Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Patriot Guard at Mills' Funeral

Facing McKoon Funeral Home Tuesday morning, one could see a large "V" of American flags lining the two sidewalks from Jackson Street to the stairs of the funeral home.

The flags swayed gently in a slight breeze. There was an on-and-off drizzle, which seemed appropriate.

Each of the 40 or so flags was held firmly by a man or woman, some young, some old. Many were clad in leather jackets and chaps.

The Patriot Guard Riders were in town. They were here to do what they do.

"We are here today to honor the sacrifice of Adrian Mills and the sacrifice of the family," said Todd "WalkingSlack" Walker, Georgia Ride Captain for the Patriot Guard.

The service for Mills, a hometown son who was killed in Iraq on Sept. 29, was about to start.

"We want the family to understand the citizens of this nation came here and we mourn with them," he added. "We stand in honor of our fallen soldiers."

Formed in the fall of 2005, the Patriot Guard now boasts more than 250,000 members across the country. Their sole purpose is to honor America's military.

Although the majority of riders are former military, there is no such requirement to join. And one does not even have to ride a motorcycle.

"The only requirement for membership is respect of America's fallen heroes," Walker said. "We don't have meetings or anything like that.

"Unfortunately, about the only time we see each other is in these flag lines."

After the service, the Patriot Guard headed toward their motorcycles and cars.

It was time for one last ride for Mills -- escorting him to his final resting place at the Georgia National Cemetery in Canton.

The 23-year-old Spec. Adrian G. Mills, who graduated from Northgate High School in Coweta County, was killed Sept. 29 while on active military duty in Kirkuk, Iraq. His unit was attacked by insurgents using indirect fire.

Mills was assigned to the 272nd Military Police Company, 519th Military Police Battalion, 1st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade at Fort Polk, La., and was supporting Operation New Dawn.

His mother and stepfather, Marie and Jeff Blehschmidt, live in Newnan. He also is survived by other relatives, including his wife, Sandra.

Newnan Times-Herald