Saving lives and careers - Maxwell starts Airman Against Drunk Driving program
Maxwell’s new Airman Against Drunk Driving program provides a ride to Airmen when they need transportation home after having alcoholic beverages. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class William Blankenship)
by Airman 1st Class William J. Blankenship
Air University Public Affairs
3/19/2012 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala -- Airmen saving Airmen is the mission of Maxwell Air Force Base's Airmen Against Drunk Driving program started here in early March.
Airmen Against Drunk Driving, meant to be an alternative to driving home intoxicated, is an outlet for base personnel to call after hours when they need to be taken home after consuming alcoholic beverages.
During the program's first weekend, A2D2 volunteers responded to two potential saves when Airmen called. Any Department of Defense ID card holder is eligible for the A2D2 service.
"Many Air Force bases have programs similar to A2D2," said Tech. Sgt. Leslie A. Cummings, the president of the program. "This is the first time Maxwell Air Force Base and Gunter Annex have had access to a program like this."
The program is designed to encourage Airmen who are out having drinks to call when a change in plans leaves them without a designated driver, Cummings explained.
"Instead of driving when you know you shouldn't, call A2D2, and we will come get you and take you home," said the Officer Training School Military Training Instructor.
Master Sgt. Patrick J. Acre, First Sergeant, Air University, explained he likes the Airmen taking care of Airmen concept of this program.
"It is everyone's responsibility to have a plan," said Acre, a former volunteer with a similar program earlier in his career. "However, if that plan falls through, programs like this one save lives."
A2D2 consists of volunteers who use their personal vehicles to provide safe rides home.
If those getting picked up have a vehicle with them they could have the program's volunteer drive their car home.
"That is why we go out in teams," explains Staff Sgt. Christina E. Contreras, 42nd Air Base Wing parralegal and vice president of the program.
Contreras took a part in a program similar to A2D2 at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz. She approached Maxwell's base leadership about having a program like the one at Luke AFB and was given the green light to start A2D2 here.
"Getting a DUI on or off base, your base driving privileges are taken away automatically for one year," the judge advocate explains.
Having a driving under the influence conviction will result in salary cut, legal fees, higher insurance and lost retirement benefits. A study at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, concluded the financial consequence of getting a DUI after drinking six beers adds up to $110,521 per beer.
Contreras said the program is a great example of one line in the Airman's Creed, "never leave an Airman behind," as the program represents the wingman mentality.
"When someone calls A2D2, it is anonymous," said Cummings. "We will only ask for the person's first name, where they are and where they live. Our goal is to save lives and careers."
A2D2 can be contacted by calling 334-953-AADD (2233) and will be available 10 p.m. to 3 a.m Friday and Saturday nights.