Personal responsibility campaign starts with you

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Brian Bahret
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
The day after Brig. Gen. Douglas Owens gave his address praising the Airmen here for achieving 39 days with out an alcohol-related incident, an Airman reset the clock. Since then, three more people from Andersen have reset the countdown by letting alcohol influence their behavior.
The circumstances surrounding each incident isn't important. The fact that alcohol was involved is what makes the difference. Airmen put themselves in precarious positions after using alcohol.
When he first arrived here, General Owens, the 36th Wing commander, instituted the "I Can Save My Own Life" campaign in order to encourage people to take personal responsibility for their behavior both on and off duty.
Every Airmen stationed on or deployed to Andersen receives a card with Team Andersen's Words to Live By: "I Can Save My Own Life."
The card explains what it means: "I am responsible for my own safety both on and off duty, on and off the base."
It also explains why it's important: "Because I am important, my family and friends love me, my unit needs me and my nation is depending on me."
The card also contains key phone numbers - for the first sergeant, supervisor, commander, Airmen Against Drunk Driving and the command post, to encourage people to call for help before they get into trouble.
And still people are making poor decisions.
My question is what does it take to change someone's behavior?
It starts with me and it starts with you. Individually, we need to take personal responsibility for our individual actions before turning to someone else.
I've heard arguments against the campaign.
"What about the Wingman concept," asked one Airman in rebuke. "So now we're not supposed to take care of one another?"
The wing commander's "I Can Save My Own Life" initiative is not intended to replace the Air Force's "Wingman" initiative. It's designed to compliment it.
It's designed to remind Airmen that they are responsible for making their own personal choices -- no one else is.
The Wingman concept encourages Airmen to watch out for one another. That is equally important as watching out for yourself.
Using General Owen's personal responsibility campaign, coupled with the Wingman concept, no alcohol-related incidents should ever happen.
Look at it from a perspective common with the Air Force.
Four friends want to drive off base to celebrate one friend's final day in the shop. The group wants to take one of their vehicles to make it easier to move around downtown.
The first step in personal responsibility is appointing one person as the designated driver. The second step is for the driver to remain steadfast and do not drink. Another element is for the Wingmen to not encourage the driver to have any alcohol. And the Wingmen must also ensure one another do not drink too much or get into trouble.
While alcohol-related incidents are the underlying theme in this article, the personal responsibility program is applicable to any situation both on and off duty.
General Owens' "I Can Save My Own Life" campaign sums it up. As individuals, we are responsible for our own lives first. We can't always rely on others to make the proper decisions for us.