Patroon Mounted Guards

Motorcycle unit organized for civilian defense

From the January 1942 Issue of Motorcyclist magazine

Throughout the land motorcycle clubs are in various stages of organization for an active part in national defense. Some clubs have been trained and united with Red Cross activities for a couple of years. Such units are ready for immediate call and service in emergencies.

Other clubs have been allied with Emergency Relief Associations under Sheriff’s or Police Departments and are likewise ready for immediate call.

Many other clubs are now going through the first steps of organization. These clubs are often working on their own so that if an emergency does arise they will have something to lay on the Mayor’s doorstep the morning that trouble starts.

In other sections so many requests are coming to the fraternity from state guards, Red Cross, and police departments that riders are confused an d hard put to meet the demands.

It seems that the moment the first bomb lit in Hawaii a lot of officials and sections of the public sat up and took notice almost as if the explosion had been on their own city limits. And, as minds were taken from business and applied to war problems a lot of thought suddenly turned to motorcycles. This, of course, is as it should be. Trained riders and equipment are available in large numbers for whatever necessities spring up. And even as motorcycles have received new recognition, so will the members of a fraternity that has always been just around the corner ready to lend a helping hand.

When the big earthquake hit Long Beach, California, a few years ago, motorcyclists showed up from nowhere and jumped right in with their equipment to help police, the Red Cross and what have you. The boys stayed with it, working wheel to wheel with police until the first big job had been done and things were under control. Then the motorcyclists filtered back to their jobs.

That sort of thing is fine and has been duplicated in many communities all over the country. But in our present emergency, with war actually existing, it is desirable that something a little more concrete than just our regular grapevine be instituted.

This month we are describing the organization of the motorcycle unit in the Patroon Mounted Guards, of Albany, N.Y. It is one of the finest units in America and its practice may be helpful to clubs in other communities that may care to follow its example.

The Patroon Mounted Guards started with a cavalry unit of 45 men, including officers. Major Alfred I. Schimpf, an old National Guard officer and Captain Herman P. Greene, an old Cavalry man, attributed much to the organization of the group.

The Cavalry troop was the start. When they presented it to Col. W.H. Donner, of the 1st Regiment New York Guards, he in turn presented it to the Adjutant General of New York. The Adjutant General decided they were not interested as New York was organizing a State Guard.

Undaunted, the men of the Patroon Mounted Guards looked ahead at some of the things which they thought might happen and went right ahead with their plans. They were careful in their selection of uniforms as they did not want to have any confusion or confliction with the uniforms of the State Guard.

With the horse troop organized, Captain Thomas Austin decided that a motorcycle division would have a definite place in their outfit. Knowing of the Capitol District M.C. through the various hillclimbs and races the club had promoted, Captain Austin arranged an interview with Slim Nelson, the Albany Indian motorcycle dealer.

When Slim Nelson noted the names of judges, doctors, the Chief of Police and other notables he decided the venture was legitimate and immediately took steps to help bring the club into the organization. Club members voted 100% to join. Slim Nelson was appointed a captain to cooperate with Captain Austin.

Mayor Hoogkamp of Albany gave the club privilege to use the city’s baseball park one night a week for drill purposes.

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