Army Sergeant Makes Dream Visit to Ford Plant, Fires up His New Mustang

By Charlie S.

Ford has a long history of supporting our troops dating back to 1922, when Henry Ford organized a caravan of 50 Model T’s across the country for the Disabled American Veteran’s convention. With Veteran’s Day approaching, we thought we’d take a moment to highlight one story about a true American hero and his fresh-off-the-line Ford.

Army Sergeant First Class Paul Boothe of the 82nd Airborne Division has always been a Mustang enthusiast.  The first car he was able to buy on his own was a 1991 Ford Mustang coupe, and he has had one ever since.  He owns a 1965 coupe, a 1988 GT, and a 2004 Mach 1.

When Ford learned that Boothe, recently returned from a seven month tour in Afghanistan, had ordered a 2013 Shelby GT500, he was invited to the Flat Rock Assembly Plant in Michigan, where the Mustang is produced, for a tour.

“I jump out of airplanes, rappel out of helicopters, and go to warzones for a living,” said Boothe. “But this was one of the coolest things I have ever had done for me.”

Boothe and his family made their way to Michigan from North Carolina thanks to the American Legion Ford Motor Post 173 and the Ford Veteran’s Network, who chipped in to help pay for travel expenses. Local veterans were on hand to greet Boothe as he arrived. As an added bonus, Mustang Chief Engineer Dave Pericak was able to join the tour.

“It was awesome to be able to go onto the floor and see the Mustang being built up

close and personal,” Boothe said.  “I was very happy with the trip up to Dearborn and I appreciate that Ford did this for me.”

To top it all off, Boothe was able to be the first one to start up the engine on his new Shelby GT500 right as it rolled off the assembly line.

To honor the service of veterans like Sergeant Boothe, leave a comment below in the spirit of Veteran’s Day. You can also grab a “U.S. Forces” badge, or share your own story about military service and Ford.
David G 02/07/2013
1) Sergeant Boothe, thank you for serving this country and for protecting and keeping the average guy like me safe!

2) I'm finishing up medical school and in honor of my grandfather (WWII), who like you. helped protected this nation, I plan and hope I can be a physician at a VA hospital. I may not have been involved/fought, but I hope I can give back in my own way, by providing our solders & former solders with the best medical care/

3) Shelby Gt500! I'm drooling... I don't think you could have ordered a better car. I love the (no longer made GT), but you're getting MORE power & torque! Congrats on your new vehicle and getting to see it made.

4)I have nothing to do with Ford... I just love & use their products and feel they make some of the best automotive products available. This gesture they gave you just proved that to me. I may or may not be able to afford a GT500 one day, but I think I'd be pretty happy with the 3-5hp (soon to be 365) mustang.... that's still pretty powerful. 50% less than you have! But It'll still blow away lots of Hondas, Toyotas, BMWs, Etc. It was extremely generous and kind to have given you the opportunity.

5) He server our country! He risked his life for us! His family stayed up at night for months worrying about their husband and father, if I had any say in the matter, I'D JUST GIVE HIM THE CAR! HE DESERVES IT (a great understatement!).

PS: if you ever feel like giving me a ride or need someone to watch your new car.... ;)
Way to go with a Shelby!!!
Leonard LCooper 11/12/2012
Mustangs are like potato chips, you can't have just one.
Li M 11/12/2012
I have a 1990 Ford Mustang Convertible. It is still looking and running good!
Al M 11/12/2012
congrats sergeant Boothe on your new Shelby! thank you for giving us the freedom to enjoy our mustangs! HOORAH
Ronald L 11/12/2012
thanks for his service , way to go ford
Stephanie Bean 11/12/2012
I would like to thank Paul Boothe for his service to our country. And I would to also thank Ford for honoring our serviceman.

In addition, I would like to say that I am also a "Ford" fan. While, I also am a huge fan of your mustang line "since the old time pedal car back in the 60's". I have to say that I have owned & passed down the Ford Explorer to my children because I find them to be the most dependable and safe vehicle we could drive in our rural community. We have had three teenagers drive & "wreck" your vehicles and I can say no one was seriously injured or actually even needed medical attention, even when the truck rolled.

So in closing I would like to say, I am very loyal to Ford, not only for your social responsibility to our veterans but for your loyalty to our country in general. You did not take a buyout when our country was in economic distress even though it was offered .

Also, the fact that in the time of financial disaster
aaron 11/11/2012
Way to go Ford and thank you to Paul Boothe for you service to our country!!!!
John B 11/11/2012
SFC Boothe, as a fellow veteran and current Mustang owner I am sure you will truly enjoy your new ride.
Fighting for liberty and freedom in a hostile world as this, your sacrifice and the sacrifice of those soldiers who sacrificed their tomorrows for our todays can never be repaid.
Ford, thank you for making a fine solider's day.
Lowell P 11/11/2012
What a fantastic experience. Our military and vets deserve something special
Andrew F 11/11/2012
Burn the rubber down SFC Booth! HOOHA
Skitter F 11/11/2012
Now this is Veteran appreciation. Thank you Ford® for giving this experience to someone coming home.
Richard F 11/11/2012
It's a shame this stuff doesn't happen to more of our armed forces who fight for our freedom. It's also great that Ford has kept this tradition alive.
Brad B 11/11/2012
Hey Ford ! Well done, this was a great thing to do. I've recently retired from 26 years with the Coast Guard. I don't live too far from Sergeant
Booth's 82nd Airborne in Fayetteville. Regardless of which branch Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Navy, and Marines Ford has been there for us. How about a story in the future on how Henry Ford built all types of vehicles and planes for the WW II war effort.
Lynda 11/11/2012
Congratulations and thank you for your service to our country.
Marc B 11/11/2012
Lets also remember all the VET'S that put the mustang together with honor everyday..
John 11/11/2012
What a great collaboration !
brandon 11/11/2012
I think its wornderful that FORD did this, i wish more companys would take the time to honor our veteran's and not just on veteran's day but everyday of the year.
Sergeant boothe! Thank you for fighting for me! Thank you for! Defending my country and my family's freedom! And congrats!! On your new shelby! God bless you!
Elaine H 11/11/2012
Keith L 11/11/2012
I think it great what ford is doing in so many areas ,and to the armed forces who protect us and fight without a second thought thank you !
Keith L 11/11/2012
I think it great what ford is doing in so many areas ,and to the armed forces who protect us and fight without a second thought thank you !
Donna S 11/11/2012
Kathy S 11/11/2012
This is absolutely awesome Ford! Hats off to you for your kindness and respect for this hero and all veterans!
Charles N 11/11/2012
Thank you for your service,You deserved this trip.