By Staff Sgt. Cashmere C. JeffersonMay 26, 2012
FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii-- U.S. Army Pacific kicked off the Army's 100 days of summer safety May 24 on historic Palm Circle with more than 250 motorcyclists from units throughout Hawaii with an 80-mile motorcycle safety ride.
The Memorial Day Ride for the Fallen began with a moment of silence and prayer by USARPAC's Command Chaplain (Col.) Michael Dugal.
Capt. Fredrick B. Giles, USARPAC's operations company commander and officer in charge of the event, wanted riders to have a moment to think about what U.S. Soldiers have given up and the sacrifices they've made and continue to make every day as we go into Memorial Day and to think about safety.
"Ultimately we cannot fight and we cannot make those sacrifices if you die in a motorcycle accident," said Giles. "We want to take care of the Soldiers out there riding motorcycles and ensure they're taking care of themselves on the road so that we are able to conserve the force."
"We want to protect our Soldiers and their families from any unnecessary accidents," said Giles.
Command Sgt. Maj. Frank M. Leota, USARPAC's senior enlisted leader and motorcyclist, said USARPAC has a first class motorcycle mentorship program that emphasizes safety and protecting the force as its first priority.
"The outstanding motorcycle mentorship program we have here is how we ensure the safety of our Soldiers and the program also ensures that we have every Soldiers needed to bring to the fight," said Leota.
With the increase of motorcycle riders on the road both in uniform and civilians, Leota said it's very important that riders drive to be seen and heard.
Leota added that engaged leaders are what makes the motorcycle mentorship program successful and that it enables commands to put on events like this with so many skilled riders, new and old.
Following Leota's comments riders were briefed on the 80-mile route and received safety instructions before starting their journey.
Sgt. 1st Class Dewayne Cunningham, medical operations NCO, 25th Infantry Division surgeon's office said the ride was more than just about safety, it was more personal to him.
Cunningham noted that he enjoyed riding with his "band of brothers".
"The ride was a time of great reflection while remembering the ultimate sacrifices that so many have paid over the years," he said. "It was not a day off, it was the least of things that we could do to pay homage to our heroes past and present."
Maj. Gen. William G. Beard, deputy commanding general, Army Reserve, USARPAC gave the closing remarks at Honolulu's Cycle City, the end point of the safety ride.
"This has been a great event that took everyone's hard work to make successful," said Beard. "As everyone goes into the Memorial Day weekend, please be safe and keep your Soldiers safe."