Motorcycle Mentorship: 509th Munitions Squadron Airmen revitalize motorcycle safety program, offer rider safety event

Airmen with the 509th Munitions Squadron and the 131st Maintenance Squadron Munitions Flight stand with their bikes for a group photo after attending a motorcycle safety class before they went on a group ride on Aug. 28, 2019, at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Parker J. McCauley)

Airmen with the 509th Munitions Squadron and the 131st Maintenance Squadron Munitions Flight stand with their bikes for a group photo after attending a motorcycle safety class before they went on a group ride on Aug. 28, 2019, at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Parker J. McCauley)

Staff Sergeant Paul Kurtenbach, a motorcycle safety representative with the 509th Munitions Squadron, shows safety features of a full-face motorcycle helmet to a class on August 28, 2019, at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri. Kurtenbach and the other Motorcycle Safety Representatives also put an emphasis on double checking the chin strap’s tightness prior to riding. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Parker J. McCauley)

Staff Sgt. Paul Kurtenbach, a motorcycle safety representative with the 509th Munitions Squadron, shows safety features of a full-face motorcycle helmet to a class on Aug. 28, 2019, at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri. Kurtenbach and the other MSRs also put an emphasis on double checking the chin strap’s tightness prior to riding. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Parker J. McCauley)

Staff Sergeants Trevor Griffin, Paul Kurtenbach, and Senior Airman Carlos Rivera, the 509th Munitions Squadron motorcycle safety representatives, stand for a group photo with their motorcycles on August 28, 2019, at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri. Safety representatives oversee the motorcycle safety programs within their units, identifying mentors, and promoting good and safe habits. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Parker J. McCauley)

Staff Sgts. Trevor Griffin, Paul Kurtenbach, and Senior Airman Carlos Rivera, the 509th Munitions Squadron motorcycle safety representatives, stand for a group photo with their motorcycles on Aug. 28, 2019, at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri. Safety representatives oversee the motorcycle safety programs within their units, identifying mentors, and promoting good and safe habits. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Parker J. McCauley)

Motorcycle helmets and gloves are presented as examples of mandatory safety gear during a motorcycle safety class on August 28, 2019, at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri. The 509th Munitions Squadron motorcycle safety representatives recommend full-face helmets providing the most protection because face and jaw injuries occur the most during accidents. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Parker J. McCauley)

Motorcycle helmets and gloves are presented as examples of mandatory safety gear during a motorcycle safety class on Aug. 28, 2019, at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri. The 509th Munitions Squadron motorcycle safety representatives recommend full-face helmets providing the most protection because face and jaw injuries occur the most during accidents. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Parker J. McCauley)

Senior Airman Carlos Rivera, a motorcycle safety representative with the 509th Munitions Squadron holds up a helmet with safety certifications stickers Aug. 28, 2019, at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri. The Department of Transportation safety standards provide the minimum safety requirements for a helmet, while other certifications, in addition to the Department of Transportation, can signify a safer helmet. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Parker J. McCauley)

Senior Airman Carlos Rivera, a motorcycle safety representative with the 509th Munitions Squadron holds up a helmet with safety certifications stickers Aug. 28, 2019, at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri. The Department of Transportation safety standards provide the minimum safety requirements for a helmet, while other certifications, in addition to the DOT, can signify a safer helmet. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Parker J. McCauley)

Major Allison Barkalow, the 509th Munitions Squadron commander, speaks to a motorcycle safety class on August 28, 2019, at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri. Barkalow stressed the importance of personal protective equipment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Parker J. McCauley)

Maj. Allison Barkalow, the 509th Munitions Squadron commander, speaks to a motorcycle safety class on Aug. 28, 2019, at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri. Barkalow stressed the importance of personal protective equipment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Parker J. McCauley)

Airmen with the 509th Munitions Squadron participate in a motorcycle safety ride on August 28, 2019, at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri. The Airmen formed up into a staggered formation, providing a safe distance between each rider after talking about how to safely ride as a group. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Parker J. McCauley)

Airmen with the 509th Munitions Squadron participate in a motorcycle safety ride on Aug. 28, 2019, at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri. The Airmen formed up into a staggered formation, providing a safe distance between each rider after talking about how to safely ride as a group. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Parker J. McCauley)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- The long Midwest summer in Missouri offers plenty of outdoor recreation – and for some Airmen at Whiteman Air Force Base sunny days also mark the motorcycle season.

To keep uniformed riders safe wherever their two wheels take them, motorcycle safety representatives throughout the Wing serve as a crucial safety program liaisons and mentors.

MSRs with the 509th Munitions Squadron hosted a skill refresher class and 23-mile mentorship ride for their wingmen on August 28.

Staff Sgts. Paul Kurtenbach, Trevor Griffin and Senior Airman Carlos Rivera, the 509th MUNS MSRs, instructed the class and guided the discussion as part of a new unit-level program for motorcycle safety -- bringing riders together to learn from each other and practice safe riding habits.

“In terms of the class and ride the turnout exceeded what we expected,” Rivera said.

Rivera and his team launched their mentorship program to increase safety awareness and accident prevention for their wingmen and began work with the 509th Bomb Wing Safety Office leadership to renew the program.

Maj. Allison Barkalow, the 509th MUNS commander, joined the class to highlight the command perspective on safety and importance of personal protective equipment.

Airmen then discussed a variety of additional topics including motorcycle maintenance, trends, accident types, riding in a group or formation, and the T-CLOCS (tires and wheels, controls, lights and electric, oil and other fluids, chassis, stands) inspection checklist. After the classroom portion, the team turned theory into practice and took off on a 23-mile safety ride.

“Incorporating an actual ride after the discussion allowed Airmen to think about what they learned through the class and further improves their overall sense of safety, rider ability and the esprit de corps,” Rivera said. “We’re all helping to promote each others’ riding ability and that sense of morale between each other -- enabling different levels of connection among Airmen ranging from senior airmen to NCOs.”

Staff Sgt. Brenton Swift, a 509th MUNS alternate mission equipment supervisor and the president of the Green Knights Motorcycle Club Whiteman AFB Chapter, participated as a rider mentor.

“(The team) added much more subject material into the class such as maintenance, stunt riding and safety specifics, which I really enjoyed,” Swift said.

Swift, who started riding during his time at Whiteman AFB, highlighted the importance of motorcycle safety programs that bring riders together and set the groundwork for safe riding practices and accident prevention.

“I’m a real advocate for motorcycle safety,” Swift said. “It’s important to keep our team members safe and ensure mission accomplishment by reducing accidents, injuries and fatalities. I believe our safety reps accomplish that mission because they brief us often and are very committed to the objective.”

The MSR plan to run refresher classes twice a year at the beginning and end of the riding season. For more information, contact your unit’s safety representative.