SAN DIEGO - A group of motorcycle enthusiasts from the guided-missile destroyer USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108) joined together for their first command-sponsored ride in the San Diego area, Oct. 30.
A total of 13 personnel, including the ship's commanding officer and command master chief, participated in the event as part of a command-wide motorcycle safety week designed to highlight the dangers of riding a motorcycle and the safety precautions that can be taken to prevent injury.
According to event organizers, the ride demonstrated that Sailors can enjoy their motorcycles without excessive speeds or developing dangerous riding habits. The event also helped to support the Secretary of the Navy's focus on safety as part of the 21st Century Sailor and Marine initiative.
With veteran motorcyclists offering guidance, the ride also afforded less experienced Sailors with more practice in street riding, highway riding and driving routes with curves.
"At first I was hesitant to take a group of Sailors on a motorcycle ride," said Cmdr. Randy J. Van Rossum, Wayne E. Meyer's commanding officer. "However, the importance of conveying safety while riding was an opportunity I could not let pass."
Van Rossum said that ship personnel have had a few motorcycle accidents during his time as both executive and commanding officer.
"Instead of framing motorcycle riding as negative and dangerous activity, I chose to embrace it and encourage safe participation in our first command motorcycle ride," said Van Rossum.
Sailors who participated said they enjoyed the opportunity to ride as part of a command-sponsored event.
"This gave the crew the opportunity to ride as a group, boosted morale and allowed us another opportunity to review our safety requirements, PPE [personnel protective equipment] and insurance requirements that Navy regulations dictate," said Chief Gas Turbine Systems Technician (Electrical) Reginald Martin.
The 21st Century Sailor and Marine initiative consolidates a set of objectives and policies, new and existing, to maximize Sailor and Marine readiness, safety, physical fitness, inclusion, and continuum of service which builds resiliency and hones the most combat-effective force in the history of the Department of the Navy.
Wayne E. Meyer was named after the late Rear Adm. Wayne E. Meyer, who is regarded as the "Father of Aegis" for his service as the AEGIS Weapons System Manager and later his development of the AEGIS Shipbuilding Project Office.
The crew of Wayne E. Meyer is currently working to complete pre-deployment integrated phase training in preparation for future missions.