Chiefs Charged to Lead the Way in Motorcycle Safety

Story Number: NNS090317-03Release Date: 3/17/2009 5:14:00 PM
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By Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist (SW/AW) Bill Houlihan, MCPON Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The master chief petty officer of the Navy (MCPON) outlined his expectations regarding motorcycle safety and training in a P4", or "personal for", Navy Administrative Message to the Navy's Chief Petty Officer Mess March 16.

The message, NAVADMIN 079/09 -- intended for all command master chiefs, chiefs of the boat, command senior chiefs and senior enlisted leaders -- lays out Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) (SS/SW) Rick West's concerns and expectations of senior enlisted leadership.

"Our highways are a battle zone that unnecessarily accounted for thirty-three motorcycle casualties last year, while many others suffered life-long injuries. I'm calling on the CPO mess and the first class petty officers to engage the deckplate and ensure our Sailors get the proper required training," West wrote in his message.

"Having been a motorcycle rider, I'm concerned for all riders, but we need to focus immediately on those who are in the highest risk group," said West.

MCPON stated in his message that the groups he's most concerned with are sport bike riders, Sailors E-5 and below and those with little to no experience as many mishaps occur soon after the purchase of the motorcycle.

"Most of the casualties," said West, "have been on sport bikes operated by untrained riders."

West said that he hopes his use of a P4 will emphasize the importance of sport bike safety, especially with the summer months approaching.

"I'm going to use every means at my disposal to get this word out. We have young men and women dying on our freeways and less than half of the Sailors who should have attended the mandatory training have showed up.

"Our concern as senior enlisted leaders should be to give our Sailors the training and tools that could help them survive on the highways."

P4's have traditionally been reserved for the flag community, a method of communication admirals have used for decades to get word quickly and privately to other senior and commanding officers.

West said it's not an approach he intends to use frequently, but he felt the gravity of this particular subject warranted it.

"We have more than 7,500 Sailors who still haven't attended the Sport Bike rider course. We've got to do better than that. It's a matter of life and death."

The unprecedented P4 specifically directs chief petty officers to "personally involve yourself in obtaining a [class] quota and ensuring your Sailors attend."

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Sailors from the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard's (LHD 6) Motorcycle Safety Riding Club participate in a command-supported safety ride.
Official U.S. Navy file photo.
February 5, 2009
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