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Home > UNS > 131030-01



Motorcycle mentorship program helps to inspire safety among USASOC riders

 by Sgt. Daniel A. Carter

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (USASOC News Service, Oct. 30, 2013)  – Motorcycle riders from across the United States Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) participated in the motorcycle mentorship ride on Oct. 15, 2013.

The motorcycle mentorship ride, part of the Motorcycle Mentorship Program (MMP), was hosted by the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School (USAJFKSWCS) and was open to anyone within USASOC.

“In all aspects of the military we emphasize mentorship,” explained Capt. Donald J. Sulpizio, the G-39 deputy, USASOC, “That is why I really like this program. Taking novice riders and paring them with mentors who are experienced riders is a great opportunity.”

While anyone in USASOC could participate in the ride, they had to have the proper paperwork and safety gear that is required by the Army in order to ride. The ride was meant to help fellow motorcycle riders stay safe by allowing them to see and participate in safe riding practices. The motorcycle mentorship ride, which was focused on promoting safety for all riders, started at around 9 a.m.

 “Throughout the Army, a lot of what we do is inherently dangerous and riding motorcycles is also inherently dangerous,” said Sulpizio, “It’s a part of our life, it’s a part of our Soldier’s life. Every commander and every Soldier has an invested interest in making sure those that we know ride, are safe.”

Once everyone was present, Cathy Shank, the USAJFKSWCS safety manager, initiated the safety brief. In the safety brief, Shank explained that everyone would be splitting up into 4-5 person safety groups. Shank also informed everyone about the route that they would be taking, and the stops that they would be making.

All of the riders went to their motorcycles, after the safety brief, to get ready for departure. Some participants, in the spirit of Halloween, even strapped skeletons to their motorcycles. Once everyone had split into their respective groups, led by the group leader who was responsible for that particular group, they took one last look at their maps and headed out onto the road.

The first stop that the riders were to make was at the North Carolina National Guard post in Sanford, N.C., where they stopped and ate lunch.

            Once all the riders finished lunch, Shank had all the riders draw tickets and put them into a bowl for a drawing. When a ticket was drawn, the rider with the matching ticket won a safety award which included full-finger riding gloves and Department of Transportation approved shatter-proof glasses. Giving out these awards was all part of the event and helped to ensure all riders were protected while riding.

“Events like this are a good to have,” said Sulpizio, “So as to ensure that the training is being done and that all motorcycle riders are being safe.”

After all the awards were handed out, the group headed back out onto the road and started heading towards their next destination. The last stop on the route was a revolution-era battle site called the House in the Horseshoe. The site was so aptly named by the placement of the house in the middle of a horseshoe shape made by the surrounding river.

The group of riders was met by a historical tour guide, who talked about the historical significance of the site and how it influenced the surrounding area. The tour guide, after having finished introducing the group the site, invited everyone into the house. The riders moved room to room, taking in the historical significance of the site and taking themselves back to the times of the revolution.

Once everyone had toured the house and surrounding structures, they moved back out to their motorcycles to head to their final destinations. For some, that meant going home, for others, that meant going back the USASOC headquarters and participating in the Fall Festival.

Back at the fall festival, riders decorated their motorcycles and filled their saddle bags with assorted candy for all the children. While the fall festival marked the end of the motorcycle mentorship ride for USASOC riders, it did not mark the end of riding safely.

“Something to take away from a day like this is that you can never be too safe, “ Sulpizio said, “We teach the guys to ride like they are invisible, but days like this are a great illustration of the invested training and emphasis that we have from the chain of command and the Army on riding safe.”