Marines lost more in sports bike accidents than Iraq combat last year


Motorcycle accidents have killed more Marines in the past 12 months than enemy fire in Iraq, a rate that's so alarming, it has prompted top brass to call a meeting to address the issue, officials say.

Twenty-five Marines have died in motorcycle crashes since November -- all but one of them involving sport bikes that can reach speeds of well over 100 mph, according to Marine officials. In that same period, 20 Marines have been killed in action in Iraq.

The 25 deaths are the highest motorcycle death toll ever for the Marine Corps.

Gen. James Amos, the assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, told CNN that commanders are trying to drill down on what "we need to do to help our Marines survive on these sport bikes."

"The Marines are very serious about it," he said. Video Watch these aren't your father's Harleys »

Marine Gunnery Sgt. Art Tucker knows all too well about the dangers of sport bikes. An owner of a Kawasaki Ninja, Tucker has had two crashes, and the second one nearly killed him.

"I sustained a broken collar bone; I tore the shoulder out of the socket; I tore three ligaments in the shoulder, the rotator cuff; I broke three vertebrae," said Tucker, a drill instructor for new officers.

"The worst was a head injury I received: a bruised brain. And it caused hemorrhaging, and from that I had partial paralysis of the left leg, full paralysis of the left foot and toes, and that was for approximately six months."

Amos said he and other top Marine officials will spend half the day Monday "focusing on nothing but motorcycle issues." The commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. James Conway, and other senior leadership will attend the meeting at the Quantico, Virginia, Marine base, he said.

About 18,000 of the nearly 200,000 Marines are believed to own motorcycles, Amos said.

The Marines have taken some measures. The Marine Corps has had a long-standing policy for all Marines who ride motorcycles to take a mandatory basic riding course. More recently, it added a second training course specifically designed to train Marines who ride sport bikes.

Any Marine caught riding, even on leave, without going through the training courses faces Marine Corps punishment, officials say.


Isn't it interesting that the anti war movement has shown no concern about these fatalities.

What that tells me is that these groups look at combat fatalities as political props to advance their agenda. That agenda is to prohibit the use of force by the US period. The anti war movement has never protest enemy activities even when they are deliberately engaged in mass murder of non combatants. They blame our side for that too in their contorted "logic."

The number of Marines with these high performance bikes has grown as an indirect result of our current war effort, because many of these guys are spending their reenlistment bonuses to purchase them.

While it is good to see the Marines attempt to get a handle on the safety issues, they might also consider some courses in investment management for these bonuses. They might consider making these bonuses eligible for a direct contribution to an IRA that would be tax exempt allowing substantial upside potential and improving the already generaous retirement benefits of the military.


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