Thousands of motorcycles ‘ride for freedom’ in Washington’s ‘Rolling Thunder Rally’


Pentagon Police Officer Jonathan Oaks overlooks the Pentagon North Parking Lot.

Each year thousands of motorcycles pour into the Pentagon North Parking lot for the annual Rolling Thunder “Ride for Freedom” demonstration.

Since the Pentagon parking lot is the staging area for Rolling Thunder before the group processes across the Memorial Bridge and into Washington D.C., it is the Pentagon Force Protection Agency’s job to ensure the event is safe and secure for everyone during their time on the Pentagon Reservation.  This year was no different.

“Overall, job well done,” said PFPA Deputy Chief Gerald Plummer, who served as the incident commander for this year’s event on Monday.  “Our officers and employees stuck to the program, and along with the collaborative efforts with our area partners, they did well.”


Pentagon Force Protection Agency Logo

The first riders began flowing into the Pentagon lot just before 5 a.m.  By 11:30 a.m., all of North Parking and part of the Pentagon South Parking Lot were packed with motorcycles.  When Rolling Thunder departed the Pentagon at noon, it took more than 3 hours to clear the parking lots.

According to Plummer, the event couldn’t be successful without close coordination with other first responder agencies and partners.  “I want thank them for taking time out of their Memorial Day weekend.  It shows their dedication not only to the country but to our protection mission,” said Plummer.

Behind the scenes, preparation for the event takes place months in advance and with multiple first responder agencies and with the Rolling Thunder organization.  Police, fire, and transportation agencies work closely together to plan for any contingencies or incidents that might pop up, address any medical issues, and keep an eye out for suspicious behavior.

The Pentagon Reservation location is not new to major events.  Annually, events like the Army 10-Miler run, the Marine Corps Marathon, and the 4th of July fireworks viewing, all have a footprint at the Pentagon.  Each event is unique, but none take up more space than Rolling Thunder.  Despite the challenges, the event went off again with no major issues. – USNewswire

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