Saturday, November 20, 2010

Motorcycle Safety Promoted by Reagan Riders

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SCW) Jeffrey R. Militzer, USS Ronald Reagan Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- USS Ronald Reagan's (CVN 76) Reagan Riders Association took to the streets and highways of San Diego County to participate in a winter safety ride just days after returning from a month-long underway period.

The Reagan Riders is a motorcyclist club sponsored by the ship, whose purpose is to train riders of all skill levels to be safer on the road.

The group meets twice monthly to review motorcycle safety issues, such as weather advisories and bike recalls that could affect their shipmates. At least once a month, the Riders go on a group outing.

The Reagan Riders began their trip early in the morning after training on safety topics such as drinking and riding, fatigue and inclement weather. After training, the 12 riders cruised a variety of roads to put their training into practice.

"The Navy has deemed that we are losing too many Sailors to inexperience," said Aircrew Survival Equipmentman 1st Class (AW/SW) Joseph Erskine, president of the Reagan Riders. "We take our Sailors out (on rides) and give them first-hand experience from guys who know the area well."

The Riders' ethos is simple: more training equals more Sailors arriving home safely.

"We are here to train Sailors and make them smarter motorcyclists," said Erskine. "There's no better way to do this than hitting the road together."

The Reagan Riders felt a group ride would improve riders' knowledge of safety throughout the upcoming holiday season.

"It typically doesn't rain much in Southern California, but that's not always the case. So we took a day to go over safe winter-riding habits," said Erskine, a rider with more than 20 years of riding experience.

The Reagan Riders have full command support for their training sessions for good reason. According to the Naval Safety Center, the Navy experienced 14 deaths in fiscal year 2009 from motorcycle-related accidents and the U.S. Marine Corps experienced 22.

"The Navy realizes how serious this issue is and is fully committed to reducing the number of Sailor motorcycle fatalities," said Operations Specialist 1st Class Abraham Nantin, the Reagan Riders' vice president. "Our club can go a long way to that end."

The roads and highways of Southern California can be particularly intimidating for riders of all experience levels.

"It's our goal to get our fellow Sailors accustomed to riding safely in Southern California," said Nantin. "If making it a friendly, group environment will improve their awareness, then that's what we'll do."

While safety is the chief concern for the Riders, having an enjoyable time is also high on the list.

"We of course are out here preaching safety, but we definitely make it fun," said Nantin. "The fact is we all share this passion, so why not enjoy it together? People learn better when they're having a good time and we're going to make the most of it."

Coast Guard chefs compete for Culinary World Cup

Written by: LT Connie Braesch

Coast Guard chefs are steaming up the culinary world stage, winning awards and kneeding out the competition.

Two of our top-notch Food Service Specialists earned a position on the prestigious U.S. Army Culinary Arts Team (USACAT) and are mixing it up as they compete in the Culinary World Cup in Luxembourg City, Luxembourg. Held every four years, the Culinary World Cup pitts the skills of nine other military teams from across the globe against each other.

“You’re competing on the world stage. You’re up against the best of the best in the culinary world,” said FS1 Ed Fuchs, an apprentice on USACAT and a previous Compass Guardian of the Week. “It’s a great chance to go up against people who are on the same level as you in a battle royal for world champion.”

Echoing his enthusiasm for being a part of this joint service team, FSCS Justin Reed, a primary member of the USACAT, appreciates the joint training and professional development he and the other team members will get during their time in Luxembourg.

“Being on USACAT is a great privilege, so is getting the opportunity to participate in the largest, most prestigious culinary competition in the world when it comes to military chefs,” said Reed. “It’s like the World Cup of Soccer but for chefs.”

Reed and Fuchs are two key non-Army chefs on the 18 member USACAT. The team is comprised of an Army team manager, six primary members, and 11 others as apprentices. This is not the first time Reed has been a part of this joint service team. In 2008, he was the captain when the team competed in the Culinary Olympics.

Over the course of the competition, the team will prepare a challenging cold food presentation and cook a three-course meal for 100 people using a military field kitchen – not an easy task.

“I know how the field kitchens work and I knew I could bring the experience and leadership I learned from competing in the Culinary Olympics,” said Reed.

The team is geared up for the competition after spending 12 hours a day for 33 straight days preparing and practicing their menu. The kitchens heat up today and the pressure cooker intensifies until the winners are announced Thursday.

According to Reed, Sweden, which edged the U.S. by seven tenths of a point to take the gold during the 2008 Culinary Olympics, is their biggest competition. USACAT is planning to give them a run for their money in the race for the Cup.

You can follow the team on their Facebook page or follow MSG Camacho, team captain, and SSG Parker, a Reservist, on their blogs.

Good luck USACAT! Bring home the Gooooooooooooooold!