For Staff Sgt. Jason J. Jeffers, the sound of a beefed up 350 cubic inch hot rod engine on the sunny afternoon of March 14 signaled the culmination of a Family project that began in 2013.
For the rest of the paratroopers assembled on Pike Field, the roar of the engine echoed the spirit of the 307th Brigade Support Battalion and its mission to support and sustain the Devil Brigade.
During a unique ceremony, nine paratroopers from 307th BSB, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division not only had the honor of reenlisting to stay Army, but had the opportunity to celebrate, with Jeffers, the unveiling of a 1928 Ford Tudor hot rod rebuilt as a tribute to the unit.
John Dowdy, Jeffers’ father-in-law, customized the vehicle in the style of a World War II fighter jet in honor of Jeffers’ nine years of service with the 1st Brigade Combat Team.
“The Rat Rod is an amazing contribution to our unit,” said Jeffers. “All the time and effort and thought put into this vehicle is amazing.”
Jeffers joined the Devil Brigade in 2005 as an infantryman. During his tenure, he has deployed multiple times to Iraq and Afghanistan.
He re-classed to become a career counselor in 2013 and is currently serving the Black Devils in that capacity.
Jeffers said the inspiration for the military-themed hot rod came from a unit hat he sent Dowdy in 2013. The hat was emblazoned with the Black Devils’ logo.
After the unveiling more than 350 paratroopers from the unit signed the roof of the car.
Dowdy, who was present at the ceremony, said the hot rod will tour the country and will be displayed at car shows and sporting events.
Dowdy said he set out to build a vehicle that represented the spirit of the organization, and he believes he has succeeded.
“They seem excited, but not nearly as excited as I am to be here,” said Dowdy. “In the civilians eyes … you are the heroes.”