Staff Sgt. Casey Crate of the United States Air Force will have his name adorned across the windshield of the No. 6 AdvoCare Ford Fusion driven by Trevor Bayne. Staff Sgt. Crate was a Special Tactics operator who was on a landing zone and survey mission in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in eastern Diyala province, Iraq. While on the mission, the Iraqi air force aircraft he was riding in crashed, killing the pilot, co-pilot and the three Special Tactics Airmen, including Staff Sgt. Crate. He was awarded the Bronze Star with Valor posthumously.
Private Dean S. VanDyke will be honored on windshield of Biffle’s No. 16 Ortho Ford this weekend. VanDyke, a second cousin to Biffle (first cousin to Biffle’s mother Sally), was a private in the U.S. Army. Originally from Delmont Pa., Private VanDyke entered the service in Nov. of 1965 and after training, was deployed to Vietnam. Despite a heavy volume of fire, Van Dyke disregarded his own wounds to crawl forward to the perimeter to rescue several of his injured comrades. After being hit by gunfire during this gallant and selfless action he continued forward, eventually suffering second and third wounds, while continuing to rescue wounded comrades, before being fatally wounded. Van Dyke, who was 21 years old and had served only six weeks of service and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for his courageous actions.
Captain Jim Browning of the United States Army Air Corp. will have his name highlighted on the windshield of the No. 17 Fastenal Ford Fusion piloted by Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Captain Browning earned his flight wings in 1943 before joining the 363rd Fighter Squadron. During an escort mission in Feb. 1945, Captain Browning was reported Missing in Action after getting involved in an intense fire fight with the German jet fighters. Browning’s plane was never seen again. Captain Browning was ultimately decorated with three Distinguished Flying Crosses, the Purple Heart, eight Air Medals and the French Croix de Guerre.
Jack Roush learned of Captain Browning’s story through a mutual friend and WWII veteran, Bud Anderson several years ago when Jack had a replica or Bud’s WWII plane created. Bud and Jim Browning became friends during their early years in the Army Air Corp. Upon learning more about Captain Browning, Jack had Jim’s “Gentleman Jim” WWII aircraft recreated as well. Jack has a deep admiration for all who serve in our military and a particular affinity for those who served in World War II including Captain Jim Browning. Bud Anderson and Jack Roush are still very close friends.