Have a plan, don't drink and drive
By Airman 1st Class Joshua Smoot, 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs
/ Published September 26, 2014
MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. -- Earlier this year I joined the Airman Against Drunk Driving program. Along with Staff Sgt. Marino-Franco, my job is to contact dispatchers and drivers, ensuring they are prepared to pick up Airmen who have been drinking and bring them home safely. To better improve the program, we have sat through meetings with wing leadership, spoke at First Term Airman Courses, and even taken the role of the dispatcher or driver and picked up Airmen in need of a ride home.
For the most part, Airmen have been responsible and found a safe way home from a night out drinking. But even with the AADD program and other avenues of getting home safe and sound, there are still a few cases where Airmen have been pulled over for driving under the influence.
Although the AADD program keeps drivers and dispatchers on standby 24/7, the intent of the program isn't to replace personal responsibility. It is unrealistic to think that the program alone will eradicate DUIs.
The purpose of AADD is to be used as a last resort, when every element in your plan to get home safe has already failed. It is not an excuse to be negligent, or a free taxi service provided by the Air Force. However, sometimes plans fall through and things happen that are out of everyone's control. That's when it is time to call AADD.
Some Malmstrom Airmen are not utilizing the program correctly though. They are making AADD their only option of getting home without driving intoxicated or are trying to use it as a taxi service. Keep in mind, our drivers only pick people up then take them home. We do not take people from one bar to another.
Although AADD is a safe option to get home, we advise Airmen and other MAFB personnel to create a plan before going out for a night of drinking. Also, educating our Airmen about drinking responsibly should be a topic in all shops on base.
Responsible drinking is a must. Having a designated driver, having money for a taxi, managing drinking and avoiding potentially dangerous situations should be part of everyone's plan. Don't put yourself in a situation where you are forced to decide who the most sober person is and take the chance of being pulled over for a DUI, or even getting into an accident and possibly ending someone's life.
Some things to keep in mind while drinking include eating food while you drink. Eating helps slow the absorption of alcohol in your body. Know your limit; if you do not already know how much alcohol you can handle, try it out at home. Also, skip an alcoholic beverage once in a while during a night of drinking; drinking a glass of water between alcoholic beverages can help to maintain your blood alcohol absorption.
Make sure you drink responsibly and have a plan. Going out for a drink doesn't need to end up with you in the back of a police car.
To contact AADD, call 406-788-HOME(4663).