by Airman 1st Class Curt Beach
2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs
8/19/2015 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- Once
a program has been in place for an extended period of time, its
original focus can sometimes become blurred. Changes are sometimes
necessary in order for the program to remain effective and productive.
Airmen Against Drunk Driving found themselves in a similar situation,
seeking a solution.
Effective immediately, Airmen receiving rides from AADD will be required
to return the favor through a new Pay it Forward initiative, in which
they will complete an AADD shift within two weeks of using the service.
"The program was turning into a taxi service more than an education and
training program, and Airmen were using AADD as their plan for getting
home after a night of drinking versus being responsible and having a
designated driver in place or calling a taxi," said Master Sgt. Jack
Pate, 2nd Medical Group first sergeant. "Changes were necessary due to
the route the program was taking."
This new framework was agreed upon after much collaboration among the
Chiefs Group, First Sergeant Association and the AADD council.
"The Pay it Forward policy allows AADD to better nurture the elements of
responsibility it was founded upon," said Airman 1st Class Breanna
Beck, AADD president. "We needed to address the misuse of the program
that had been taking place. If we are going to see a reduction in our
drunken driving occurrences, we must first see an influx in
self-control. We are there for our fellow Airmen, but they must also be
there for themselves."
In the past, the identity of Airmen using the program had remained
anonymous. With this new policy, that won't entirely be possible
anymore. Airmen will need to present their Department of Defense ID card
to get a ride. Names will be documented to ensure compliance with the
"This is a good direction for the program since it creates a shared
responsibility and in essence causes members who use the program to take
some responsibility for their poor planning; even though I understand
plans can and do fall through, this should be the exception - not the
norm," said Pate.
Failure to complete a Pay it Forward shift, will be handled accordingly by squadron leadership and first sergeants.
"Adopting the Pay it Forward concept should not be viewed negatively or
as punishment," said Chief Master Sgt. Tommy Mazzone, 2nd Bomb Wing
command chief. "The goal is to remind Airmen to plan responsibly. If
need be, their wingmen will be there for them. All we ask is they
provide that same courtesy for their fellow wingmen."
This change may not be embraced with open arms by those who regularly neglect to plan ahead.
"I would ask why [Airmen who use the program] would not want to
volunteer for a program they received free of charge, and why they would
expect their fellow Airmen to give up a Friday or Saturday night just
so they don't have to pay for a taxi," said Pate.
This new initiative is designed to reinforce responsible decision making
as well as help bridge the gap between high caller volume and low