MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. --
The reverberation of a motorcycle’s revving engine is an unmistakable sound – one of power, fortitude and freedom, which many Marines are drawn to.
The booming noise of bikes was heard throughout the air station June 24, as more than 200 motorcyclists, which of most were Marines, on cruisers and street bikes, motored through eastern Carolina’s muggy, smoke-filled air to Cherry Point’s Miller’s Landing for the inaugural Marine Corps Community Services Biker Bash.
The Marines’ bikes lined up from one end of Miller’s Landing to the other. The purpose of the gathering was to give the Marines a reason to ride out to an event they could enjoy together on what turned out to be a beautiful afternoon, explained Terry Clark, MCCS chief operating officer. Marines have shown to be inherently drawn to motorcycling, and Clark estimated that there are at least 800-1,000 motorcyclists at Cherry Point alone.
“It’s freedom,” said Gunnery Sgt. Brendan K. Malyk, as George Thorogood’s “Bad to the Bone” blared in the background. “Being Marines, freedom is first and foremost on all of our minds,” added Malyk, who is a radio maintenance chief with Marine Wing Communications Squadron 28 and president of the squadron’s motorcycle club.
Malyk’s passion for motorcycling and serving as a Marine mesh as one on his Cadillac Pearl-colored, shovelhead style-framed, custom built motorcycle that shimmers with Marine Corps inspired artwork on its tank and fenders, of which the rear reads “All gave some, some gave all.”
“It’s gone through several transformations,” said Malyk, who drew up most of the bike’s artwork while serving at sea on a Marine Expeditionary Unit. “I got kind of bored out there at times, so I spent a lot of time drawing.”
Malyk was introduced to motorcycles at a young age and has been building and modifying them ever since. Malyks passion extends to his fellow Marines, and he feels it’s important for him to offer his years of experience to junior Marine motorcyclists.
“That is what events like the Biker Bash are all about,” said Malyk. “Bikers can collaborate about what’s going on, on the roads, and what new gear is on the market.”
Twenty-six local motorcycle shops took part to better connect with the local riders and Clark said it’s great when the local community shows their support.
“Safety is key on a motorcycle and making as accessible to the Marines as we can is important,” Clark said.
Most of the groups of riders attended the bash with members of their squadron motorcycle club, going on their required monthly ride as part of the Marine Corps motorcycle mentorship program.
“The rides with the motorcycle clubs boost morale,” said Sgt. James E. Bowling, crew chief instructor with Marine Heavy Helicopter Training Squadron 302 at Marine Corps Air Station New River. “It’s something for everybody to do as a group.”
The Marine Corps’ has been doing its best to adapt to this lifestyle that influences so many Marines.
“We’re getting the Marines the best training they can get, and the numbers on the road are showing it,” said Malyk.
Clark said MCCS hopes for the Biker Bash to become an annual event and considers it likely with the number of Marines that attended.