News: Safety first: Driving and alcohol don’t mix
Story by Master Sgt. Kevin Wallace
RAF MILDENHALL, England – School is out and children are abuzz. A slow drive through Liberty Village or any other housing are reveals kids kicking soccer balls, throwing baseballs, "decorating" the sidewalks with chalk and skateboarding.
Back stateside and sometimes here in England, the summer is a time for airmen to soak up the hot weather, hit the beaches or just cruise around in their cars bumping the latest hits and scoping out the night life.
So often these two scenarios don’t mix well.
When high speeds or alcohol are involved – they’d better never mix!
If they did, a family could be shattered by the loss of a precious child, and stripes or bars could literally flush down the storm drains with the blood and lifetime of bad memories left behind.
“Safety concerns are a top priority in the Air Force,” said Master Sgt. Michael Garcia, 100th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron first sergeant. “We take steps to promote safety in all our daily operations. Commanders and first sergeants have no tolerance for driving under the influence of alcohol. There are so many alternatives and it’s just stupid. Don’t do it!”
Fortunately today’s Air Force is made up of some of the best and most highly-trained people in the world, but issues like drunk driving still must be addressed.
All it takes is one individual making a thoughtless decision and lives and careers can be shattered.
The key is making a plan before drinking, said Staff Sgt. Jason Thigpen, 100th Air Refueling Wing Safety Office. If for some reason that plan fails, call a supervisor or Airmen Against Drunk Driving.
“A problem we commonly hear as first sergeants is that Airmen are afraid to call their supervisor or first sergeant to ask for a ride,” said Garcia. “I guarantee you that I, or any first sergeant I know, would much rather come pick you up drunk from a bar or party, then come down to pick you up at the law enforcement desk, an off-base constable, or have to go identify a dead body because you made the wrong choice and drove drunk.”
In the past year, AADD has saved more than 1,000 lives through selfless volunteers who sacrifice their weekends to help their fellow Airmen.
AADD is available to all military members stationed at RAFs Mildenhall, Lakenheath and Feltwell as well as Department of Defense and Ministry of Defence civilians, along with dependents. They have an area of responsibility that covers a 10 to 15-mile radius from RAF Mildenhall.
Getting the ride is easy. One simply needs to call 08003280178, provide a location for pickup and location for drop off. The drop-off point must be a residence, and it has to be established before the drivers leave.
Editor’s note: This story is part one of the "SAFETY FIRST" summer safety series.