‘Never Broken’ battalion learns life-saving skills on motorcycles

| March 5, 2010 | 0 Comments

Story and Photo by
Spc. Jazz Burney
3rd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — After successfully traveling the dangerous roads of Iraq, recently returned Soldiers learned that they need the same alertness used for survival in combat while they enjoy riding their motorcycles in Hawaii.

1st Lt. Keith Merilaat, the battalion signal officer, 3rd Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, leads the way on his motorcycle as other Soldiers of the battalion follow during their motorcycle safety training, Feb. 22.Soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, participated in the brigade’s motorcycle safety training sessions here, Feb. 22, with the Honolulu Police Department and William Maxwell, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii safety officer. The training is designed to increase the Soldiers’ knowledge of proper motorcycle safety and operation.

The “Never Broken” battalion is first in the brigade to conduct the motorcycle rider’s training with the HPD.

The training consisted of testimonials from Maxwell and the police officers. The experts spoke of errors that motorists often make, such as not looking in the same direction they are turning, not knowing personal and vehicle limitations, and inattentiveness to other drivers.

Sgt. Daron Akiyama, a Honolulu metropolitan police sergeant, spoke to the Soldiers and recounted many of the gruesome sights he’s encountered on Hawaii’s roads.

Akiyama asked the Soldiers what they felt the number one reason for motorcycle accidents was. Collectively, the Soldiers answered speed and a rider’s inexperience. Akiyama said that in his opinion, it is the rider’s error that kills, like hitting something and abruptly stopping.

“I heard a profound statement that said, ‘in a car the steel and plastic protects the driver; on a motorcycle the driver protects the steel and the plastic,’” Maxwell told the Soldiers.

Maxwell explained that bikes offer limited amounts of protection to the rider, and that true protection comes from the rider’s skill and what protective gear he or she is wearing.

During the brigade’s recent deployment, Soldiers who operated military vehicles faced unseen challenges on the Iraq roads.

These challenges included roadside bombs, civilian traffic, indirect or direct enemy fire, or the fatigue that comes from driving for long hours.

In Iraq, Soldiers learned standard operation procedures and trained to prepare themselves to successfully handle various events.

“In Iraq, our leaders established a crawl, walk and run type of training to ensure success for the Soldiers,” said Capt. Alex Ichinose, logistical officer, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 3rd Bn, 7th FA, 3rd BCT, 25th ID.

“We gave slide presentations and had static drills that rehearsed what would be done in real time.

“This is the same concept that our Soldiers need to see applies with riding motorcycles, and the Honolulu Police Department and our battalion are providing that understanding through this training,” Ichinose added.

After receiving a mixture of basic and new driving techniques, the 12 Soldiers jumped on their bikes and rode alongside the police officers and Maxwell, from Schofield Barracks to Kaneohe and back.

“The ride was to validate what we learned in the classroom and for the Honolulu Police Department to critique how we performed on the road,” Ichinose said. “The critique is what the Honolulu Police Department does after every ride they have in order to correct potential mistakes. This has been a great training event for our Soldiers.”

Staff Sgt. Robert Anthony, an A Battery howitzer section chief, summed up what the participating Soldiers in the course learned or relearned.

“Know your limits, stay within your means,” he said after the conclusion of the training. “In a car, there is at least three other people. On a bike, however, there is only one person, and your safety falls on you. This is where your personal maturity, experience and all the training you go through goes into effect.”




Category: News, Safety

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