Soldiers from 108th Air Defense Artillery Brigade conducted a brigade motorcycle mentorship ride Oct. 26.

There were 21 Soldiers throughout the brigade who took part in the 100 mile motorcycle ride.

The Soldiers met at the 108th ADA Bde. complex at 8:30 a.m. Col. Sean Gainey, 108th ADA Bde. commander and Command Sgt. Maj. Harold Lincoln, 108th ADA Bde. command sergeant major welcomed the Soldiers and emphasized the importance of the mentorship ride.

“We all know the visibility we have in the Army and the XVIII Airborne Corps, 32nd Army Air and Missile Defense Command and the brigade on motorcycle safety.

“Many serious accidents occur on motorcycles and it has a lot of focus across the Army. A lot of people are worried that there are individuals who don’t take motorcycle safety seriously. This is an opportunity for us as a brigade to enforce safety and for you to go out and ride in a safe manner,” said Gainey.

Following the welcoming remarks from the brigade commander and brigade command sergeant major, the Soldiers conducted tires, controls, lights, oil, chassis and stands inspections as well as a personal protective equipment checks promoting safe riding while aiding new riders on what to look for before and during the ride.

Pvt. Eric Peterson, Battery A, 3rd Bn., 4th ADA antenna mast group crew member, was a first time participant of the mentorship ride.

“It is important to ensure the less experienced riders have someone to look up to and use the mentors to guide us with our motorcycles and the Army life as well. It is good to have that fellowship with them to help ensure that Soldiers are doing what’s right”, said Peterson.

Sgt. Maj. James Thagard, brigade S3 operations sergeant major and the brigade motorcycle mentor led the event. Thagard has been the 108th ADA Bde. motorcycle mentor since July and has more than 25 years experience riding motorcycles.

Thagard said he plans to conduct the motorcycle mentorship training or ride quarterly.

“The first thing is safety which is one of the key factors of the of a motorcycle mentorship program. It is vital to conduct inspections of the Soldiers’ bikes prior to every ride”, said Thagard.

Master Sgt. Scott Stoneburner, brigade S3 operations and the 108th ADA Bde. assistant motorcycle mentor was also present to help Thagard oversee the Soldiers.

Stoneburner explained some of the things that made him a better mentor.

“While serving as the brigade motorcycle mentor, Sergeant Major Thagard has shared his knowledge and experiences with me. That, as well as interacting with fellow Soldiers who are bike riders to gain perspective about their experiences while getting to know them better, are a few ways that has helped me improve as a mentor,” said Stoneburner.

Spc. Joshua Devore, Battery A, 3rd Bn., 4th ADA launcher crew member was also a first time participant at the mentorship ride.

During the 100 mile ride, the Soldiers stopped for lunch followed by a visit to the Honda Dealership, in Sanford, N.C. While at the dealership, Soldiers had the opportunity to check out some new gear, bike displays and get first-hand, professional advice about a variety of motorcycles.

After returning to the 108th ADA Bde. complex, the Soldiers conducted an after action review to discuss the day’s events.

Many of the Soldiers spoke about the use of good teamwork. They also mentioned how they liked the group cohesion atmosphere during the motorcycle ride and believed that the event was a good distance and pace for the riders.

Although the day consisted of constructive training, the Soldiers also discussed improvements that will aid with future brigade motorcycle rides such as increased use of hand and arm signals and proper intervals while riding in formation.