LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. --
The motorcycle rider community has changed a bit from the days of the film Easy Rider. You may choose to ride motorcycles because it makes commuting easier and fun, more affordable, therapeutic, or simply because it makes you cool. Whatever the reason, there are safety precautions one must take to be in compliance while on the road, especially if you are in the military.
The 944th Fighter Wing Safety office at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, has had a motorcycle safety program in place for quite some time now and has recently added two Reserve Citizen Airmen as motorcycle safety instructors. Master Sgt. Andrew Hale and Staff Sgt. Bradley Pugmire, members of the 944th Maintenance Group, are currently certified to instruct as the Wings’ Motorcycle Safety Representatives.
“The motorcycle safety training certification is a vital and an integral part of the motorcycle safety compliance policy,” said Hale. “Between myself and SSgt Pugmire we have capabilities now to train and certify you giving you your certification to receive your motorcycle license.”
The upgrade gives Reserve Citizen Airmen and their families the opportunity to obtain their required motorcycle safety training certifications free of cost during unit training assemblies on a set class date.
“Members have to be on military status to get this training,” said Master Sgt. Richard Teets, 944th FW Safety manager. “What this allows us to do is now use our UTA weekends to get our people up to date.”
Before, 944th Airmen would have to find time during the week to come in on orders to get this training from the active-duty program to be in compliance. Finding funds for this could sometimes be a challenge.
All wing motorcycle riders are tracked on the Motorcycle Unit Safety Tracking Tool and must be entered into the system. This allows Teets to track and notify Airmen and commanders of re-certification requirements.
“It’s an AFI [Air Force Instruction] required mandate to have your certifications up to date,” said Teets. “It doesn’t matter if you ride it on or off base, you must have the training if you have a motorcycle in the military, period.”
Teets oversees the motorcycle safety program for the entire 944th FW including their geographically separated units, the 924th Fighter Group at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona and the 414th Fighter Group at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. There are over 70 motorcycle riders currently in the system.
“What the members need to know is that they are required to let us know they are a motorcycle rider,” said Teets. “They need to have all the training and keep up with it.”
On Nov. 8 Teets, Hale, and Pugmire conducted a mentorship ride for 13 Reserve Citizen Airmen for recertification and to celebrate their new capabilities.
Military members have priority for class spots and must be in duty status. Family members may attend when space is available. For more information please contact your unit safety representative or the 944th FW Safety office at 856-5361.