Freedom Vehicles Association Giving Individuals the Opportunity to Interact with the Tools Used to Defend Freedom Tue, 18 Jul 2017 17:51:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Sunday Spotlight- WWI Veteran Sun, 16 Jul 2017 07:00:38 +0000 As part of our continuing endeavor to honor and remember the amazing men and women who sacrificed their time, talents, and in many cases their very lives to protect the cause of freedom the team here at Freedom Vehicles has decided to provide a weekly spotlight of veterans.  These “Sunday Spotlights” will pay tribute to the many ordinary citizens who when finding themselves called to take part in extraordinary events heeded that call no matter the cost.  They will also provide a brief synopsis of specific battles or conflicts related in the spotlight.  As always, we welcome comments, suggestions, and stories from our readers’ families.  

     2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the United States entrance into WWI, and so we felt it only fitting to begin this endeavor with a tribute to a veteran of

“The War to End All Wars”.


On July 16, 1892 in the quaint town of Mize, Mississippi, my great grandfather, William Grover Yelverton, was born. Life was simple for that farm boy with sky blue eyes and a smile that produced two dimples.  He was raised in a large family that grew up on love, hard work, and good ole southern food and values. As his granddaughter, I have the honor of affectionately calling him “Daddy Grover”.

In the summer of 1917, one hundred years ago this month, Daddy Grover was drafted into WWI.  For a young man whom had never been anywhere but home, I can only imagine what he felt at this call.  I have a photo of him that was taken at the end of his basic training that to this day sits framed on my piano.  The young man I see in that photo was handsome, healthy, confident and courageous.  I believe he was excited for unseen adventures as he donned a crisp new uniform, haircut and skills.  Since his media exposure consisted solely of the small local newspaper, his expectations of the outside world were most likely created in the chambers of his own imagination.  Although I am certain there were fears of the unknown, I believe his bravery stood out front and center.  I am so thankful we have the photo of that unseasoned boy because the man that returned home at the end of the war was a different person.

     Upon receiving his draft notice, he was assigned to the 18th (this later became the 39th) Infantry Division, 114th Engineers and sent to Camp Beauregard, LA for training.  Sickness and disease ran rampant at Camp Beauregard and during the end of 1917 and early 1918, the camp was plagued by outbreaks of measles, meningitis, and Spanish Flu.  This led to lobar pneumonia in many patients; overcrowding the already taxed hospital facilities. The soldiers were anxious to get to France because of bug infestations and poor conditions. The 39th infantry shipped out August 6th, 1918 with the last unit arriving in France on September 12th.  The Meuse-Argonne Offensive (the greatest American involvement of the war) began September 26, 1918 and infantry divisions were quickly depleted. Manpower situations became so desperate that all available troops, including those just arriving in France and those slated as training or depot divisions; such as the 39th; were deployed to the front lines.  In November 1918, the 39th  were moved to Aignan and several of its components, including the 114th Engineers were transferred to combat duty.  As part of this action, my great grandpa helped build bridges and laid railroad tracks for the 1st Army Corps during the Meuse-Argonne drive.  It was during this time that he suffered the debilitating effects of mustard gas at the hands of the German army.  As the war drew to an end, the 114th Engineers returned home to Newport News, VA April 12th, 1919 aboard the battleship USS Nebraska.

The mustard gas my great grandfather was exposed to caused permanent damage to his lungs that affected him the rest of his life.  When he came home from the war, industry was changing the world he left behind.  Most young people were honing skills and technology that had never existed or been available to rural farm boys.  It was an exciting season in the history of America.  For a time, my great grandpa worked on the railroad but his difficulty breathing combined with the physical requirements of the job meant he often needed to stop a moment to catch his breath.  His employers were not sympathetic to his plight and he was ridiculed for not working fast enough and sitting down on the job would not be tolerated.  One discouraging day, he came home from work and told my great grandmother that he could no longer keep up and had to quit his job.  This was troubling to them both at the dawn of their young family.  The only option Daddy Grover felt he had was to become a farmer where he could work at his own pace.  Farming filled their bellies but not their pocket books and he and my great grandmother struggled most of their lives trying to make ends meet for them and their nine children.

