MILITARY & MOTORCYCLES_APRIL 5, 2013 | Born To Ride Motorcycle Magazine - Motorcycle TV, Radio, Events, News and Motorcycle Blog


Published on April 5, 2013 under Born To Ride LifeStyle

Fallen Hero Escort

For the 16th time since 2007 MacDill AFB was brought to the attention of the local media for something other than their Special Operations capabilities. Again, as in the last fifteen times it was to supply support and to show honor for a family who has lost a soldier in the wars in Southwest Asia.


This time the family of 21-year-old US Army Specialist Zachary L. Shannon of Dunedin awaited the arrival of the charter jet, which carried his remains.


Zac was killed on March 11 in a nighttime helicopter training mission in Kandahar Providence, Afghanistan doing what he liked best, ‘to fly.’ He was a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter mechanic.


Along with Specialist Shannon four other persons were onboard the helicopter on March 11, all of whom were assigned to the 4th Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, Hunter Army Airfield, Ga.


In the past, the Patriot Guard Riders and active military riders were allowed 50 motorcycles for escorts from the Bayshore Gate at MacDill Air Force Base. In this case, the number of motorcycle was increased to 75 bikes. Even with the increase, approximately 20 plus motorcycles had to be turned away due the cap placed on the escort by the Hillsboro County Sheriff’s Office for safety reasons.


The escort left MacDill travelled through downtown Tampa and onto to Curlew Hills Memory Gardens in Palm Harbor.

We passed thousands upon thousands of adults and children who were saluting, holding signs, and waving American Flags along the escort route.


We passed several schools wherein the children were lining the fences and waving and holding American Flags.


As we approached Pinellas County, the traffic pretty much came to a standstill and we travelled through the middle of two lanes of traffic, which had pulled over on both side to allow us passage.


A lot of those stopped were ‘spring breakers’ on vacation and had no idea who Zac was but they still stood at attention and some saluted as we passed knowing one of America’s best had died.

Army Specialist Zachary L. Shannon family includes three brothers all of whom have served in the military.


Sadly on the same helicopter in which Zac died was Staff Sgt. Marc A. Scialdo, 31, of Naples. Marc was UH-60 Crew Chief for the helo. He was on his second deployment when the accident occurred.


On March 21, Patriot Guard Riders escorted Marc from the Naples Airport to Shikany’s Funeral Home in Bonita Springs and were present at his funeral service the following day.

For more information regarding the Patriot Guard Riders go to


I would like to personally thank the Hillsboro and Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office as well as Tampa and St. Petersburg Police Department for the great job on keeping us all safe during the escort.


Having been a Sheriff’s Motor Deputy I know what the risk is during this type of mission.


God Bless America and both the Shannon and Scialdo families. Stand down soldiers your tours are done, rest in Peace.


Terry Longpre


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