The Arkansas Patriot Guard Riders conducted a “Steel Horse Pony Express” on April 9 to bring U.S. Army World War II Veteran Robert D. Brooks back to his family in South Carolina after his body was found in a suitcase in Arkansas.
Arkansas Patriot Guard Riders assistant captain Jerry Ashby led the riders from Arkansas Cremation in Little Rock at 9 a.m. The 700 mile journey to South Carolina is anticipated to take two days, with a stop at each state line to hand off the body to that state’s Patriot Guard Riders.
The first stop was scheduled at the Tennessee state line.
“This means everything in the world to me,” Arkansas Patriot Guard Riders’ captain David Cone said. “Any Veteran that served our country should not be treated like that.”
Cone said when he heard about what had happened, he immediately contacted Brooks’s son, Jay Brooks, to discuss an honorary ride to transport his father’s body.
He said he felt it was Arkansas’ respect and duty to ensure that the Veteran got returned to his family.
People everywhere were encouraged to attend any of the stops along the route in the streets and overpasses. They were encouraged to hold their right hand over their heart or to hold an American flag to honor the Hero and show his family respect.
“Even though we don’t know him, we didn’t know him by personal means, all of us coming together and everyone willing to do this for him only says great things about our military services,” UCA veteran’s service coordinator David Williams, who attended the send off in Little Rock, said.
According to Fox News, the 89-year-old Veteran died of natural causes in his home in New York a month before his body traveled 1300 miles and was found on a farm in Prairie County.
Brooks’ two caregivers have been arrested as they are thought to be responsible for the abuse of the corpse.
Photo by Waid Rainey