County soldier honors comrades with a one-of-a-kind ride

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:13

    BYRAM-U.S. Army Reservist Marty Bischoff knew it would take a joint effort to get just the right look for his long awaited return home gift. For almost his entire tour in Iraq, Bischoff had been pondering what kind of bike to get once he returned home. Then while researching on the Internet different models and shops, his base in Ramadi got hit by mortars and that cemented his decision: He would create a one-of-a-kind bike to commemorate not only his tour of duty but the work of countless other soldiers deployed on the war on terror. In Iraq, Bischoff was part of a Governate Support Team (GST), first in the south with the First Marine Division and then in Anbar Province, in the heart of the Sunni triangle, with the 82nd Airborne Division. These soldiers are "fixers" and not necessarily fighters. Their job is to help complete the reconstruction efforts. Bischoff's team comprised of engineers, doctors and lawyers was directly responsible for restoring basic services, power, water, fire and police. They were truly on the forefront of U.S. efforts to stabilize and assist the Iraqi government in its new independent role. While Bischoff completed his tour of duty, back home work had begun to bring to life the commemorative bike that he had envisioned. Most important in the planning was the paint that would forever recognize the work of U.S. soldiers in Iraq. Not only would it have to perfectly match the desert camouflage pattern worn by the members of the armed forces but would have to have "Operation Iraqi Freedom" boldly displayed. There could be no mistake in advertising where the rider had spent the whole last year of his life. Since his return home Bischoff has racked up the miles on his OIF chopper. He's not sure what gives him greater pride, the bike itself or recognition of the effort that he and many other soldiers have made so far away from home. His only concern now is whether will he have to go back, or even worse yet, having his scoot "drafted" for military service