The trauma of war created many other struggles for this good man.  Loud or sudden noises would make him jumpy and give him flashbacks.  My grandmother (his daughter), remembered a time she was in the field with her dad. The approaching drone of a small twin engine plane in the distance caused him to jump and run toward the trees for cover.  That was twenty years or more after he had been in the war and yet, the trauma still lingered.

At that time, the term “shell-shocked” was newly coined and highly misunderstood.  Originally thought to have been brain damage caused by exploding shells, soldiers and veterans who experienced this were considered emotionally weak, lazy and cowardly.  They were often reprimanded, labeled, court martialed and some were even executed for this condition.  Once, while confiding in a counselor at the VA hospital about some of his symptoms, Daddy Grover was denied sympathy but told he was probably “just schizophrenic”.  Dejected, he vowed to never return to the VA.  With such limited resources, many veterans turned to alcohol to self-medicate but thankfully, somehow, my great grandpa escaped that trap. Instead, he found therapy in nature- gardening and taking long walks in the woods. I wonder what occupied his thoughts on those moments of solitude.  I imagine he battled feelings of inadequacy, fear, and anxiety but I also hope that he felt God’s love and grace as he navigated through those storms of life.  He found companionship in his beloved mule, Henry, but ultimately, his oldest son, “Brother”, became his best friend and confidant. Daddy Grover was very protective of his children and made it his personal responsibility to keep others out of harm’s way.  It is my personal belief that his strong nature to protect and defend was a blessing to many during his war days.

For the man whose future at one point seemed full of possibility and adventure, those ambitions were ultimately shelved for a simpler life. He gave so much to our freedoms and the price he paid was loss of respect and health.  And though he may have been disheartened by his limitations, the time he spent sharing simple joys with his children and grandchildren- like how to pull up a row of peanuts in one fell swoop or how to cut a watermelon like a champ are the moments I wish I could have witnessed with my own eyes.

After a lifetime of wheezing, pain, and coughing, William Grover Yelverton died in 1965 at the age of 73 from lung cancer due to damage sustained from mustard gas. I never got to know him in this life, but earthly bounds can’t break the connection I feel to him.

Today marks 125 years since William Grover Yelverton was born and I want to pay homage to the man who gave so much and received so little.  Although this tribute is long overdue, his sacrifice has never expired.  The opportunities he dreamed of and fought for may not have been enjoyed in his own life, but were gifted to me instead.  So in honor of his birthday, I would like to express my gratitude to my great grandfather and the many others who personally paid for our freedoms.

                                                                                                       by Melissa Knapp


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Boot Camp 2017 Questions and Answers Mon, 26 Jun 2017 18:29:55 +0000 Q: When should you arrive?
A: It would be best if you arrive at boot camp 30 – 45 minutes before your session is scheduled to start (There will be lots to do while you wait for camp to start), however you should absolutely be there no later than 15 minutes before start time. It may be busy at the registration desk and we want you to be able to get your dog tag, your shirt and any other items you may have ordered before camp starts.

Q: Where should I go, where is this camp?
A: The camp is located at SCERA Park in Orem at approximately 550 S. 400 E. in Orem. The registration booth is on the north side of the park and is shown on the attached map.

Q: Where should I park?
A: There are several places to park: Scera Park Elementary School 450 S. 400 E, the Church located at 600 S. 400 E., at Orem High School 200 S. 400 E. then walk or get on the shuttle bus, or you can find a place on one of the roads next to the park.

Q: Does it cost money to register?
A: The cost is FREE, but we recommend that you purchase a t-shirt uniform ($5.00) so the cadet has a cool shirt to wear after camp. We also are selling lots of other great items to help cadets and all visitors have a good experience. You will be able to purchase this at the Base Exchange / Post Exchange (aka Store) which is located in the registration tent.

Q: Can I pay early?
A: I will be calling all participants in the few days before camp to take payment before the event so you can register much quicker on the day of camp.

Q: Why don’t you have a really great registration process including online card processing?
A: This event is organized by a group of people who want to teach youth about freedom, and spend their own time and money to give this to the community. We are always hoping for and looking for people who want to help make it better. We wanted to make a fined tuned registration process but ran out of time for this year. If you want to volunteer to help us do this please let us know.

