ABOUT THE MISSION:
When Lieutenant Peter William “Bill” Atkinson bid farewell to Martinsburg, West Virginia in 1941 to join a small group of American Volunteer Group (AVG) pilots called the “Flying Tigers” in Burma (now Myanmar), no one realized that it would be almost 76 years until he returned. Unfortunately, Lt. Atkinson would lose his life in Burma, and there begins the saga of returning him to his country and family in West Virginia. Lt. Atkinson was killed testing a Curtiss P-40 airplane in October of 1941 that was fitted with special engine armament. He was originally buried in the Airmen’s Cemetery at St. Luke’s Anglican Church in Toungoo, Burma, but all of the headstones in this cemetery were destroyed by the later Japanese invasion and occupation. In 1947, after Japan’s defeat, the process of identifying all of the Airmen in the cemetery began, and only recently culminated with the positive DNA identification of the remains of three pilots in January of this year. After being buried in at least four locations ranging from India to Hawaii, Lt. Atkinson’s journey home is nearing completion. He will honorably and respectfully be interred in the Rosedale Cemetery in his hometown of Martinsburg, WV on April 8th of this year. We welcome Lt. Atkinson home. Patriot, countryman, pilot and hero, he has never been forgotten. A grateful Nation awaits his return to us here in West Virginia. Mr. Dennis DuPuis, a cousin to Lt. Atkinson, has been a Ride Captain and respected member of the PGR from South Carolina for more than a decade (and over 150,000 miles on a motorcycle!). DuPuis was instrumental in the positive identification of Lt. Atkinson’s remains, and has also helped identify the remains of at least two other pilots belonging to the same elite cadre of “Flying Tigers.” Please join us on April 8th in Martinsburg, WV, for this most honorable Mission:
PRIMARY STAGING DETAILS: 08 Apr 2017
Primary Staging Time: 0915 A.M.
Rosedale Funeral Home and Cemetery, 917 Cemetery Road, Martinsburg, WV 25404
Martinsburg, West Virginia – 25404
RC Steve Chapman (WVCowboy) will be honorably joined by RC Dennis DuPuis (cowboy216970), cousin to the deceased, from South Carolina.
The service and cemetery are in the same location. There is no bike escort as part of the PGR participation. Flag lines only. Briefing at 0930 hrs; Funeral Home Flag Line at 0945 hrs; Funeral Home Service at 1030 hrs; Cemetery Service at 1130 hrs, with re-formed Flag Line across street; USAF Fly-Over at 1200 hrs. Please dress appropriately! Check weather!
Flags & Water:
Flags Will NOT Be Provided, Please Bring Your Own.
Large Bike Flags will NOT be needed.
Water will be provided.
Submitted By: Steve Chapman Position: Ride Captain