Planning essential to ensure responsible drinking, wingmanship
By Senior Airman Shane Dunaway, First Four President
/ Published November 06, 2009
ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- When planning a night out on the town to experience Guam's or any other installation's nightlife, Airmen must consider all options available to ensure themselves and their fellow wingmen make it home safe.
Airmen who make the decision to drink must plan accordingly to prevent alcohol related incidents or DUIs. These incidents can significantly impact an Airmen's career, finances and quality of life, but these incidents are also preventable by five easy-to-remember options.
Option one is for Airmen to have a designated driver. That being said, Airmen should take care of their designated driver because the wingman concept is reciprocal. Buying them non-alcoholic beverages throughout the night or buying gas for the driver if using the driver's vehicle is a small price to pay for your safety.
If option one falls through or if the group or individual does not have a designated driver, Airmen should call a cab or the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines shuttle or SSAM shuttle. Both options require money, but not nearly as much as it would cost if the Airmen were to be arrested for a DUI. To reach a SSAM shuttle driver, call 689-7726.
The third option available may seem pricey, but if split between Airmen, the cost isn't a difficult one to incur. Most Airmen who go out on the town tend to favor the Tumon strip, an area of Guam lined with hotels. Splitting the cost of a hotel room allows Airmen time to 'sleep it off' instead of getting behind the wheel and jeopardizing the lives of themselves and others.
If options one through three are not available, Airmen should call their wingmen on volunteer duty, Airmen Against Drunk Driving at 366-7433. The volunteers at AADD aren't there because someone forced them - they're there to save your lives and careers. According to statistics provided by Tech. Sgt. Jason Herman, AADD program manager for the 36th Wing, AADD provided more than 462 rides during the 2009 fiscal year. The program's duty hours have also been recently adjusted in order to meet the Airmen's needs.
If an Airman doesn't feel comfortable calling AADD or feels like they're ready to hit the panic button, option five must be implemented. It's a very simple option. Use your cell phone or a pay phone if you don't have a cell phone, to call a friend, call a supervisor or even call the general. I've heard our very own wing commander say on multiple occasions that if you call him, he'll pay for your cab ride home. What's the worst that'll happen in those scenarios? You owe a friend a favor? Your supervisor might give you a lecture? So what? They would not do it if they didn't truly care about your well-being. I'm sure they'd rather take the time to come pick you up from a bar than from a jail cell or the hospital.
I'm not saying these are the only options, but operating a moving piece of cold steel is not your option if you're intoxicated. Ask yourself if your pride is worth your career or worth the lives of others or yourself when you get behind the wheel after a few too many?