DULUTH, GA. – Marines from Marine Special Operations Command took part in a bicycle ride from Little Creek, Va., to Lake Lanier Resort, Ga., from Sept. 4 through Sept. 9 to honor fallen Special Forces operators.
“The concept behind Operation One Voice is pretty simple in that in the days following 9/11 firefighters and police officers handed off protecting our nation to our military troops, especially those at the tip of the spear. We are the 911 service to not only our local communities, but we will also be that for our SOF community.” said Lt. Bill Stevens, Duluth Police Department, Operation One Voice Volunteer CEO.
Operation One Voice sponsored the 6th annual ride, this year was to honor the first Navy Seal killed in Afghanistan, Petty Officer 1st Class Neil Roberts. The Naval Special Warfare, Group Two headquarters was the start of the event, this ride is 605 miles of grueling hills and weather. the riders took off to make their first stop in Ft. Bragg, N.C. 16 riders participated, they were split into three groups. Each rider had their own bike ranging from your regular road bikes to professional bikes being almost as expensive as a used car. Group one started the day, group two rode the most miles, and group three finished each day in the city they stayed. Day one would cover 180 miles for the groups.
“I was privileged to have had the opportunity to participate in the 2012 Operation One Voice Honor Ride that paid tribute to PO1 Neil Roberts. Benevolent organizations such as Operation One Voice and great Americans like Bill Stevens as well as the other police and fire men from Duluth, that made this event happen deserve a loud and thunderous HOOYA! Great ride, great support, great camaraderie, great cause – looking forward to next year!” said Master Chief Petty Officer Rob Keeley, Naval Special Warfare Group Two, Senior Enlisted Leader, Little Creek, Va.
The second and third day were the most exhausting for the riders in group two. Riders had to cover another 200 miles. It is called a century when you ride 100 miles. GySgt. Joshua Chmielewski, MARSOC 1ST MSOB, staff non commission officer in charge, West Coast Recruiting Screening, wanted to honor three operators he knew personally, he was determined to do three centuries for them, he felt honored to have completed these miles. Driven to push himself for a six day period, he finished with a total of 365 miles.
“If I could paint a picture to remind everyone the why and how, it would be of the memory of a Georgia State trooper cycling way beyond his ability with a Navy Seal cyclist on one side and a MARSOC Marine on the other, both with hands on the trooper’s shoulders pushing him forward, NO quitters here,” said Stevens.
MARSOC Commander, Major General Mark A. Clark was the guest of honor for the Operation One Voice ride. He also rode the last 30 miles of the ride. Once the riders reached the city hall in Duluth, riders got off their bikes congratulating each other and shaking hands. The next morning more than 60 local riders join in on the 23.2 miles to finish at the Lake Lanier resort pavilion. During the last stretch the resort lined the path with crosses to honor our fallen military service members, fire fighters, police officers who died on 9/11, service members who died over seas, and our honored fallen Special Forces operators. The final day, 11 year anniversary of 9/11, a ceremony was held at the Lake Lanier pavilion
“As special operators, immediately following the attack we took the fight to them. Letting them know they would not get away with this, and we would not forget,” said Clark in a speech.