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MALS-13 kicks up dust for safety, fun

By Pfc. Mauro Sanchez | | March 28, 2006

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The Marines of Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 13’s Black Widow Motorcycle and All-Terrain Vehicle club participated in a motorcycle and ATV safety ride March 28 at Senator’s Wash, 25 miles north of Yuma, to promote motorcycle and off-road activity safety and awareness.

The event consisted of a street motorcycle group, headed by Chief Warrant Officer 2 Stephen Byrnes, and an ATV off-road group, headed by Gunnery Sgt. Robert Mitchell.

Byrnes, the quality assurance officer for MALS-13, took a group of 12 Marines on a 130-mile course from station to Calexico, Calif., and back. The Marines from the street bike group stopped at Calexico to rest and refuel before returning to the station.

Mitchell, a quality assurance representative with MALS-13, took the 12 Marines of the off-road group to Senator’s Wash, a recreational area approximately 25 miles north of the air station near U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground.

The Marines with the off-road group challenged the trails of Senator’s Wash for nearly four hours, stopping only once to refuel. Neither group suffered injuries or reported vehicle damage, said Lt. Col. Joseph Knapp, MALS-13 commanding officer.
It is important to practice safety with theses vehicles at all times because accidents can occur anytime, added Knapp.

“I love it. I love to come out and hang out with other Marines from the squadron,” said Staff Sgt. Ben Bridges, MALS-13 support equipment mechanic. “It gives (the
MALS-13 Marines) a chance to see the more experienced riders and those of different skill levels. I also bring my kids out here to ride because it is a great time.”

Even the off-road safety driver, Staff Sgt Albert Aguilar, MALS-13 quality assurance representative, was able to drive the trails using his Jeep.

“I don’t have (an ATV), but I do have my Jeep and I have been going off-road with it for years,” said Aguilar.

Aguilar said he was chosen as the safety vehicle driver because of his vehicle’s off-road capabilities and his knowledge of the Senator’s Wash trails.

The MALS-13 Black Widow Motorcycle and ATV club has meetings once a week and attempts to conduct the safety rides about once a month, added Knapp. The club was
started in December and since then, no Marines have been injured in motorcycle and ATV accidents

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