Commentary

March 1, 2013

DUI – Decisions under the influence

First, let me start off by saying if you missed the 56th Fighter Wing Annual Awards banquet, you may have missed the opportunity of your Air Force career to learn from one of our greatest leaders and spokesmen, Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Robert Gaylor, the fifth Airman to serve with that distinction.

Chief Gaylor has an exceptional way of delivering his message. Not only does he deliver advice that you can apply to life and career, he also entertains while doing it. One of his key points was, “Don’t let an opportunity pass you by, even if it makes you uncomfortable.” One of those opportunities presented itself to me when my commander asked if I would write an article for the paper.

Ironically, my “topic” had put me and a few others in my commander’s office on a Sunday morning. I had to escort one of my Airmen to the squadron and group commander’s offices — and this was not a social call.

You see, this “good” Airman had a blood alcohol content of more than double the Arizona legal limit only 32 hours prior — the Friday before our annual awards ceremony. To make matters worse, his BAC wasn’t discovered until after getting behind the wheel of his car and being pulled over by local police. At that moment my “good” Airman had just become a “lucky” Airman. Lucky he hadn’t committed vehicular manslaughter, lucky his wife wasn’t a widow, lucky his children still had a father, lucky … and the list goes on.

Did this Airman make a mistake? Some may say yes, a mistake, but I don’t believe so. Mistakes are made while balancing your checkbook, forgetting to pay a bill on time, missing a dental appointment. No, this Airman didn’t make a mistake. This Airman made a decision that turned into a crime. Whether that decision was clouded by alcohol use is irrelevant. It was his decision and it was wrong. Which brings me back to opportunity — I’m using this opportunity to possibly save an Airman from making the same decision.

I joined the Air Force just over 28 years ago — every briefing included “don’t drink and drive” or “call a cab, it’s much cheaper.” Those briefings evolved into have a designated driver, have a plan and be a good wingman. If the message is clear and concise and you make a “decision” to do it anyway, then I would argue that deterrence is not working.

What really hasn’t changed much over the years is the punishment. A DUI on base will get you an Article 15, busted in rank, loss of pay, etc. A DUI off base could involve a huge fine, loss of a driver’s license, busted in rank, a letter of reprimand and an unfavorable information file. Both cases will get you a referral enlisted performance report and a UIF, loss of base driving privileges and a huge increase in insurance premiums. Not to mention the emotional humiliation that comes with a decision like this.

I think punishment is two-fold — it can create deterrence and can offer course correction.

So what about deterrence — would “confinement and a bad conduct discharge” deter Airmen from drinking and driving? Maybe not, but is it time to find out?




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Pg-1-Standalone---140411-F-HT977-026

Weather: Exercise component

First responders prepare to transport a simulated injured patient during an extreme weather exercise April 11 at Luke Air Force Base. The exercise was designed to train and evaluate Luke Airmen on readiness and preparation for ...
 
 
Courtesy photo

Plane crash, coma doesn’t deter pilot

Courtesy photo Retired Capt. David Berling, 56th Contracting Squadron contract specialist, stands in front of his 1977 Cessna RG March 23, 2012, at the Glendale Airport. Berling lost his legs in a 2007 plane crash, the subject ...
 
 

Comprehensive support system helps unit resiliency

In today’s Air Force environment of force restructure, budgetary constraints, continued mission requirements and resiliency, establishing a comprehensive support system in a unit is absolutely essential for success. Each organizational tier, whether at the element, flight or squadron level, must be resilient and have support mechanisms in place to not only meet, but exceed daily...
 

 

Preparing for next rank makes successful Airmen

As Airmen we have many responsibilities and duties we must carry out in accordance with our jobs. According to AFI 36-2618, The Enlisted Force Structure, our responsibilities are as follows: junior enlisted Airmen initially focus on adapting to military requirements, achieving occupational proficiency and learning how to become highly productive members of the Air Force....
 
 
Senior Airman
JASON COLBERT

Energy office helps keep lights on

Senior AirmanJASON COLBERT Master Sgt. Adam Kelley, 56th Civil Engineer Squadron base energy manager, explains the value of low wattage light bulbs to Robert Wimp at the Energy Conservation Month booth April 9 at Luke Air Force...
 
 

News Briefs April 18, 2014

Change of command Lt. Col. Jon Wheeler relinquishes command of the 310th Fighter Squadron to Lt. Col. Matthew Warner at 8:31 a.m. today in Hangar 913. Days of Remembrance The 2014 Days of Remembrance of the Holocaust Victims is May 2 at Club Five Six. A Holocaust exhibit of masks of holocaust survivors and paintings...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin