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SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - 1st Lt. Keith Merilaat, the battalion signal officer, 3rd Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, leads the way on his motorcycle as other Soldiers of the battalion follow him during their motorcycle safety training, Feb. 22. The Soldiers participated in the one-day training event with the Honolulu Police Department and William Maxwell, the Garrison Safety officer, to increase their knowledge and awareness of proper motorcycle safety and operation.

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii- After having successfully traversed the dangerous roads of Iraq, recently returned Soldiers learned that the same alertness used for survival in combat will be needed as they enjoy operating their motorcycles in Hawaii.
A small group of Soldiers in the 3rd Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division participated in the brigade's motorcycle safety training sessions with the Honolulu Police Department and with William Maxwell, the Garrison Safety officer, to increase their knowledge and awareness of proper motorcycle safety and operation, Feb. 22.
The "Never Broken" battalion is first in the brigade to conduct the motorcycle rider's training with full joint participation and support of a garrison Safety officer and the HPD.
The in-doors portion consisted of testimonials from Maxwell and the HPD officers. The experts spoke on errors that motorists make, such as not looking in the same direction they are turning, not knowing personal and vehicle limitations and inattentiveness to other drivers.
Sgt. Daron Akiyama, a metropolitan police sergeant with the HPD, spoke to the Soldiers and recounted many of the gruesome sites he's seen on the roads of Hawaii.
Akiyama asked the Soldiers what they felt the number one reason for motorcycle accidents were. The Soldiers collectively said speed and a rider's inexperience were their answer. Akiyama, however, said in his opinion it is the rider's error and hitting something then abruptly stopping that kills.
"I heard a profound statement that said 'In a car the steel and plastic protects the driver, on a motorcycle the driver protects the steel and the plastic'," Maxwell told Soldiers.
Maxwell explained that bikes offer limited amounts of protection to its rider, and that true protection comes from rider's skill and what they is wearing.
During the brigade's recent deployment, many Soldiers who operated military vehicles faced many unseen challenges on the roads of Iraq. These challenges were presented as roadside bombs, civilian traffic, indirect or direct enemy fire or the fatigue of driving long hours. Soldiers learned standard operation procedures and had training that helped prepare themselves to successfully handle these various events.
"In Iraq, our leaders established a crawl, walk and run type of training to ensure success for the Soldiers. We gave slide presentations, static drills that rehearsed what would be done in real time," said Capt. Alex Ichinose, logistical officer, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery. "This is the same concept that our Soldiers need to see applies with riding motorcycles and the HPD and our battalion are providing that understanding through this training," he explained.
After receiving a mixture of basic and new driving techniques, the 12 Soldiers jumped on their bikes and rode alongside the HPD and Maxwell from Schofield Barracks to Kaneohe and back. The ride was designed to give Soldiers validation and on-road training from the HPD.
"The ride was to validate what we learned in the classroom and for the HPD to critique how we performed on the road. The critique is what the HPD do after every ride they have in order to correct potential mistakes, this has been a great training event for our Soldiers," said Ichinose.
With the conclusion of the training, Soldiers who participated spoke on what they learned or relearned.
"Know your limits. Stay within your means. In a car there is at least three other people, on a bike however, there is only one person and your safety falls on you. This is where your personal maturity, experience and all the training you go through goes into effect," said Staff Sgt. Robert Anthony, an A Btry. howitzer section chief in the battalion.

Page last updated Mon May 10th, 2010 at 16:51