AADD: Use, don’t abuse program that saves lives

  • Published
  • By Col. Sandy Finan
  • 341st Space Wing commander
Every Airman assigned to Malmstrom Air Force Base works hard to do their part in our mission to provide the United States with its strategic deterrent. We are in a very serious business with far-reaching consequences ... and we are the very best at what we do. (Just look at the over 40 Air Force Space Command-level and higher awards we have won this year as well as the Blanchard Trophy to prove it.) Equally serious and important are the choices that each and every Airman makes off-duty ... especially choices that endanger others and can cost someone their career. 

Drinking and driving is a nation-wide issue. The consequences of drinking and driving are far-reaching. Airmen Against Drunk Driving is a great program that saves lives. Malmstrom's AADD has a history of success and has been called upon 427 times in 2007 alone. It's a program open for use to all Malmstrom Airmen, but it is never a primary course of action. 

The primary course of action in any situation is to have a plan. Planning to call AADD before you go out for the evening is not an acceptable plan. Before you go out on the town figure out how you're getting from 'point a' to 'point b'. If you can't figure that out, the decision is simple ... stay in for the night. If you are able to make a plan, be sure that your plan has all of the elements in place to get you to your destination safe, to enjoy the night responsibly and to get home without incident. 

Sometimes plans can fall through. This is an exception, not the norm, or your plan is not up to par in the first place. So what do you do if something unexpected happens and your plan falls apart? The answer, and your first course of action, is to call your supervisor. 

Your supervisor is your direct line of support whenever you need help. That's the great thing about being part of the Air Force family. That supervisor will be there for you on-duty when you need help with mission tasks and the same goes for your off-duty time, including that night out when your plan to get home safe has turned into a bad situation. Your supervisor is your 'wingman' and is there to help you. They are your first line of defense and the first person you should call when your plan to get home safe has hit a snag. 

Once you've made an attempt to contact your supervisor without successful resolution, the next course of action is to call a taxi. 

I've checked ... and there are cab companies in Great Falls that operate during the late hours of the night. If you're going out, make part of your plan to have the local cab company's phone number in your pocket or your phone, just in case. Malmstrom's First Sergeants have an arrangement with Diamond Cab to make sure every Airman has a ride home; if you don't have enough money to pay for the ride, Diamond Cab sends the bill to the First Sergeants, who pay it and ask you to recoup the cost later. This arrangement guarantees a safe ride home if your plan fails and you can't reach your supervisor. 

Your last option after executing a well thought out plan, trying to get in touch with your supervisor and calling the local cab company is to call the AADD volunteer. 

AADD is a great program, that when used correctly is a great tool for the base to ensure the safety of our Airmen. You can reach the AADD volunteers by calling 788-HOME (4663) from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. seven-days-a-week. The volunteers will ask for your location and then pick you up and drop you off at home, no questions asked. But don't be mistaken ... this is your last line of defense after having a good plan, calling your supervisor and calling a taxi service. 

We live in a culture that requires us to make smart decisions on-duty and off. Having a well thought out plan is always the best preventative step to putting yourself in a bad situation. If that plan falls through, your supervisor is your first phone call. They will offer up that 'wingman' help that comes with being part of the Air Force family. If you can't reach your supervisor, the second step is to call a taxi. Even if you don't have the phone number with you, dialing 411 for information will be able to get it to you. Your final line of defense is to call Malmstrom's AADD. The program can save lives but needs to be respected and not exploited.