6-52nd Air Defense Artillery conducts safety training
Under the supervision of 1st Lt. Steve Voglezon (right), 2nd Lt. Thomas Bentley (left) checks the tire pressure on his motorcycle before riding on a local street during the motorcycle mentorship training May 25.

SUWON AIR BASE, South Korea - With the summer season just around the corner, Soldiers from the 6th Battalion, 52nd Air Defense Artillery recently went through a comprehensive Summer Safety Stand-down Training here, learning how to prevent and react to some of the common safety hazards associated with this time of the year.

The three-day training program, which lasted from May 23 - 25, consisted of classroom instruction combined with practical exercises on important topics such as fire/grilling safety, hot weather injury prevention, survival swimming, motor vehicle safety and even a motorcycle mentorship training.

Soldiers took home important knowledge on how to be safe while enjoying some of their favorite summer activities.

Sgt. Keith Myles of A Battery, 6-52nd Air Defense Artillery Battalion, is an avid swimmer and looks forward to participating in the wide variety of water sports available here on peninsula this summer.

This morning, inside the swimming pool at the local Community Activity Center, Myles is learning how to correctly execute the “survival stroke” to conserve energy and prevent muscle fatigue, if he ever needs to stay afloat for a prolonged period of time to survive.

“This [water survival training] is great training,” said the Memphis, Tenn., native. “Soldiers are learning how to prevent over exertion and increase survivability in the water if they ever fell overboard on a boat or hurt themselves during water sports.”

According to Myles, all swimmers, no matter the skill level, are “susceptible to muscle fatigue.” Hence, it is crucial for everyone to learn the survival stroke.

The instructors for the water survival training separated advanced swimmers from new swimmers and provided individual feedback on ways to improve each individual’s swimming skill.

“I cannot emphasize how important water safety training is, especially as we head into the months of Summer,” said 1st Lt. Steve Bonner, one of the primary instructors and a former Army diver.

Myles concluded, “The training has definitely made me feel more prepared and more equipped next time I go into the water.”

In addition to water sports, motorcycle riding is another popular summer past time here on the Korean Peninsula.

1st Lt. Steve Voglezon has been riding a motorcycle for over a year now and the Maryland native is planning to explore the beautiful Korean countryside this summer on his Hyosung GT650R motorcycle.

This morning, Voglezon is going over his safety checklist for the third time to make sure he and his motorcycle is ready for the road.

Voglezon is participating in the battalion’s motorcycle mentorship club, which teaches riders important safety lessons, such as conducting inspections and checks as well as donning the appropriate personal protective gears before rolling out of the gate.

Needless to say, an essential part of the motorcycle training must include road familiarization, especially here on the crowded streets of Korea.

“We paired off inexperienced riders with experienced riders to foster a creative environment for responsible riding,” said Capt. Jeffrey Freeman, the officer in charge of the battalion’s motorcycle mentorship program.

“I have learned this morning that wearing proper safety gear and ensuring I have conducted all the necessary inspections and checks on my equipment can make a difference between life and death while riding my motorcycle,” said Voglezon.

As the team of Harleys and various Japanese sports bikes cruised through the winding roads of Osan and Pyeongtaek, participants also learned valuable lessons on group riding techniques.

"We want to educate everyone that by wearing the appropriate protective gear, practicing defense riding techniques and maintaining constant situation awareness, riding motorcycle in Korea can indeed be fun, fulfilling and safe," said Lt. Col. William Darne, commander of 6-52nd Air Defense Artillery Battalion and a motorcycle enthusiast.

Page last updated Wed June 1st, 2011 at 22:10