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NEW MEMBERS

The following questions are some of the most common ones asked by new members of the ETPGR which have been included here to help you to get an answer now. If your question is not listed below, please contact us and we will be glad to assist you and answer your questions.

WHAT TO DO AND EXPECT
As a new member of the ETPGR you will now receive email notifications, particulaly the" Final Itenerary Mission To Honor" email messages, which contain detailed information regarding a veteran who is deceased. Each email will include the designated Ride Captain and Flag Captain's contact info. You may contact them prior to arrival at the Staging location and these details and the time are included in the email sent. Upon arrival, you will notice members with maroon hats, those are the ride captains. We assign one ride captain to be in charge of each mission. That ride captain will give a briefing (riders meeting) before the mission starts to explain what will happen. The Deputy State Captain, Shelia Manning, wears a beige hat. Names are usually identifiable on their vests. All you have to do is show up and we will provide you with the information you will need. Below are some of the things to expect.

GROUP RIDING RULES
The following information includes our group riding rules and guidelenes for the ETPGR. Safety is the top priority when it comes to riding within a group. You must understand that motorcycle group riding has its own dynamics of skills. It is very important to always arrive at the starting place on time with a full tank of gas, your motorcycle in proper working condition, and be ready to ride. The group shall leave when all riders are ready and sweep riders signal the leader.

A rider’s meeting will be held by the Ride Captain prior to every ride (reviewing routes, times, signals, placement of other Ride Captains, etc). If you are new to motorcycle riding and/or new to group riding, please make the Ride Captain be aware of this. The Ride Captain will give you the proper information and position placement within the group that will help your ride experience not only be safer and less stressful, but more enjoyable. The Ride Captain should always review lane changing and passing procedures, but always remember when you are changing lanes to:
Use Directional or Hand signals
Check your mirrors prior to changing lanes
Give a head check for a safe lane change

1. Alcohol (or being under the influence of any drug or medication that is mind altering) is not permitted during ride times.

2. Obey All Traffic Laws – you are responsible for your actions while on the ride.

3. Blocking traffic to allow access for the group is illegal and dangerous. Remember that a group of motorcycles is not considered a single vehicle. Be courteous and allow other vehicles (cars, trucks, etc) to enter/exit a roadway or change lanes. Always be sure to signal those behind you to slow down in the event of an entering/exiting vehicle.

4. Motorcycle riders will ride in staggered formation, always maintaining a safe distance from the motorcycle in front of you. Trikes will always form behind motorcycles and ride in single file in middle of the lane. (2-second minimum following distance is required for spacing- more if riding conditions dictate. (bad weather, etc.)

5. Maintain your position within the group; if there is a space open in the formation, just leave it.
5b) Do not pass in lane (it is illegal) and/or criss-cross to fill it. Once the group comes to a stop (traffic light, stop sign, etc) then restarts, it should be refilled with the restarting of the staggered formation.

6. In the event of mechanical failure, the group will continue to its designated stop or first safe area to pull off. The last rider and sweep will stop to evaluate the situation for further actions and inform the group ahead of actions needed (in most cases the group stays together until repairs and/or other provisions have been made). Rules for medical emergencies are similar and should be review by the Ride Captain.

7. When riding through towns or cities, the group will not stop to regroup if broken up until it is out of town or at a designated stop. If the route is not straight through, the Ride Captain should make provisions for other riders to position themselves at turns or have another Ride Captain (or rider) come forward and lead to the designated stop.

8. In the event you need to leave the ride early please let the Ride Captain know, and if all possible; ride in the rear of the group so leaving it will not cause a distraction.

9. If you have any questions or concerns, please address them to the Ride Captain.

10. Remember that Riding Safety is your responsibility and by doing so it will make the rides not only safer but fun.

Flag Etiquette During Missions
1. Never let the US Flag touch the ground. Folks sometimes are not aware that their bike mounted flag is touching. If your flag is mounted on a trailer hitch type mount, load the bike as you would when riding and have a friend check where the lower tip of the flag is settled when the bike is stopped then adjust the mount or length of the staff to ensure the flag does not touch. Then, lean your bike on its sidestand and ensure the US Flag does not touch the ground while leaning over.

2. When riding at highway speeds ensure the flag is mounted and designed for these forces. 60 MPH can easily rip a flag to pieces in a short period of time and break a wood or aluminium pole.

3. When walking with the 3'X'5" flag under your arm, ensure that it is not touching the ground. This practice is seen far too often after a mission is completed and folks are walking back to the vehicle that hauled the flags.

4. When holding a flag in a flag line, DO NOT render a salute. The American flag is in fact the equivalent of the honoring salute. If you feel compelled to salute, ask someone to hold your flag, come to attention and render the salute. (NOTE: Only military personnel and Veterans are authorized to render a hand salute. Civilians and non-Veterans should place their hands over their hearts).

5. The American flag shall NEVER be dipped or lowered when held in a flag line. Make every effort to hold the flag upright at all times.

Flag Placement on Motorcycles

US Flag Only
If only the US Flag is on your bike, it should either be at the center, or to its "marching right" - on the right side of the motorcycle to the rider's perspective when facing forward.

US Flag And One Other Flag Of Any Type
If the US Flag is on your bike with another, it should be to its "marching right" - on the right side of the motorcycle to the rider's perspective. If the other flag is that of another nation, it should be the same size and at the same height of the US Flag - NO flag should ever be displayed higher than the US Flag.

