SOAR Across America

HayducksmOn October 6, 2016, Stephen Hayduk will leave on his motorcycle for a 3,500-mile journey across the United States, culminating at the 40th Reunion of the Special Operations Association to be held in Las Vegas.
Hayduk, owner of Hayduk Engineering, LLC in Port Jefferson Station, is a Vietnam veteran and was instrumental in the creation of the Suffolk County Vietnam Veterans Memorial atop Bald Hill in Farmingville. He served as a helicopter crew chief with the “Gladiators,” 57th Assault Helicopter Company in Vietnam, participating in covert missions into Laos and Cambodia with the U.S. Army’s Special Operations Group, comprised of an elite unit of Special Forces Green Berets. He refers to this journey not as a vacation, but as a mission.
Hayduk will be starting out riding solo. His first stop will be in Michigan, where he will be joined by Joe Sottile, one of his pilots when he was in Vietnam. Together, they will head south into Indiana where they will rendezvous with Tom Carrell, another Gladiator and the leader of the SOA Riders, the motorcycle riding contingent of SOA, who organized the ride. From there, the trio will continue south through Kentucky, into Tennessee, where the group will be further enlarged with the addition of several more SOA Riders, mostly comprised of the Special Forces recon team members who were the operatives on the ground in the covert missions “over the fence” in Laos and Cambodia during the 1960s and early 1970s. Their goal is to raise awareness of the SOA and Foundation in the civilian community, as well as support for the military and veteran communities.
The group will head west following the old Route 66 corridor, stopping at iconic places, but most notably honoring veterans and their families with visits being planned with the sick and wounded along the way in VA hospitals, including a two day stop at the VA Hospital in Lawton, Oklahoma to visit their “special operators” in the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Ward.
As a key element to their ride, the group hopes to instill a renewed sense of patriotism and duty to the nation with the people they encounter as they travel across the country to Vegas. So when Hayduk says to his wife, Kathy Rae of Dans Papers, “Honey, this is not a vacation, it’s a mission,” he really means it!
The group can be tracked in real time as of Saturday by clicking on the link on the SOA Riders Facebook page. For more information call 516-971-5851.

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