Q: Is this a safe activity?
A: There is risk in any activity including sitting on your couch or walking through the front door. This activity has more risk than either of those items, we believe similar to playing on a swing set in the park. You can fall off and break your arm or worse but most people do it safely. We will be asking the parents of all participants to sign a waiver just in case, but if we see anything unsafe we will immediately make changes to try and keep everyone safe. Participation is at your own risk.

Q: What are the risks?
A: Going across the rope bridge a cadet could take a spill, running through the tires one could trip, there could be a malfunction on the simulated fire machine gun, it will be hot and someone could get sick from the heat. There are likely other risks such as tripping or things that we have not foreseen that could cause injury. Parents are welcome to assist their children in being safe as they see fit so long as they are not making it less safe for other participants. Participation is at your own risk.

Q: Does Freedom Vehicles make a lot of money on this event?
A: Freedom Vehicles has not made any money on this event to date, but hopes that we can generate enough revenue this year and in the future to build an adventure park where people can come and learn about freedom, honor veterans, and learn about patriotism in the near future. We are looking for a major donor to help us with the land.

QUESTION: Is there a fee, do we need to register? Mon, 26 Jun 2017 14:22:59 +0000 Question

I’m wondering if you can only participate by signing up for the bootcamp?
We have little kids, do we need to sign up for something or can we just come?
Is there an entrance fee?
Can we dress up and get family pictures without participating in the bootcamp?
What time on Saturday, July 1st does the Outpost open?


Absolutely you can come and have fun and get family pictures without signing up for boot camp. There will be hours of fun and enjoyment just walking around and learning/doing.

There is no entrance fee of any kind to come see and have fun. There is a store where you can buy stuff to help support the cause of educating youth about freedom, but you are not required to buy anything to participate.

We will have several great backdrops for family pictures.

We hope that you will come and enjoy and learn about freedom and honor our veterans who have served and died to defend freedom around the world.

We will be open by 9:00 on July 1st.

Thank you,

Vernon Stout

Freedom Vehicles Military Outpost at SCERA 2017 Schedule Sat, 24 Jun 2017 16:44:43 +0000 Here is a schedule of events and map for the outpost July 1-4

Military Outpost Survey Thu, 09 Mar 2017 14:37:46 +0000 Take the one question survey

Freedom Vehicles is currently planning activities for the 2017 Freedom Vehicles Military Outpost at SCERA Park in Orem and we need some input from you about what activities to do.

Up for debate are two different activities in addition to those we have done in the past.

Activity Option 1: Onsite Armored Vehicle Restoration
An onsite vehicle restoration would be an activity for patrons to view while it happens both in person and streamed live online. Over the course of the 4-5 days in the park we would completely restore a vehicle. Our current plan is to restore a 1944 M2A1 Half Track. This motor pool restoration would include getting the vehicle running, paint, and assemble. By the end of the restoration (July 4th), it would be able to drive and we would take it through the Freedom Festival parade in Provo. All work that is not capable of being done in the park would be completed prior to the event

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Our Current 1944 Half Track

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Our Future Half Track


Activity Option 2: Military Boot Camp for Kids

Boot Camp would be a very interactive and educational opportunity for all. Participants would sign up in advance, and then throughout the boot camp they would learn how to toss a grenade, shoot a gun, march in formation, get dog tags, etc. All boot camp graduates would then participate in a full scale skirmish in our reenactment battlefield.

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2016 Boot camp

Both activities have great potential which is why we are having a difficult time deciding which to do.
One of the factors is how many volunteers are needed to implement either of these activities. Without enough volunteers neither activity will be effective. Once you vote for your favorite activity, fill in your information if you would like to learn to be a drill sergeant, helper or a vehicle builder. Anyone can volunteer. Volunteers have the most fun and the most memorable experiences; so come and volunteer.

Volunteers will receive free dog tags, a T-shirt, a ride in a “Freedom Vehicle” of their choice, and a free simulated machine gun shoot.

Please give your input and help us to make the 2017 Freedom Vehicles Military Outpost a great event.

