Military News

Thursday, August 20, 2015

No more free rides: AADD reconstructs framework

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 new initiative.

"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 volunteer numbers.

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