th and 20th Special Forces Groups (Airborne) are painted on the gas tank. The Special Forces Tab and Airborne Tab crest are carved into the motorcycle’s black leather seat.

“The cost of the bike are the names inscribed on it,” Smith said. “The money spent to build it is immaterial.”

Smith, a 40 year-old Indinia, Penn., native, said he used two tools- a drill press and a dremmel while laboring away in his garage. Only the dark green paint job and seat carving were done by other people.

“The community here at Fort Bragg understands why I built the bike,” Smith said.

“Sergeant First Class Smith built this memorial motorcycle to honor the memory of those Special Forces Soldiers who have paid the ultimate price defending America's freedom,” said Command Sgt. Maj. David M. Bruner, command sergeant major, USAJFKSWCS. “He lives by the Warrior Ethos; Soldier's Creed and understands freedom has always been worth fighting for. This is his way of honoring those fallen comrades, and I am tremendously proud of him.”

The motorcycle had only 20 miles on its odometer as of Labor Day. Plans are to put hundreds of thousands of miles with full-day rides on weekends, Smith said.

“I think the best way to pay tribute to our fallen Soldiers is to ride the bike,” Smith said. “When the bike is cruisin’ the fallen Green Berets are remembered.”


09-07-2005, 16:25
"I put together the motorcycle as a tribute to all of my fallen brothers-in-arms," said Sgt. 1st Class Jeff Smith, an instructor at the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School. "It's a way to remember them." (Army photo by Gillian Albro, USASOC PAO)

09-07-2005, 16:25
The Special Forces Tab and Airborne Tab crest are craved into the motorcycle's black leather seat. (Army photo by Gillian Albro, USASOC PAO)

09-07-2005, 16:47
Hell I thought I was really doing something by having a large SF window sticker across the windshield on my scooter and wearing the crest and flash on my vest. Jeff has taken "SF Pride" to the next level. I hope he can bring his scooter to "Rolling Thunder" here in DC next year. If any of you FayetteNam bros can get ahold of him, give him my contact info, I'll give him chow and a place to stay for the festivities.

09-10-2005, 16:28
Thanks for that info Dan...gives me a few project bike ideas of my own. Lot of SF riding out there, it would be nice to see what Jeff did to his bike catch on in more of the community - I'd like to find out where he got the leather work done, that SF arrowhead on the seat is real quality work!

09-10-2005, 18:27
Here's another view of the bike

09-11-2005, 08:03
Sweet bike. I remember watching Jeff work on bikes in the parking lot at Campbell.