When the Military Vehicle Preservation Association 2017 Route 66 Convoy from Chicago to Los Angeles rumbles through Kingman Monday, don’t be alarmed. It’s not a time warp or a “Twilight Zone” episode.
There will be approximately 65 World War II era military vehicles with 200 people in the convoy. The vehicles will include a motorcycle, semi-truck, support vehicles and jeeps. The top showcase vehicle is a World War II half-track known as the “African Queen.” The Queen served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.
Paul De Nubilo, Kingman resident and MVPA member, organized the effort to make Kingman a stop for the convoy as it heads to Fort MacArthur in San Pedro, California. The convoy left Chicago Sept. 16 and is averaging 35 miles per hour over 29 days on the 2,500 mile journey.
“This is something else,” De Nubilo said. “The people are just fantastic. We’re excited. I’ve got to tell you, we’ve got a Parks and Recreation Department that is just fantastic.”
The convoy is expected to roll into town between 2 and 3 p.m. and make its way to Veterans Memorial Park with the vehicles parking on Beale Street between First Street and Grandview Avenue. De Nubilo members from New Zealand and possibly Belgium and Australia. The organizer knows the components of it all coming together should function properly because of the hard work from Kingman Police Chief Robert DeVries.
“The police chief picked it up and made this happen,” De Nubilo said. “I’m real happy with him.”
DeVries sees the convoy as a chance for Kingman residents to get an up-close look at American values.
“We have a rare opportunity to have a piece of history rolling into our town on the 9th,” the chief said. “We have the chance to view the vehicles involved in conflicts around the world to defend what we hold most valuable – our freedom.
“This is a chance to view these unique vehicles and thank the owners who have worked diligently to restore and preserve a valuable part of our history.”
Mayor Monica Gates will lead the welcoming ceremony at 4 p.m. that will also honor veterans from World War II and the Korean War.
“This is such an exciting opportunity for Kingman to celebrate our proud military heritage and honor those who serve our country,” the mayor said.
Beale Street is scheduled to be closed from 2-5 p.m. so the public can view and photograph the vehicles, along with having the opportunity to speak with the vehicle owners. The convoy will spend the night at Southside Park.
There are more than 4,000 members of the MVPA, which was established in 1976. The association is dedicated to providing an international organization for military vehicle enthusiasts, historians, preservationists and collectors interested in the acquisition, restoration, preservation, safe operation and public education of historic military transport.
The convoy continues on its journey Tuesday morning with plans to visit Needles, California via Oatman before its next overnight stop in Barstow, California.
The next convoy is scheduled in 2019 and will travel the Lincoln Highway, which spans from Times Square in New York to Lincoln Park in San Francisco. The 2019 convoy will the follow the route established by Lt. Colonel Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1919.