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Local airman lost in Vietnam honored during memorial motorcycle ride

| July 18, 2023

UHRICHSVILLE (WJER) (July 18, 2023) – A city police captain is back from another cross-country motorcycle ride honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation.

Brandon McCray was part of a Run for the Wall caravan that rode from California to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. back in May. He talked about the experience during Thursday’s Uhrichsville City Council meeting.

“Every overpass that we ride under, there’s flags. There’s people standing on them. Some of these people go out and wait for hours to see us.. Getting to do it, it just really renews your sense of what this country is and the pride that’s still out there.”

McCray’s first Run for the Wall ride in 2018 was in honor of Specialist Ronald Gene Johnson, a 23-year-old Uhrichsville native killed in action during the Vietnam War. During the latest one, he paid tribute to another hometown hero, Air Force Navigator Russell Galbreath, whose plane got shot down over Highway 922 in Laos. 

“His pilot ejected. They rescued him. Galbreath is still technically listed as a question mark. He’s missing in action. He’s the only person from the Twin Cities that’s missing in action.”

McCray traveled the run’s Southern Route with the chaplain group M25, whose duties included passing out water and snacks at the stops and making sure no rider got left behind.

“Some of these vets are in their mid-70s still doing this ride. If they just simply can’t ride anymore and pull over, part of our job is to pick that motorcycle up. We have three pickup trucks and trailers at the tail end of the line. We get the bikes loaded onto the trailers to get them to the next stop or to the end of the evening.”

McCray took three weeks of vacation for the journey that continued on to the Middle Eastern Conflicts Memorial Wall in Marseilles, Illinois. He says next to being with his family, there’s nothing he would rather do with his time off.  

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