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Recruit Training Command Motorcycle Mentorship Program promotes safe, fun riding

25 August 2022

From Alan Nunn

GREAT LAKES, Ill. - Recruit Training Command (RTC) Motorcycle Mentorship Program hosted 50 riders during a three-day event intended to help participants improve skills, abilities and awareness.

Five three-hour classes, held August 22-24 at Naval Station Great Lakes, were led by American Motorcycle Training instructors Fred McMullen, DeAnna Ward, and Tony Castellano.

“RTC has over 100 motorcycle riders, and with such a large demographic, the command wanted to find ways to improve on our Motorcycle Mentorship Program,” RTC High-Risk Training Safety Administrator Cody Vanderlois said. “The classes provide extended training beyond the current requirements and mentorship involvement of our riders. Additionally, riders were able to meet other riders who could later provide additional insight, experience and support.”

Using their own motorcycles, riders began with a pre-ride safety inspection.

The hands-on training exercises included following distances with safety margins, situational awareness approaching intersections/interacting with other traffic, crash avoidance maneuvers (braking/swerving), and rider character. Each exercise concluded with a topic debrief and discussion.

Chief Mineman Joshua Royer, an RTC Recruit Division Commander with 14 years of motorcycle riding experience, said riders always benefit from safety courses.

“They give you a strong refresher or first-time experience with rare occurrences that we experience on the road, as well as focusing on the fundamentals of riding,” he said. “Ultimately, it helps keep riders sharp and safe. This is my fourth course I’ve taken in the military and I find them all equally beneficial.”

Royer encouraged other riders to participate in the Motorcycle Mentorship Program.

“It is an excellent course; and for riders hesitant to participate, they could easily see it as a command approved event where they could take part of their day to get away from work and get on their motorcycles,” he said.

RTC, in conjunction with Naval Station Great Lakes, has also acquired a motorcycle smart trainer.

This digital platform uses visualization and has all the controls of a standard motorcycle but removes the risk of actual riding. The smart trainer provides scenarios that could be reasonably encountered while operating a motorcycle.

Examples include vehicles exiting blind spots in front of the rider, lane change or passing of cross traffic. The smart trainer also allows for different areas of riding - such as downtown, highway and side roads - to further the experience. The smart trainer is available for all to use, regardless of rider status or experience.

"The Motorcycle Mentorship Program goal is to bring together both new and experienced riders and promote responsible fun, education and safety to the dozens of riders in our command," RTC Command Safety Officer Vic Hernandez said. "It's nice to see our motorcyclist focus and commitment to safety. Any day is a good day when our Sailors can concentrate on the overall safety of riding their motorcycles.”

Boot camp is approximately 10 weeks and all enlistees into the U.S. Navy begin their careers at the command. Training includes physical fitness, seamanship, firearms, firefighting and shipboard damage control along with lessons in Navy heritage and core values, teamwork and discipline. More than 40,000 recruits train annually at the Navy’s only boot camp.

For more news from Recruit Training Command, visit







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