BURNET, Texas - Over one hundred motorcycle riders on sport bikes and cruisers stretched out along a central Texas highway.
Each rider was a member or former member of the 3rd "Greywolf" Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, participating in a "Greywolf" safety ride May 2.
"The goal... was to put together an event that would help mentor young riders by pairing them up with more experienced riders," Command Sgt. Maj. Donald Felt, the command sergeant major of the "Greywolf" brigade, who thought of and participated in the event.
"The second part of it was to get the Soldiers out and about in the central Texas area," said Felt.
"I don't know how true it is, but there are a lot of thoughts that say they get on that motorcycle and they crotch rocket themselves to Sixth Street (in Austin, Texas) and party and have a good time," he said.
"My message to them was there is more than (Highway) 195, (Interstate) 35 and Sixth Street," said Felt. "There's lots of stuff around here, and if you're not from this area, take advantage of that and see it.
"We specifically chose some routes through the countryside, across old bridges and around an old square," he said.
"The third part of it was to start at the cemetery and honor our fallen comrades," said Felt, referring to the Veteran's Memorial Cemetery on Highway 195. Felt said he thought it was appropriate with Memorial Day in the same month.
"The fourth part of it was it was really a team building operation too," said the native of Monroeville, Penn.
"When you put all of these people with a common interest together from six different battalions and the brigade headquarters, there are relationships built, developed or initiated," said Felt.
"You kind of break down the barriers between the crotch rocket crowd and the cruiser crowd and the older crowd and the younger crowd," he said.
"Whether one guy drives a crotch rocket and another guy drives a (cruiser), the point is they both love motorcycles," said Felt. "There is a common ground by which to start."
The route began at the cemetery and from there the formation rode down country roads to Fort Croghan Museum in Burnet, to fuel up, rest and mingle. Then the Soldiers rode on to Lake Buchanan and stopped for a photo opportunity on the lake.
The next stop was for chow in Lampasas. From there the Soldiers were released to their respective battalions.
"There was plenty of down time off of the bike to let the team work thing start to work," said Felt.
"Now, as the guys walk through the brigade area and they see one of the guys that was on the ride... they have a common ground from which to talk to each other and know a little bit more about each other," he said.
"I think that kind of stuff is important, because anything that will build a stronger team and a stronger bond before the Soldiers deploy to combat is a good thing," said Felt.
"I believe it was well received by the Soldiers for a couple of reasons," he said. "One, it was conducted on a duty day and they weren't working in the motor pool.
"I think other than that, just because one of their hobbies or interests is riding motorcycles, it would have been a good thing even if it was done on a Saturday," he said.
Not only did the event build camaraderie, more importantly it emphasized motorcycle safety, said Felt..
"The ultimate goal here is to save a Soldier's life, limb or eyesight... and encourage the Soldier to do this recreation in a safe and responsible manner," he said.
"In the back of my mind, we have golf tournaments occasionally; they are good team building operations... but they don't focus on safety," said Felt. "I think there is a precedence set that would allow us to do this more often."