Take the one question survey

We need your help Fri, 11 Mar 2016 02:13:56 +0000 Volunteer For Freedom Vehicles

If you have always wanted to see authentic military vehicles and equipment that was used in WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, and Afghanistan, now is your chance. Freedom Vehicles Association has been working with the Freedom Festival of Provo to build the largest display of military vehicles and equipment ever seen in Utah County, which will be located at SCERA Park directly west of the SCERA Shell on July 1st – 4th. This four day event will include several fun activities such as shooting 50 cal Machine Guns, Message Decoding, a weapons display, and of course vehicles ranging from 1918 – 2010. Some of the vehicles include:  1918 Dodge Brothers Ambulance, 1940s jeeps, WWII halftrack, weapons carriers, troop transports, and HMWVVs.

Freedom Vehicles Association NEEDS VOLUNTEERS AND YOU COULD BE ONE!!!

Come and help us provide these fun and educational activities to the public.  This is the perfect opportunity for you to get your Citizenship in the Community Merit Badge service project.  Your troop can even make it your summer camp, it will be that fun (earn 5 merit badges) You will help with activities such as shooting an air cannon, throwing grenades, marching in formation, running an orienteering course and much much more. You can also come and help by sleeping over and watching the equipment at night to make sure that it is all safe.  Finally, this will be a great learning experience, come learn from veterans and hear their stories and teach others about American Wars and Conflicts.

If you are interested Contact Freedom Vehicles Association at: Be a Volunteer

Eagle Scout Projects Fri, 11 Mar 2016 02:10:26 +0000 Freedom Vehicles Association needs help with a variety of projects that Eagle Scout candidates can use as an Eagle Project or Hornaday Project. 
  • European Road Signs:  Making signs that look like WWII road signs in Europe to tell people where activities are located at events. Also a sign stick that we would put in the middle of all encampments that we do that points toward 10 to 15 major world cities in addition to event activities.  This would be an amazing and very helpful project.
  • DUKW Entry Platform: Made of Metal, or Wood, must be durable, and able to be taken apart and stored easily. A platform that will make it easy for patrons to board the DUKW.
  • WWI Above Ground Trench: Mock WWI Trench above ground for educating and show purposes
  • Replica WWII Nuclear Bombs: To educate on the Nuclear Bomb droppings that ended WWII. You would also educate on nuclear science. (Merit Badge Potential)
  • Tractor Train: Use 55 Gallon Drums and make a train that is pulled behind a vehicle or tractor. Each 55 gallon Drum is made to look like a vehicle from a different branch of service. ie: Submarine navy, jeep army, plane, air force, etc. (Welding Merit Badge)
  • Model Mortar/Rockets: Model rocket that would shoot out of a rocket truck that can actually blast off.  (Space Exploration)
  • Card Games/Games: History educational games that kids can use to learn about Military conflicts.
  • Restore A Vehicle: Raise money to restore a vehicle to its former operating glory and then do the restoration.
  • Air Mortar Cannon: a PVC Air cannon that shoots t-shirts, candy, mini parachute men, etc.
  • Static Tank: A scaled down model tank that people can take pictures in front of and be educated about the real thing. (Model Design merit badge)
  • Go Cart Jeeps: Mini Jeeps that people can drive around (Model Design merit badge)
  • Make Film: Make educational videos, promotional videos and other such videos that Freedom Vehicles may need at that time. (Movie Making)
  • Inventory and Label Equipment: Catalog all equipment with tags and numbers and put it in a log book.
  • Hedgehogs: Use wood, or metal to create reproduction hedgehog obstacles.
  • Replica Bunker: Use wood and framing skills to make a movable bunker that looks real from the outside.
  • Barbed wire barrier: Use wood lodge poles, and wore and wrap the wire on the lodge pole fence to make a barbed wire barrier.
  • Sand Bags: Make sandbags, or hold a money drive and then buy sandbags and fill them.
  • Duck board: Make duck board like what is found in the bottom of trenches and around camp in Vietnam.
  • WWI German airplane Prop: Make a prop of a crashed German Airplane in a WWI Battlefield.
  • Unit Signs: Use wood and make unit signs like what would be found around in field camp.
  • Reproduction Field Tables: Use wood and plans to make reproduction wooden field tables.
  • Reproduction Crates: Use wood and make prop ammo crates.
  • Mines: Build different kinds of mines and explosives(reproduction and inert, for display only)
  • Tents: Find Military Tents and get them donated, or raise money and buy tents, or make tents, or repair tents, and make new tent poles.
  • Welcome Signs: Signs that welcome patrons to the area of display.
  • Develop Patterns for Uniforms: Take apart authentic uniforms and make accurate patterns for future reproduction.
  • Mannequins: create easy to make mannequins using plans that are in Freedom Vehicles possession. Creation of mannequins is easy, and requires only wood, screws, and a male Styrofoam head.