US Flag And More Than One Other Non-National Flag
If the US Flag is on your bike with several other non-national flags (POW/MIA, ALR, Eagles, Service Banners, etc.), the US Flag should be at center and higher than any of the other flags.

US Flag And More Than One Flag Including Those Of Other Nations
If the US Flag is displayed on your bike with those of any other nation, the flags should be same size and at the same height, with the US Flag to marching right (right side of the vehicle), and others arranged in alphabetical order to the left. Other flags should be arranged in order of decreasing importance - Nations first, states (in order of admittance) and territories second, military third (in order of establishment), and then any others. Again, no flag should fly higher than the US Flag, but the US Flag should be no higher than that of any other nations displayed.

Rationale
Since the small bike flags we use are all but invisible from the front (when mounted on the rear), the concept of "Flag's own right" should be used with the vantage from the rear of the bike. (This would place the Flag on the on left-hand, rear of your bike). This concept, unfortunately, overlooks a more applicable concept.

If you equate the motion of your bike with marching, and you equate traffic with a procession, another portion of the Flag Code becomes the obvious choice for display of the Flag alone, or with another:

Rule 9: "The Flag, when carried in a procession with another flag or flags, should be either on the marching right; that is, the Flag's own right, or, if there is a line of other flags, in front of the center of that line."

The second portion of this rule does not work well with most motorcycles, since there usually is no means to mount the Flag in front (in the direction of travel) of the others if all flags are to be mounted at the rear of the bike. In this case, we rely on:

Rule 10: "The Flag of the United States of America should be at the center and at the highest point of the group when a number of flags of States or localities or pennants of societies are grouped and displayed from staffs." Included in this would be POW/MIA flags and American Legion Riders flags.

Finally, if you are displaying another country's flag along with the US Flag, they both should be at the same height and the same size, and the US Flag should be displayed on the right side (again, marching right). This is basically Rule 11: "When flags of two or more nations are displayed, they are to be flown from separate staffs of the same height. The flags should be of approximately equal size. International usage forbids the display of the flag of one nation above that of another nation in time of peace.

The order of precedence for flags generally is National flags (US first, then others nations alphabetically ordered in English), State (host state first, then others in the order of admission) and territories (Washington DC, Puerto Rico, etc.), Military (in order of establishment: Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard), then others."

Flag Line Protocol
The flag line is a chance for the community to see that there IS support for the soldier that gave all for all of us. We do this as a sign of respect and honor. We have received a consensus from all branches of the military and PD and FD for the protocols that we use. While stationed on the flag line the following rules need to be followed.

1. You will see Ride Captains walking around without flags. They are working the mission tasks or distributing water. Please let them continue and if they ask you, assist them as needed.

2. Please no talking, if you must, keep it to a whisper or leave the flag line

3. Do not walk while unrolling the flag, this should be done before leaving the flag truck

4. Do not walk while rolling up the flag, wait until you reach the flag truck

5. If you need to leave the flag line then either have someone else hold your flag or take it back to the flag truck (see leaving the flag line procedures below)

6. Stand Tall and silent

7. Turn cell phone off or on vibrate.

8. No smoking at any time that you have a flag or if you standing near someone with a flag, if you have to smoke please leave the flag line area to a secluded location

9. No moving around unless you are leaving the flag line

10. Keep the flag pole vertical at all times, do not dip it or tilt it in any way. The American flag does not bow or dip to anything.

11. Please hold the flag on your right hand side. Members of the family, guest and military may walk the flag line to thank the holders. Switch the flag to left hand when necessary to shake hands.

12. If you do not have a flag, then you can stand tall an silent between other flag holders

13. When a salute is given by the military, stand at attention. If you are in the flag line you are considered to be at a salute when holding the flag.

14. If you are in the flag line and are not holding a flag please follow the military's command to salute or place your hand on your heart, or if you are military or veteran you may present a hand salute. On some occasions, a PGR ride captain will call the PGR to attention, please follow their lead.

15. If at a funeral service, memorial service, or cemetery service whether on a flag line or not, do NOT start or move your motorcycle or cage while the service is going on. Please wait until after the stand-down is issued by the mission Lead Ride Captain

16. If you know that you must leave during the mission before a stand-down is issued then you must park you vehicle far enough away so that it cannot be seen or heard when it is moved. At a cemetery, a quarter mile or more may be required.

17. During an in-door service, once the service has started and the guest are inside a stand-down will be issued for the flag line outside. Shortly before the service concludes the flag line may be reformed. During this time at-ease, relax, have some water but do not disturb the service. A forward advance team may move to the cemetery during this time.

18. When a stand-down is issued, continue to hold the flag vertical until you reach the flag truck, only then should you roll up the flag (do not let it touch the ground)

19. When rolling up the flag take poll bottom off and turn both into truck...

20. Stand Tall
21. Stand Silent
22. Respectful

23. follow the person in front of you or the Ride Captain

24. The PGR Mission Lead RC may call attention (Ah-tin-hut) Stand straight.

25. The PGR Mission Lead RC may call for a salute (present arms) follow the salute instructions above.

OTHER QUESTIONS
Question: Do you have patches, stickers, or other East Texas Patriot Guard merchandise available for members and public supporters?
Answer: Yes we do! Please click here to see all the items we have available.

Question: What area (counties) of Texas does the East Texas Chapter cover?
Answer: Please click here for a detailed map and more information.

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