The Sudan Desert Rats
The History & Story of the Sudan Desert Rats
The Sudan Desert Rats are a Shrine parade unit, headquartered at Pitt County Shrine Club in Greenville, NC. It is under the jurisdiction of Sudan Shriners, New Bern, NC. The first organizational meeting of the unit was held on August 28, 1997. The Illustrious Sir Lloyd Tyndall, Potentate of Sudan Shriners granted permission for the unit to form in the fall of 1997 with 15 members. We currently have 30 active members. The unit has a “military” theme, with desert camouflage uniforms, black combat boots, and a maroon beret. In keeping with the military theme, our parade vehicles consist of 14 miniature “jeeps”.
These jeeps were manufactured by Carter Brothers Manufacturing Company, Inc., Brundidge, Alabama, and were purchased by individual members in 1998. All were all painted tan & brown camouflage to match. Carter Brothers ceased manufacture of the “jeep” body in 2004 and the rest of the components a few years later. Unless a new Desert Rats member can locate & purchase one of these vehicles used, there are no more readily available. Our miniature jeeps are powered by a Briggs & Stratton gasoline engine with a “Comet” torque converter drive train. This type of drive train allows for the large “off road” type tires which give our vehicles their distinctive, aggressive appearance. The jeeps are 4 foot wide & 7.5 foot long, weighing approximately 450 lbs. each. In addition to the jeeps, we also have a 1999 gasoline powered EZ Go golf cart, a 2006 Honda Recon ATV and a Kawasaki Teryx4 UTV, all with our tan & brown camouflage. These pieces are used as our lead vehicle and recovery vehicles in the event of a mechanical break down during a parade. All of our equipment is transported by a 2005 Freightliner (truck) with a 48 foot enclosed trailer, two 16 foot enclosed trailers and one 18 foot enclosed trailer.
We participate in 15-20 Shrine & civic parades per year. As with all activities associated with being a Shriner, our unit is entirely a volunteer organization. Many long hours & hard work go into keeping & maintaining this equipment so that we can “play & entertain” kids of all ages. All that we do, from our “military” style camo uniforms to our miniature “jeeps”, to participating in multiple parades around Eastern North Carolina & adjoining states, is to support the World’s Greatest Philanthropy and most importantly “The Shriners Hospitals for Children”.
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