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US Secret Service welcomes first woman into elite team of motorcyclists

WASHINGTON — Meet the first woman to join the U.S. Secret Service’s elite team of motorcyclists: Alta Gunawan.

Gunawan, a Secret Service uniformed division officer, got her start when she was 18 years old, riding around on a 1981 Kawasaki KZ440.

“I grew up in a small town of 400 people, so I would take my motorcycle everywhere because I wanted to see everything,” Gunawan said in a news release. “My favorite ride was to Iowa. I would ride up and down the Mississippi river valley every chance I had.”

Now, she’s riding around the world on a S.S.-issued Harley Davidson FLHTP Electra Glide with the Secret Service Motorcycle Support Unit.

In April, Gunawan made history by successfully finishing the rigorous training to join the elite team, a first for women.

“I hope that I’ve inspired others, both women and men, to go after what they want and not to give up until they get it,” Gunawan said.

The Secret Service says completing the two-week course is no easy feat and only about 50% graduate.

Trainees become intimately familiar with the 900-pound bike and learn high-level motorcycle tactics.

“I have so much more knowledge now about my motorcycle than I thought possible,” Gunawan said. “It’s all so necessary to the mission of the motorcade support unit.”

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