FORT BRAGG, N.C. -- Soldiers and civilians from the 1st Sustainment Command (Theater) traded their uniforms for leather boots and proper protective equipment and hit the road on a motorcycle mentorship ride Friday.
Team members departed the 1st TSC headquarters are and rode to Southern Pines, North Carolina, where they stopped for lunch as a group.
"I love this program," said Maj. Janet Blair, accounting chief, 18th Financial Management Support Center, 1st TSC. "It brings the unit's motorcycle riders together, builds comradery and you get to sit down, eat a meal and enjoy fellowship."
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 Lacrosse, Wisconsin native, Command Sgt. Maj. Bruce Paulson, 1st TSC Special Troops Battalion command sergeant major.
Topics discussed during the training were 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 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 were leaders and Soldiers over the age of 25.
The program not only provides a shared forum for new and seasoned riders to share their passion for riding, but also fulfills a Department of Army mandate.
"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. "Leaders and riders need to know how to inspect these bikes."
Earlier this month, 1st TSC riders met in the battalion classroom and learned about the importance of motorcycle safety and inspections.
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," said Paulson to the riders before they left. "We need to be teaching these young Soldiers what right looks like."
One of the youngest Soldiers in the group was 19-year-old Pvt. Kaine Delancy. "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."
For more information on the Motorcycle Mentorship Program visit safety.army.mil/OFF-DUTY/PMV-2/MotorcycleMentorshipProgram(MMP).