AUSTINVILLE, Iowa — This week three Marine veterans are walking across Iowa, on a mission taking them all the way across America. The effort is called Team Long Road, where veterans help to raise funds to find and bring home the remains of some of those missing in action. Including WW II through all following conflicts, there are over 81,000 US soldiers still missing in action.
Justin LeHew and Coleman Kinzer are both retired from the United States Marine Corps, as is Raymond Shinohara, who joined the trek in Illinois. The group covers 15-20 miles per day. They often stop to talk to people along old Highway 20 about the MIAs still out there.
“When you explain that to people that are out here, especially along Highway 20, somebody in every town knows somebody who had a family that served, and a lot of them know families that have boys that did not come home, and a lot of them know families that not only have boys that didn’t come home, they never found them.”
LeHew works on researching and arranging logistics to help find and recover those remains.
“Serving serving in the Marines and going overseas about seven times I’ve definitely seen a lot of our servicemen and women pass away,” said Shinohara. “You’re very fortunate to bring them back home, this is a great mission to make sure that we continue that acknowledgment that we leave nobody behind.”
As these Marines have served all over the world, they are now taking highway 20 from Boston to Oregon to experience Americana.
“We go and see the bones of America ’cause you can still see it out there,” said Kinzer. “It’s the old motor inns, motels along the side of the road, and different attractions.”
“This has been a great stop, along Highway 20,” said LeHew. “Route 66 has always garnered the most attention and most publicity across America, which is another reason we chose highway 20 which is America’s longest highway at 3365 miles.”
Still, in seeing the real America these Marines still talk about why they are here.
“They paid the ultimate price, they sacrificed everything they could have been,” said Kinzer.
The group is raising funds to help bring MIA’s home through their website.