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Tribute to Freedom

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Stock Car Racing Topics:  Coca-Cola 600

Tribute to Freedom

U.S. Coast Guard/PAC Scott Epperson
USCG Headquarters Public Affairs
U.S. Coast Guard
Washington, D.C.
May 25, 2001

NASCAR teams up with Coast Guard and other Armed Services

WASHINGTON, May 25 -- As drivers line up for the start of the Coca-Cola 600 this weekend at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte, N.C., five cars will stand out from the rest with new paint schemes and colors.

As a Memorial Day tribute to the Armed Forces of the United States the cars will feature military themes for each of the services.  The five cars, representing the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard, were unveiled during a ceremony at the Cracker Barrel 500, March 12, in Atlanta, Ga., when drivers Mike Skinner, Bobby Hamilton, Rickey Rudd, Dale Jarrett and Jerry Nadeau each drove them on-track for the first time.

The themed cars, which will only compete in this race, will be part of a pre-race program that will include operational demonstrations from all the services, a special swearing-in ceremony of new recruits and a Fallen Comrade ceremony.  Each of the drivers also will carry their representative service patches with them during the race.

The No.25 MichaelHoligan.com Chevrolet Monte Carlo, driven by Nadeau, will represent the Coast Guard.

Vince Patton, Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard, will be on hand for the ceremonies and to witness Christopher Franklin of Morganton, NC. as he is sworn in to the Coast Guard

The NASCAR themed cars also represent the new, innovative and expanding methods the Armed Forces are using for recruiting.  Another example of this includes a recent partnering with the web service Yahoo for a contest that offers Military Fantasy Careers for each of the services.

Other recent Coast Guard recruitment efforts include working with the World Wrestling Federation and targeting specific regions with language-specific public service announcements.

Coast Guard’s Fallen Service Member

Petty Officer First Class Michael Harris Painter was born on February 28, 1943.  During Vietnam, he served as a crewmember aboard the Coast Guard Cutters Point Dume and Point Arden, which were part of Division 12 of Vietnam Coast Guard Squadron 1.  Petty Officer Painter volunteered to sail on the Point Arden with one month left to serve in Vietnam.  He served onboard as a part of the mortar crew firing 81mm shells into suspected enemy positions.  On August 8, 1969, a shell exploded inside the mortar, killing him instantly.  He was 25 years old, and survived by his wife and 18-month-old son.  The Executive Officer of the Point Arden, Lt. j.g. Michael W. Kirkpatrick, also was killed.  These men lost their lives in an unfortunate accident, but it was a risk they willing took to carry out their duty.

Petty Officer Painter’s wife, Faye E. Painter, and his son, Coast Guard Petty Officer Second Class Brian Michael Painter will represent him at the ceremony.

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