In addition to these projects, Eagle Scout candidates can figure out additional projects what will help us honor our fallen warriors. Some of these could include:  Restoring  a vehicle  such as, 1944 Half Track, 1941 Scout Car, 1943 International M-2-4,  a 1944 WC9 Ambulance, and Make a Vietnam War Gun Truck. These projects will take a great deal of work and resources.  Projects can also include collecting metal or other items to raise money to buy materials, sanding and working on the trucks, organizing events or activities like the Freedom Vehicles Military outpost, and more.  If you need an Eagle Project please contact Wade Stout who is the representative for Freedom Vehicles Eagle Scout Projects.  801-224-5349

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We put this video together for elementary schools to use to teach about Veteran’s Day. Wed, 11 Nov 2015 19:31:12 +0000

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One Member’s thoughts Tue, 15 Sep 2015 18:16:47 +0000 This is a video of Wade teaching some of his friends about patriotism and honoring those who have served in our military.


Military Vehicle Outpost July 2-4 Sat, 27 Jun 2015 02:20:42 +0000 Military Vehicle Owners,
It is almost time for the largest military vehicle display in the history of Utah County and it is up to all of you to make this happen.  I have been working very hard to make it into a great opportunity for you to show off your fantastic military vehicles and equipment.

Please, please, please pass this along to all who have military stuff who may not have herd about it yet.  I found two people yesterday that somehow had never hear about this event and are now very excited to come.  Here are the key points.

  • Every owner of a vehicle will get an olive drab T-shirt that I think is really cool, two vehicles equals two shirts etc.
  • See the picture attached to see the layout
  • We have room for everyone who wants to come
  • Choose to be in the parade or stay in the park
  • Come for one day or all three
  • Gail Halvorsen will be flying a WWII Harpoon Lockheed PV2 Bomber 250 feet above the ground dropping 1000 candy bars on parachutes
  • Two WWII T-6 Texans will accompany the candy drop
  • Bring your family, children, grand children, etc. all kids will get candy
  • Weapons Display with guns from 1903 – 2000
  • Equipment Display
  • Extra tents for your equipment
  • Free play “Cries of Freedom the Musical” about patriotism three times a day
  • Pie baking contest
  • Watermelon for 10 cents
  • Swearing in Ceremony
  • Live bald eagle
  • Stay over night with your kids and be re-enactors
  • Choose to watch Joseph and the Technicolor Dream Coat at the SCERA Shell or
  • Watch Saints and Soldiers on a big screen
  • Bike decorating contest
  • Sand bag loading and stacking races for kids
  • Stretch races for kids
  • Inexpensive food

I have attached a map to show you how to get there and where to enter the park so that you can easily get to the right place on the grass.

The address is:

525 S 400 E. Orem UT, 84097

The earlier you come in the morning each day the better so that you are not trying to drive through people as you come into the park.  I and about 15 other people that I know of will be camping and keeping things secure during the night.  We will put really valuable stuff inside a super strong lockable truck each night.

Finally, I have attached a document that I gave to the people who are driving my trucks in the parade so that you know my thought.  You will also receive an email from Shane Frey later tonight or tomorrow with details about the parade staging area.

This will be a fun and memorable event for you and your families.

There is so much happening with supporting veterans it is hard to mention everything so come and take it all in.

I am sure I missed something call or email with questions.

Thank you so very much for coming, I hope to see everyone of you there,

Media links about this event:
Channel 4 News:×2&auto_start=0&pf_id=9207&rel=3&show_title=0&va_id=5838614

Parade Driver Instructions from Park

wide_Map Close_Map Initial-display-layout_SCERA 20150626_181046

2015 Provo Parade Invite for Active Military