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

Officer in charge of the Motorcycle School is 1st Lt. K.T. Robins. 2nd Lt. D.B. McFadden is property officer. The staff is made up of Technical Sergeant L.L. Phillips, Bennett Springs, Mo., whose seven years of practical motorcycle experience enables him to conduct his various responsibilities as shop foreman; Staff Sergeant F.J. Tokarsky, Johnstown, Pa., assistant foreman; Staff Sergeant R.W. Lindenmoyer, Northhampton, Pa., riding instructor; Corporal Edward Palmer, assistant riding instructor; and Private Wilber Timlin, test rider. The staff of civilian instructors is made up of: Charles E. Valentine, Baltimore, Md., Head Instructor. Paul R. Hardy, Syracuse, N.Y.; Allen F. Smith, Fairmount, W. Va., Instructors for the Indian Motorcycle. Walton W. Westerfield, Baltimore, Md.; Benjamin F. Westerfield, Baltimore, Md.; Bert Q. Tilley, Raleigh, N.C., Instructors for the Harley-Davidson Motorcycle. John G. Gross, Baltimore, Md.; John O. Rahn, Columbia, Pa., Instructors in 4th and 5th Echelons of maintenance for both motorcycles. Marion E. “Pop” Walker, Holly Hill, Fla., Special tools instructor. John S. Bleichner, Baltimore, Md.; Eugene Walker, Holly Hill, Fla., Tool room.

Upon reaching Holabird, the future motorcyclist is registered at the Headquarters of the Ordnance Automotive School and is assigned to one of the student provisional companies of the 1st Provisional Ordnance Battalion, Ordnance Automotive School.

At 7:30 A.M. on his first day in school he reports at the Motorcycle School and draws his tools and is assigned a locker. He meets some of the civilian instructors who are to be his tutors for the next three months. The first day is used up, then, in getting settled, acquainted, and oriented.

The student is now a “Freshman.” He gets down to business the second day, beginning the course that will acquaint him with the Indian motorcycle engine. During the next 30 days he will devote all his attention to the Indian. He will have a written examination each week on the work covered and he will have one final examination at the end of the Indian course. His homework will amount to taking home a set of questions and returning the next day with the answers to be turned in to the instructor. Students who get behind are given special instruction to enable them to catch up with the class.

By the time the first 30 days are up, the student knows a few facts about a motorcycle, but only one kind of motorcycle. The Army uses two makes of vehicles, Indians and Harley-Davidsons. He is now ready to advance to the next 30-day class in which he will learn the fundamentals of the Harley-Davidson machine. The student gets the same course of instruction in this class as he did in the Indian class, the only difference being he is dealing with a different motorcycle.

The final 30 days, or Senior class, finds the student in the motorcycle shop, doing actual work on the production line. He is maintaining and repairing motorcycles, because the Motorcycle School-in connection with its training program-operates facilities for 4th and 5th echelon repair. The student does his work on the production line under the personal supervision of Instructors Gross and Rahn. He works on both kinds of motorcycles, machines that come into the shop directly from the field for repair. Such machines are termed “live material” and they require everything from a “top overhaul” to a rewiring job or carbon cleaning and valve grinding. Complete overhauls a e necessary in many cases when the machine has had about 10,000 or 12,000 miles of “punishment.” Each operation of the student is inspected and carefully checked by the instructors in chargeof the production line, and each student is then graded on his respective merits of the type and kind of a job he has put out or produced. His handling of tools, both issued and special, is checked.

By Major Gorton V. Carruth
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