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Fort Campbell Rakkasans recently returned from Afghanistan prepare to Ride

 

Written by U.S. Army Spc. Brian Smith-Dutton
3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division Public Affairs

RakkasanFort Campbell KY, 101st Airborne Division

Fort Campbell, KY – With the summer months quickly approaching, Soldiers ready themselves and their equipment to enjoy their time off with their family, friends and loved ones.

More than 60 Soldiers assigned to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team “Rakkasans,” 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), take part in a motorcycle safety course to get reacquainted with riding after returning home from their deployment.

Ralph Stuck, the safety manager for 3rd Brigade Combat Team "Rakkasans," 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), speaks with Soldiers about the importance of safety while riding their motorcycles during a motorcycle mentorship day event at Fort Campbell, Ky., June 12. Stuck has been hosting motorcycle mentorship days for the Rakkasans for eight years, showing riders that they are supported by the brigade. (Photo by Army Spc. Brian Smith-Dutton 3/101 Public Affairs)

Ralph Stuck, the safety manager for 3rd Brigade Combat Team “Rakkasans,” 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), speaks with Soldiers about the importance of safety while riding their motorcycles during a motorcycle mentorship day event at Fort Campbell, Ky., June 12. Stuck has been hosting motorcycle mentorship days for the Rakkasans for eight years, showing riders that they are supported by the brigade. (Photo by Army Spc. Brian Smith-Dutton 3/101 Public Affairs)

“Today is all about getting the riders together and letting them know what right looks like, as far as being a responsible motorcycle rider,” said Sgt. Maj. Todd Dalton, the 3rd Brigade Combat Team operations Sgt. Maj.

“What we are doing is a mentorship day to re-instill motorcycle driving principles after the redeployment as well as show the Soldiers we support motorcycle riders,” said Ralph Stuck, the Safety Manager for 3rd BCT.

The idea of the event was to brief Soldiers on the importance of safety. As well as teach Soldiers the importance of motorcycle maintenance and inspections.

“These guys are just trying to get riders out here and get them comfortable on their bikes,” said Army Sgt. Christopher Brooks, an infantryman assigned to Headquarters, Headquarters Company. “This is great; especially after returning home from our deployment.”

During the safety brief, the Rakkasan command group stopped by to show their support to the Soldiers.

“Command was here to show their support and emphasize safety as well as be great motorcycle mentors,” said Dalton.

“The colonel and sergeant major stopped by to give a good talk about their expectations for motorcyclists and what they anticipate from riders within the brigade,” said Stuck.

Motorcycle riders within the 3rd Brigade Combat Team "Rakkasans," 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), prepare to ride their motorcycles to an obstacle course during a mentorship day for riders at Fort Campbell, Ky., June 12, 2013. The Rakkasans have been conducting motorcycle mentorship days for the past eight years, providing assistance and classes to riders within the brigade. (Photo by Army Spc. Brian Smith-Dutton 3/101 Public Affairs)

Motorcycle riders within the 3rd Brigade Combat Team “Rakkasans,” 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), prepare to ride their motorcycles to an obstacle course during a mentorship day for riders at Fort Campbell, Ky., June 12, 2013. The Rakkasans have been conducting motorcycle mentorship days for the past eight years, providing assistance and classes to riders within the brigade. (Photo by Army Spc. Brian Smith-Dutton 3/101 Public Affairs)

After the safety briefings, the group was given a class on properly inspecting their motorcycles.

“We teach a class on motorcycle inspection and safety,” said Stuck. “We teach them how to properly inspect their bikes by the guidelines of the military.”

“We had a class to teach us how to properly check our bikes from front to rear,” said Brooks. “From tires, to fluids and everything in between.”

Throughout the course safety is continuously explained to all riders as the most important factor in riding.

“After we walk everyone through inspecting their motorcycles we then do an obstacle course to get everyone familiar with their bikes,” said Dalton. “We instruct them on different obstacles such how to make turns and use their emergency brakes.”

“The obstacle course was designed to give them a refresher by giving them some tight turns, maneuvers and breaking,” said Stuck.

Brooks agrees that the obstacles in the course are designed to test riders on things that could happen on an everyday ride.

After completing the obstacle course Soldiers ready themselves for a 30-mile group ride to Fort Donaldson, Dover and back.

Throughout the course, Soldiers agree that the lessons learned from the motorcycle mentorship day have been great refresher topics for the Rakkasan rider.

“We have been doing motorcycle mentorship days for the last eight years,” said Stuck.

“The Army just wants us to be aware because if you’re a defensive rider you can recognize a hazard before you actually get into it,” said Brooks.

As the group of Rakkasan riders rev their engines and check their safety equipment, their faces each seem to light up with love and excitement just before accelerating onto the road to start their esprit de corps ride.

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