There is a trend happening of late. That trend is more and more members, current and former, of the different branches of the United States Military are joining various motorcycle clubs are the nation. If you are familiar with motorcycle clubs, or MC’s, then you’ll know that many of the big and scary names of so called ‘clubs’ today were started by military service men returning after World War II. Know that service men are tied to the very origin of the MC seems to make the headline of this post kind of confusing. Why is it news that there is a rise in the military population within the MC world?
The history of the motorcycle club is sorted… at best. At its worst that MC world is seedy, dangerous, drug filled, and violent. Names like the ‘Hell’s Angels’, the ‘Outlaws’, the ‘Mongols’, the ‘Banditios’ are constantly popping up on new blotters. The ATF, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, along with the FBI labels these self described ‘clubs’ as ‘Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs’ and monitors their activities the same as any other outlaw organization in the nation.
So, again, why is this news worthy?
Well the idea of the members of the military joining these groups en masse today is news because this new crop of veterans is taking back what they feel was stolen from them decades ago. You see, when motorcycle clubs where first started they weren’t criminal organizations they were instead clubs in the purest sense. Servicemen trusted one another in battle, the had each others’ backs, they lived and fought together; these clubs were a way to retain and expand that brotherhood. Over the years the parties, alcohol, and the wild lifestyles, that some suggest today might have been an outlet or self-medication for PTSD, turned to crime and further to violence and eventually to, in the opinion of this new group of veterans, a perversion of the pure idea of the ‘club’.
Modern veterans are taking back the world of the MC by starting new clubs with expressed purposes and with admission standards. Clubs like the WarFighters MC, the Green Knights MC, and Leathernecks MC are all part of this new breed of military motorcycle clubs. Each club of course has its own standards for admission but generally these new groups require military service and clean criminal backgrounds. These two simple standards combined with clearly expressed intentions help to keep the clubs ‘pure’ and focused.
What is the focus of these groups then?
Like the admission standards the focus of each group varies a little, Green Knights being a more general military group while the Leathernecks for example are focused on the Marine Corp., but what they do generally have in common is work for and fundraising for veterans.
These new groups are standing in stark contrast to the ‘old guard’ of clubs and reminding people that brotherhood, loyalty, friendship, and comradery can still be found in and MC without the need for violence, drugs, and criminal activity.
Photo by Historical Society of Riverton, NJ – Nam Knights Salute at Funeral Procession of Fallen Officer