Antique military vehicles will carry U.S. flag across the Coast on Friday

klnelson@sunherald.comJuly 2, 2014 

A dozen antique military jeeps and trucks will make an annual trek Friday to carry the American flag across the Coast.

This preview map shows the times the group estimates it will pass Coast landmarks so readers can catch the action. The timeline's estimates may be a little off, but it's better to be there early than too late.

The group of 40, called Mississippi Coast Watchers, has been doing this on Independence Day for eight years -- bringing history to life. The newest truck or jeep likely will be 35 years old. The oldest is a 1917 Model T ordnance van, a bomb truck.

Coast Watchers took their name from an organization of people who watched the skies along the Mississippi Coast for enemy planes during World War II.

The annual Flag Run is their way of showing patriotism.

It starts at 10:30 a.m. Friday in Bay St. Louis and will take the beach route along U.S. 90, through Gulfport, Biloxi, Ocean Springs and end at the G.I. Museum off Mississippi 57 in Gautier.

The museum, at 5796 Ritcher Road, is open to all.

The vehicles fly the flag the whole way.

It's described as "a treat coming through."

How long the run takes varies each year, depending on the trucks.

"They're old vehicles that don't always run well," said Kevin Kuehling, president of the group.

But the point is to display the flag as well as the vehicles that have served this country in an array of wars from World War I to Vietnam. They travel about 30 to 35 mph.

"Sometimes it's touching," Kuehling said. "It doesn't take but two people holding up a sign that says 'God Bless America' to make it worthwhile to me."

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