A collector of military vehicles and a member of MVPA (Military Vehicle Preservation Association) local resident, Lee Holland, joined members last weekend re-tracing the route of the historic Military convoy of 1920 along the BankHead Highway from Washington D.C. to San Diego California. Holland joined the MVPA 2015 Convoy that departed from Washington D.C. on Saturday, September 19 with plans to stay with the convoy into Georgia. The convoy planned to arrive in San Diego, Calif. on October 17, the end of the BankHead Highway.
Holland had to cut his trip short in his 1942 WC 56 military jeep at the North Carolina line due to the loss of his support vehicles carrying his supplies. “The supply vehicles stopped for fuel in Tappahannock. There was water in the gas, causing them to sputter.” The water caused problems on the vehicles engines. “My command car [1942 WC 56] purred like a kitten,” he said on Monday. “We had 54 vehicles in the convoy and had lots of fun.”
Friends from Chester came out for the parade of military vehicles on Sunday catching the convoy at the intersections of Route 1 and Jefferson Davis Highway. The convoy had several gaps due to the UCI Bike Races in Richmond but regained their impressiveness further south before entering Blackstone, Virginia.
The convoy route in the southern section of the highway brought out several parade viewers. “Many got a kick out of my mannequin [the General] sitting my backseat,” Holland said. “We had good turnouts in Blackstone and Kenbridge with people waving flags. A number of churches had their congregations out to greet us and there was an American Legion Group in South Hill that saluted us as we went by.”
The John H. Bankhead National Highway was one of the earliest American auto trails. It connects the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., and San Diego, California on the Pacific. The Bankhead Highway was an important transcontinental route, and its name still appears on many roads to this day. The last convoy to travel the highway was in 1920.
For more information on the convoy, visit the convoy’s Facebook page or MVPA.org. In addition, amateur radio operators can follow the convoy’s progress via ConvoyOnTheAir.org.