By Frank "Rags" Rago
If you have ever heard this then you will know why it raises the little hairs on the back of your neck. It is something that no Marine ever wants to hear. Unfortunately it is heard, and the Navy Corpsman who served and still serve in Marine battalions are the Angels who try to keep chaos at bay while saving lives.
Jack Fitzgerald aka Doc Fitz aka Jack is one of many Doc’s who served with Marines in Vietnam throughout the 60’s and into the 70’s. Jack just happened to be there from 1966 to 1969. You will notice that Marines have a protective fondness of Corpsman and on Marine only sites and clubs , no Green Beret or Navy SEAL is allowed in, but the Docs are.
Now that you know a little about the relationship between Marines and Navy Corpsman, we can move on to motorcycles. Jack was born to ride. His first motorcycle was a 1947 Indian that he confided in me that he wished he never gotten rid of. He has owned and rode a variety of motorcycles and settled on Harley’s many years ago. After his education in Vietnam, Jack had to get away, and his go to spot was Mexico.
Unfortunately, the BSA Twinstar 500 that he had kept in his basement while visiting Vietnam would be of no use. Jack a day after his Navy discharge was in a bad car accident and his one leg was left useless. A year later his first trip to Mexico was done via an airplane, well many airplanes.
How many times has Jack traveled to Mexico you may ask, well sometimes it was too many times and at other times, just not enough. His early Mexican adventures were in airplanes or in cars. His first bike trip to Mexico was in 1997 on an 1987 Springer Softail. I could post many pictures of this bike as it has gone through different phases. With all the changes there was always two constants; one was that it was going to Mexico and the second was that it was always green. Not the same green mind you, but a color of green and there was always a 3 leaf clover somewhere on the bike.
In 2010 Jack rode his 87 Springer Softail up to the Harley dealership and started discussing the interest in getting a newer model Harley. Maybe a bike that was just a little bit more comfortable. You see when Jack returned from Vietnam, he brought a little extra lead back that just could not be taken out due to its location. Unfortunately at that time they did not have any green Harleys but asked Jack to come back next week and check out their inventory.
While at the Harley dealership a guy started talking to Jack about his 87 and the next thing you know he sold it right there, right then on the lot.
The following week Jack made his way to the dealership and they wheeled out the olive drab, brand new 2010 Springer Crossbones that you see in picture 2. It was almost perfect…almost. He bought the bike and rode it home. On a side note, this Harley Dealership is just AWSOME. What a chance they took by having a bike painted green with the hopes that Jack would buy it.
As I mentioned the bike was almost perfect. Once home a few modifications had to be made. A 1942 tractor style seat was leathered out and put on along with matching set of saddle bags. He also put on a set of crash bars from the 1950’s and a 1927 tail light. Oh and let’s not forget the 3 leaf clover.