"Marines: The Few The Proud" motorcycle club revs up Central Park

31 May 2004 | Cpl. Clinton Firstbrook

Over the endless procession of traffic and chatter during the 17th Annual Fleet Week, the distinct sound of revving engines roared through New York City heading for Marine Day in Central Park, where they proudly displayed the colors of the "Marines: The Few The Proud" motorcycle club.Among martial arts, dog handling, and other Marine Corps demonstrations, seven Vietnam veterans dressed in camouflaged utilities set their motorcycles on display and talked to attendees about their organization and prior service. "I thought all of the motorcycles really added to the event and were a great display," said Raychel Maguire, Marine Day attendee. "You could see how proud they are of their service in the Marine Corps. They were all extremely friendly and more than happy to answer any of our questions. They even let my friends and I pose for a picture on one of their motorcycles."Throughout the year this 15-member group travels along the east coast performing at parades and ceremonies paying tribute to those who have and are currently serving their country. "For a Marine to participate in an event like this one with the new recruits ... you see that the Marine Corps is in good hands," said Stew Rubin, "Marines: The Few The Proud" vice president. "They're upholding the very same Corps values when we were in the Corps. This is where we belong."Formed by three members in June 2003, this club quickly distinguished themselves from other motorcycle groups by not charging an enrollment fee. Their only requirements to become a member are that interested parties are affiliated with the Marine Corps League or an active duty service member who is authorized to wear the Fleet Marine Force ribbon and that you uphold the traditions of the United States Marine Corps."We don't collect dues each month like other clubs," said Bob Heise, "Marines: The Few The Proud" sergeant at arms. "If you've earned the eagle, globe and anchor, we don't prospect you. If you've earned the right to wear that emblem, you've earned the right to be one of us." But upholding the Corps' traditions involves more than just being courteous. Members must also keep themselves squared away and inspection ready. "We're not bikers," Rubin said. "We don't want to look like bikers. We keep our hair short and our boots and bikes spit shined. We want to represent the Marine Corps how it should be. That's what we're about. We enjoy riding, but foremost we're Marines and we will always be Marines."At least every other week you can catch these motorcyclists out on the road. The following morning after Marine Day in Central Park some of the members also rode down with Vietnam veteran motorcyclists to Washington D.C., for Rolling Thunder and to the Massapequa Memorial Day Parade in Long Island, NY. "If we're not attending an event of our own, we're out doing somebody else's," said Heise. "One event that we're all going out on next month is a benefit run for a Marine who was injured in Iraq. Marines helping Marines; that's what we're all about." "I hadn't ridden a motorcycle in 30 years," said John Lee, motorcycle member. "When I went out and bought another bike I wanted to ride it with Marines. The camaraderie we have is the best part about being in the club. We all share the same bond because we are all brothers." While members are proud of their accomplishments there is one goal they have yet to reach. "Our dream is to one day have a "Marines: The Few The Proud" chapter in every state and at every base," said Rubin. "That would be incredible."
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