NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — Labor Day weekend is here, and Airmen are reminded that safety is important even if weekend plans include going out with friends. For Airmen who are of legal drinking age, one of the most important things to remember is to never drink and drive.
If Airmen find themselves without a ride home after a night of drinking, Airmen Against Drunk Driving, or AADD, is ready to assist.
AADD is a free service for Airmen – whose designated driver plan failed – to use instead of getting behind the wheel after drinking. To use the service, Airmen call the AADD dispatcher and let them know their situation, and the dispatcher sends a volunteer to pick up the stranded Airman.
“AADD is a way for Airmen to help Airmen. People are selflessly giving up their weekend nights and genuinely believe in the mission to save lives,” said Staff Sgt. Travis Henderson, 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron aircrew flight equipment journeyman and AADD executive council member.
Airmen are not only encouraged to use the service, but to also volunteer for the service to help ensure there is always someone to help an Airman get home.
“I encourage everyone to keep the number for AADD; you never know when you might need us. Also, if you ever use the service, please pay it forward and volunteer,” said Henderson.
AADD operates from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights. All calls are anonymous, and there is no charge to use the service. Although AADD seems like a convenient service to use, it is not a cab service and should not be treated as such. AADD is a last resort, not a plan.
So far in 2014, there have been 313 saves, or Airmen who have used the service. When an Airman calls up, all he or she gives the dispatcher is their first name, where they’re at, where the person wants to go, and what kind of clothes they’re wearing.
Drunk driving is dangerous, against the law and punishable under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Airmen can be subject to penalties under Article 111, Drunken or reckless operation of a vehicle.
“If someone drives drunk, they are at serious risk of harming themselves or others, and if they get caught, they could be kicked out [of the Air Force],” said Henderson
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2012 there were 82 drunk driver related fatalities out of 258 total fatal crashes in Nevada.
“This program is very important. I have spent 200 hours as a driver and many more hours briefing this program. I truly believe that we are saving lives. I would like everyone to think about how it would feel being stuck downtown without a ride at night,” said Henderson. “Wouldn’t it feel good to know that you’ve always had other Airmen looking out for you when your plans fall through?”
The Labor Day weekend can be a fun way to unwind after a long hot summer, as long as everyone is being safe and not taking chances that could potentially be deadly.
”It is part of the wingman concept to help each other and offer a better alternative than driving home intoxicated,” said Henderson.
For more information, or to volunteer for the AADD program, please email LVAADD@gmail.com. To use the AADD service, please call 702-652-2233.