LIGONIER — An international convoy of historic military vehicles traveling from Washington D.C. to San Francisco will pass through western Noble County on Aug. 18.
On that Sunday, the convoy of 50-plus vehicles will be rolling along U.S. 33, leaving from a lunch in Churubusco and passing through Merriam, Wolf Lake, Kimmell and Ligonier on its way into Elkhart County.
The Military Vehicle Preservation Association will be conducting a 100th Anniversary Convoy across the United States in 2019 with as many as 70 Historic Military Vehicles retracing the original 1919 U.S. Army’s Transcontinental Motor Convoy route along the famed Lincoln Highway.
The MVPA 2019 Transcontinental Motor Convoy will launch from Washington, D.C., this Sunday and arrive in San Francisco on Sept. 14.
More than 50 historic military vehicles are expected to travel the entire 3,200-plus-mile coast-to-coast route.
The convoy will follow the original Lincoln Highway route as closely as possible. The route begins on the lowlands of the eastern seaboard, traverses the rolling hills of Pennsylvania, travels the lush farmlands of the Midwest, crosses the high plains, dips into the Great Salt Lake Basin in Utah, crosses the Nevada Desert, climbs the Sierra Nevada and descends to Lake Tahoe, and ends in the splendor of California and the San Francisco Bay area.
The event is to mark a nationwide trek of military vehicles that occurred 100 years ago.
In 1919, the U.S. Army decided to plan and execute a motor convoy of various vehicles across the country, on the newly formed Lincoln Highway. In general, the route began at the White House and ended at Lincoln Park, in San Francisco, traversing about 3,250 miles and taking 62 days. It was the first major convoy ever to cross the entire country.
Objectives of the convoy included putting the equipment through as grueling a trial as could be devised; study how the varying road conditions affected each branch of the service; recruit new soldiers for the Army across the U.S.; demonstrate the need for good roads; and, unofficially, to thank the American people for their support during World War I, which ended just months before on Nov. 11, 1918.
Among the soldiers staffing that historic convoy were future Lt. Col Dwight D. Eisenhower, future Allied Supreme Commander in World War II and 34th president of the United States.
The convoy will enter Indiana on Aug. 18, coming from Delphos, Ohio, and heading west toward Fort Wayne.
The convoy will then begin heading northwest, making a lunch stop at the American Legion in Churubusco. After lunch, the convoy will continue up U.S. 33 through Merriam, Wolf Lake, Kimmell and Ligonier before exiting Noble County toward its daily stopping point in South Bend.
The next day, the convoy will continue west from South Bend across the north of the state, stopping in Merrillville for lunch before heading into Illinois.