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American Spirit Mustang Tributes & Remembrances

Martin Treptow: Private, US Army

Private Martin Treptow

Pvt. Treptow was born January 19, 1894, in Chippewa Falls WI, near Bloomer, where he grew up. He worked as a barber in Cherokee, Iowa, when the United States entered the war in 1917.

There he enlisted in the Iowa National Guard, which became the 168th Infantry Regiment, 84th Brigade, in the 42d ''Rainbow'' Division when it was called to Federal service.

Pvt. Treptow served as a runner for Company M in the battle of the Ourcq River. He was killed during the war while delivering a message between battalions on July 29, 1918.

Martin's diary was found on his body and on the flyleaf under the heading, "My Pledge", he wrote these words:

"America must win this war. Therefor I will work. I will save. I will sacrifice. I will endure. I will fight cheerfully and do my utmost, as if the issue of the whole struggle depended on me alone." - Pvt. Martin Treptow

View a powerful message by Ronald Reagan

Custis Guttenberger: Colonel, USAF

Colonel Custis N. Guttenberger
U.S. Army Air Corps - U.S. Air Force
World War II - Cold War

Custis's grandaughter Mary seeing his photo on the American Spirit Mustang for the first time.

United States Marine – Bryan Cross, A True American Hero!

by Scott Lewis

It was one of the greatest pleasures of mine to get to know Bryan Cross, and I am fortunate now to be able to call him my friend. I met Bryan through Bill Vance whom Bryan calls Dad. Bill Vance and I are neighbors and we were all struggling to finish the American Spirit Mustang by Memorial Day 2010. We were at Bill’s automotive shop and Bryan really wanted to help on the car and Bill had told me he was a U.S. Marine. So the rest of the day Bryan and a whole team of people worked so hard to get the car done, and that was the start of our friendship.

As our friendship grew I learned of Bryan extensive Military service and now know of his ongoing struggles with PTSD due to his service to our country. It is difficult to express to Bryan that we understand his struggles, but we support him and that we are proud of the sacrifices he made on our behalf. I am sure at times that is little comfort to him, but that is why we built the American Spirit Mustang! I built that car because of my friend Bryan and the fact that he is part of less than 1% of the population of the United States that put on the uniform and risked his life not once, not twice, not three times…but FOUR times was he willing to go overseas to protect our freedoms. Bryan and everyone that serves should demand your respect, gratitude and support, but humility keeps that from happening.

Our society throws around the word HERO very loosely these days, but if you want to see a real American Hero let me introduce you to Bryan Cross this is a REAL AMERICAN HERO!

  • Bryan was a (SSgt) in the USMC for 12 years, 11 months, and 4 days!
  • Bryan served in several Marine units VMA214, VMA211, VMA311, VMA513, VMAT203, and HMM161. The longest one being VMA214.
  • Bryan had x4 combat tour deployments – Iraq (x2), Kuwait (x1), and Japan(x1).

Awards: Bryan Cross
  • Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal (4th award)
  • Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal
  • Iraq Campaign Medal (2nd award)
  • Humanitarian Service Medal
  • Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (4th award)
  • Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal (Iraq)
  • Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
  • Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (Iraq)
  • National Defense Service Medal
  • Navy Unit Commendation (3rd award)

Eugene John Simms

Eugene John Simms 1927 - 2014
United States Army
6th Armored Division Ft. Leonard Wood, MO

  • Purple Heart
  • 1Bronze Camp Star
  • Dist Unit Citation
  • Korean Service Medal
  • CIB
  • 1 O/S Svc Bar

Bill Riechmann


The American Spirit Mustang is sad to announce that Bill Riechmann died on Friday June 3rd 2011. Bill Riechmann was instrumental in the development and application of the body wrap on the American Spirit Mustang and as a 20 Air Force Veteran is placed on the front bumper of the American Spirit Mustang.

When I first approached Bill with the idea of the American Spirit Mustang Bill understood the project but didn’t show much interest…I later learned of Bill’s military background and his service to our country and I understood the memories that hunted him from his time in the military. Bill once told me that the American Spirit Mustang idea was just too close and the memories to strong that he did not feel he could do the project no matter how much he wanted to. Bill later told me that realized that he could not walk away from this project he could not trust someone else with this project it had to be done by someone who understood the meaning, who lived the life, who served and understood this car had to be perfect and nothing less would be acceptable. 

Over time Bill and I became good friends…and he took enormous pride in the American Spirit Mustang, and he once told me that the car was the crown jewel achievement in his career. I know the car brought Bill a lot of happiness and the work that Bill did on the car is second to none, Bill will be missed as a friend but I believe his spirit will live on in the American Spirit Mustang. Bill is going to be buried at Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis Missouri with full Military honors…he will be remembered every time the American Spirit Mustang is on the road. Rest in Peace Bill…and thanks for all the memories!

Aging Pearl Harbor Attack Survivors Passing on the Baton

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Staff Sgt. Joshua Melton

Monday was not the easiest way to start a week.  Writing this post is not the easiest thing to do.  This morning I caught a news feed that read “Two Illinois National Guardsmen Killed in Afghanistan”.  Immediately my heart dropped.
Having safely returned home from Iraq in March 2006, I felt so blessed that I and every soldier from C 2/123rd Field Artillery returned home safely.  A few scares but nothing more than close call stories that you can share with friends every now and then.   After nine years of National Guard service I retired.  It’s hard to walk away from something that’s been part of your life for so long, but I knew it was time.  Others that deployed with me felt they had more to offer.  More to sacrifice.  One of those soldiers was SSG Joshua Melton.
SSG Melton was only an E-4 Specialist when we were in Baghdad.  He quickly jumped up in rank upon arriving home showing his loyalty and love for his country.  He didn’t have to go back.  He could be home with his wife and his one year old daughter. Many of my buddies that were previously deployed didn’t have to go.  They volunteered.  They sacrificed.   SSG Melton made the ultimate sacrifice.
26 years of age, SSG Melton’s vehicle was hit while on a convoy in Afghanistan.  He wasn’t the only killed that day.  I also learned that another was killed and two other soldiers were injured including one that deployed with me.  He was flown to Germany.  At this time I don’t know the extent of his injuries.  All I can do is pray. - Jeff Rose

Glenn H. Pennington


CPL. Glenn H. Pennington
Rifleman in Company G,
179th Infantry
45th Division
5th Army

Jeff Shrewsbury

Air Force Master Sergeant Jeff Shrewsbury served with the 235th CEF and recipient of a Bronze Star.

Glenn H. Pennington


CPL. Glenn H. Pennington
Rifleman in Company G,
179th Infantry
45th Division
5th Army

Reagan, Roscoe R. "Rocky"

Reagan, Roscoe R. "Rocky," 90, passed away Friday, Jan. 6, 2012.

Rocky joined the Army where he served as a 1st lieutenant in the Army Air Corps. He was a flying instructor and a B-29 bomber pilot in World War II.

After serving his country, he attained a bachelor's degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Wichita State University and subsequently worked as a design engineer for Douglas Aircraft in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

American Spirit Mustang

The American Spirit Mustang logo

The American Spirit Mustang helps raise funds for the Fisher House Organization whom are dedicated to helping disabled Veterans and their families. Our young men and women were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for us so lets help support them.

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