Motorcycle riders from across the United States Army Special Operations Command participated in the motorcycle mentorship ride, Oct. 25.
The Motorcycle Mentorship Ride, part of the Motorcycle Mentorship Program, was hosted by the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School and was open to anyone within USASOC.
“In all aspects of the military, we emphasize mentorship,” explained Capt. Donald J. Sulpizio, the G-39 deputy, USASOC, “That is why I really like this program. Taking novice riders and pairing them with mentors who are experienced riders is a great opportunity.”
While anyone in USASOC could participate in the ride, they had to have the proper paperwork and safety gear that is required by the Army in order to ride.
The ride was meant to help fellow motorcycle riders stay safe by allowing them to see and participate in safe riding practices.
“Throughout the Army, a lot of what we do is inherently dangerous and riding motorcycles is also inherently dangerous,” said Sulpizio, “It’s a part of our life, it’s a part of our Soldier’s life. Every commander and every Soldier has an invested interest in making sure those that we know ride, are safe.”
Once everyone was present, Cathy Shank, the USAJFKSWCS safety manager, initiated the safety brief. In the safety brief, Shank explained that everyone would be splitting up into 4-5 person safety groups. Shank also informed everyone about the route they would be taking and the stops they would be making.
Some participants, in the spirit of Halloween, even strapped skeletons to their motorcycles. Once everyone had split into their respective groups, led by a group leader, they took one last look at their maps and headed out onto the road.
The first stop the riders were to make was at the North Carolina National Guard post in Sanford, N.C., where they stopped for lunch.
After lunch, Shank had all the riders draw tickets for a drawing. When a ticket was drawn, the rider with the matching ticket won a safety award which included full-finger riding gloves and Department of Transportation approved shatter-proof glasses. These awards were all part of the event and helped to ensure all riders were protected while riding.
After all the awards were handed out, the group got back on the road and headed towards their next destination. The last stop on the route was a Revolution-era battle site called the House in the Horseshoe, named by the placement of the house in the middle of a horseshoe shape made by the surrounding river.
The riders were met by a tour guide who talked about the historical significance of the site and how it influenced the surrounding area. The tour included visiting the house and taking in the historical significance of the site that took the group back to the times of the Revolution.
After the tour, the group headed back. For some, that meant going home, for others, that meant going back the USASOC headquarters and participating in the Fall Festival where they decorated their motorcycles and filled their saddle bags with assorted candy for the children. While the Fall Festival marked the end of the motorcycle mentorship ride for USASOC riders, it did not mark the end of riding safely.
“Something to take away from a day like this is that you can never be too safe, “ Sulpizio said, “We teach the guys to ride like they are invisible, but days like this are a great illustration of the invested training and emphasis that we have from the chain of command and the Army on riding safe.”