FORT STEWART, Ga. - Soldiers from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, Third Infantry Division, revved their engines and set off on a company ride May 24 to cap a month of motorcycle safety as a part of the Motorcycle Mentorship Program.

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, part of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's national campaign to keep riders safe on our nation's highways.

Fatalities from motorcycle accidents are a safety issue that Army Safety Program Leaders are working to reduce.

Prior to departure, the motorcyclists conducted a safety check of their vehicles in order to participate in the 2012 HHC, 3rd CAB Motorcycle Mentorship Program ride.

"Riding a bike is a lot different than driving a car," said Sgt. 1st Class Kiplangat Marisin, first sergeant of HHC, 3rd CAB. "It takes a long time to achieve the level of knowledge for riding safely, and then after that you have to learn defensive driving."

Jeff Willis, an installation safety specialist for Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield, said that the goal of the Motorcycle Mentorship Program is to inform senior leaders of Army and Department of Defense standards so that everyone is "reading from the same sheet of music."

"Ensuring proper inspections, and especially making sure everyone's up to snuff on proper, DOD-approved gear -- that's our main goal," said Willis. "In an accident, proper safety gear is paramount to minimalizing injury."

Sergeant First Class Marisin said the program was invaluable, not only to the senior leadership mentors in the class, but to the Soldiers to whom the knowledge of the training will flow.

"[The program] gives the rider a bigger learning curve than just going out on the road on your own," said Sgt. 1st Class Marisin. "There's no way you're going to learn proper riding techniques and safety without a mentor."