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Face of Defense: Fort Bragg Motorcycle Riders Practice Safety

By Elizabeth Gerhart 1st Theater Sustainment Command

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FORT BRAGG, N.C., Nov. 3, 2015 — Soldiers and civilians from the 1st Theater Sustainment Command here traded their military uniforms for heavy biker’s boots and other protective safety equipment and hit the road on a motorcycle mentorship ride Oct. 30.

Team members departed the 1st TSC headquarters and rode to Southern Pines, North Carolina, where they stopped for lunch as a group.

“I love this program,” said Army Maj. Janet Blair, accounting chief, 18th Financial Management Support Center, 1st TSC. “It brings the unit’s motorcycle riders together, builds camaraderie, and you get to sit down, eat a meal and enjoy fellowship.”

Motorcycle Safety

The ride also provided more than just a scenic view of North Carolina. Before the riders went “kickstands up” each rider conducted safety checks and attended a safety briefing, led by Army Command Sgt. Maj. Bruce Paulson, the 1st TSC Special Troops Battalion command sergeant major, who hails from La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Topics discussed during the training included proper maintenance of the bikes, techniques for safe and effective riding, rules of the road, and rules unique to military riders.

According to Army accident data, the most-common errors made by soldier motorcycle riders are speeding, neglecting to wear personal protective equipment and failure to complete required training. Over the past several years the majority of rider fatalities involved soldiers over age 25.

The program provides a shared forum for new and seasoned riders to share their passion for riding, but also fulfills an Army directive.

“This program allows us to enforce a standard, and everyone should know what that standard is, riders and leaders alike,” said Paulson, who has more than 30 years of riding experience.

Earlier in October, 1st TSC riders met in the battalion classroom and learned about the importance of motorcycle safety and inspections.

Responsible Motorcycle Riding

According to the Army safety website, the purpose of the Motorcycle Mentorship Program is to establish voluntary motorcycle clubs where less experienced riders and seasoned riders can create an environment of responsible motorcycle riding. Such an environment can create positive conduct and behavior and serve as a force multiplier that supports a commander’s motorcycle accident prevention program.

“The 1st TSC motorcycle mentorship program is fully supported by the chain of command from the top, down,” said Ricky Gravely, safety specialist, 1st TSC. “This ensures that our motorcycle mentors and our riders are up for the challenge of zero fatalities. Our current track record is a testimony to the leadership involvement, support and the program itself. In my five years with the TSC, we continue that same standard of excellence.”

Aside from being a quarterly requirement, the ride was a chance for senior and junior riders to build unit cohesion, find mentors for safer riding and overall enhance the unit’s safety and readiness.

“While we are out on that road we will be watching you and you will be watching each other to make sure we all ride safely,” Paulson told the riders before they departed. “We need to be teaching these young soldiers what right looks like.”

At age 19, Army Pvt. Kaine Delancy was one of the youngest soldiers in the group.

“I’ve only been riding for six months, so it’s always good to do these rides with more experienced riders and have people looking out for you,” said Delancy, a Perryville, Maryland native. “This is a good way to learn, because no matter how much you think you know you can always learn more and there is always someone out there that knows more than you.”