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Matt McMullen, the motorcycle safety instructor with the station safety department, talks about proper braking techniques with Brig. Gen. Andrew W. O'Donell, the assistant wing commander for the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, during the Experienced Riders Course, Aug 26. Both the assistant wing commander and sergeant major of the 3rd MAW participated in the ERC. Marines are required to take the Basic Riders Course before riding a motorcycle.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Manuel F. Guerrero

Leadership sets example, precedent for motorcycle safety

18 Sep 2009 | Lance Cpl. Manuel F. Guerrero

Leaders must set the example for junior Marines in the Marine Corps, leading from the front during combat, training and life situations.

Both the assistant wing commander and sergeant major of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing participated in the Experienced Riders Course, Aug. 26.

The one-day course helps motorcycle riders fine tune their riding skills, commented Matt McMullen, the motorcycle safety instructor with the station safety department.

“It’s a great refresher course,” said Sgt. Maj. Don W. Gallagher, sergeant major of the 3rd MAW. “It’s like shooting a rifle, you have to practice the basics to become an expert. We are trying to enhance and build on the level of the brand new rider with the course, because once you get out in town the instructors aren’t watching you.”

Every Marine who purchases a motorcycle must enroll in the Basic Riders Course aboard the air station. McMullen encourages riders to enroll in the Experienced Riders Course 120 days after taking the BRC to reinforce the basics of riding.

“The courses have helped Marines understand the importance of motorcycle safety, minimizing accidents in the Marine Corps,” said Jerry Ritschel, an instructor and facilitator for Cape Fox Professional Services.

Although the extra motorcycle training might sway aspiring riders away from motorcycles, 3rd MAW leadership wants to make sure Marines get the proper training before they hit the road, commented Brig. Gen. Andrew W. O’Donnell, the assistant wing commander for 3rd MAW, who has been riding motorcycles for 35 years.

“We don’t want to take bikes away from anybody, we are encouraging safe riding,” said Gallagher. “We are ensuring there is a mechanism for every Marine with a motorcycle to get the proper training.”

The courses offered by the Marine Corps will help Marines learn the intangibles of motorcycle riding and help Marines stay safe on the open road.

To enroll in the BRC, ERC or Military Sports Riders Course, riders can contact the station safety department at 858-577-1358.


3rd Marine Aircraft Wing