How Our Army Trains Its Motorcycle Specialists

This comprehensive and detailed description of the U.S. Army motorcycle training program is so interesting that it is printed in its entirety. The story, pictures and captions were furnished by the Bureau of Public Relations, Washington, D.C., and transmit

By Major Gorton V. Carruth, Photography by Holabird Ordnance Base

He can remedy, either by repair, rebuild, or unit replacement, any ordinary defect that may develop in the machines. And he also understands the care and operation of the motorcycle and knows the kind and quality of lubricant to be used. He knows the fundamental teaching of the handbooks published by the manufacturers.

Throughout the entire program of the Ordnance Automotive School, considerable emphasis is made about preventive maintenance. Preventive maintenance is defined as that system of service which reduces to a minimum the maintenance jobs necessary to keep Ordnance motor vehicles always on the move. It means a system whereby the student motorcyclist is imbued with the importance of caring for his machine every day, always checking and rechecking it.

Just like the match-play golfers, who have built a “precision-swing” into their muscles, the motorcyclist-upon graduation from the Motorcycle School-is one who is fully grounded in the principles of preventive maintenance, and preventive maintenance applies more significantly to motorcycles than it does to other vehicles. That is because motorcycles, by nature, are extremely sensitive to abuse and improper handling.

The fact that there have been in the past so few persons who understood motorcycles proves the point that the School’s objective-to develop a competent motorcycle mechanic-is more than sound, and when you multiply the maintenance problem by the thousands of military motorcycles now rolling, you have a picture of the prodigious task in training.

A man who has been through the Motorcycle School at Holabird has really acquired a concept of the importance of preventive maintenance more than other students of automotive subjects, and he returns to his organization or duty a trained man, a specialist, who can, in pinches, fulfill other automotive positions. His chances for advancement in the Army have been measurably increased by the diploma from the Ordnance Automotive School.

Moreover, the graduate can reflect considerable optimism in the fact that this valuable training has been given to him at no cost to himself but hard work and application of his mental processes, and that he has a wonderful chance to make his knowledge pay dividends in a position when he returns to civil life.

The School features the specialized service equipment demanded for the thorough and efficient maintenance and repair of the military motorcycle. The equipment, instruction and atmosphere of the School have been carefully planned to convey to the student the high standards of craftsmanship.

Training is balanced between shop practice, emergency field repairs, and laboratory work.

Summing this all up in to simple language, it can be said that the Motorcycle School teaches the soldier-student the “Three R’s of Motorcycles.” They are: “Ride, Repair, and Respect”…and “Respect” means respect for machine and driver safety rules.

The finished product of the School must be, first and foremost, a driver-mechanic, with emphasis on the mechanic, and just like the unswerving and flawless stroke of the tournament golfer, his training must be so that his knowledge of military motorcycles can be put to work instinctively.

The three-month course in Motorcycles at Holabird works out to a 462-hour study. Schedules are arranged so that a class graduates every two weeks.

Prerequisite for admission to the School is the qualification of an apprentice mechanic. A soldier-student who has completed the General Automotive Mechanics Course (basic) in the Ordnance Automotive School at Holabird is also eligible for admission.

Five days of each week of 90-calendar day semester are devoted to instruction. Normal school day is made up of two periods. One is from 7:45 A.M. to 11:30 A.M., and the other is from 1:00 P.M. to 4:00P.M.

Classes of 60 students are divided into three classes of 20 students each. Twenty men graduate every two weeks and 20 new students are enrolled. Classes are designated Freshman, Junior, and Senior. As each Freshman class starts, instructors are assigned on the basis of one for every ten students.

By Major Gorton V. Carruth
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