HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah – Air Force Cycling Team members from Hill and other installations across the country represented the Air Force as “Guardians Angels of the Road” on a more than 500-mile, week-long ride last month.
The AFCT assisted fellow riders and shared the Air Force story with riders along the route of the world’s oldest, largest and longest multi-day bicycle touring event, the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, or RAGBRAI.
“This is our banner event where teams like ours from the Utah region join the larger (Air Force) team,” said Chief Master Sgt. Trey Munn who is stationed at Hill. “RAGBRAI offers us the opportunity to positively represent the Air Force by assisting the public with bike malfunctions, medical emergencies and through public outreach.”
An eight-member team of cyclists from Hill joined more than 140 other AFCT riders to make the east-to-west trek across Iowa alongside nearly 30,000 riders from across the United States and other countries.
The AFCT consists of active-duty Airmen, Reservists, Air National Guardsman, Air Force civilians and dependents. A team of 15 young Airmen supported the entire team by transporting equipment and setting up tents each day.
“The “Guardian Angels of the Road” is something we were called three years ago and it stuck,” said Senior Master Sgt. Larry Gallo, executive director of the AFCT and currently stationed at Lackland AFB, Texas.
“It came about after the public posted social media accolades and stated that every time they broke down, one of our members were standing next to them willing to help, almost like they materialized,” said Gallo.
The AFCT riders carry extra tubes and supplies, including first aid items with them each day. Daily mileage ranges anywhere from 45 to 100 miles and all riders must complete the course by a specified time each day.
Between rides, the team visited Veteran Administration retirement homes and hospitals along the route. In addition, the team spent time mentoring the Dream Team, a team of 40 underserved youth from Iowa. The AFCT team also hosted a dinner in which they invited the public to join them.
The Air Force does not fund team efforts and members pay for their own uniforms, ride fees, travel and other expenses.
Fund raising and the strong support from local businesses and community leaders here in Utah help supplement team travel expenses, said Munn.
Although it is the biggest event of the riding season for the AFCT, the RAGBRAI is only one of many events and activities team members participate in during the year.
“Throughout the year team members across the country volunteer at hospitals, put out flags on Memorial Day, volunteer at homeless shelters and on the side of the road, help people fix their bikes,” said Munn.