Airmen volunteer to prevent drunk driving

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Stephan Coleman
  • 81st Training Wing
It's the weekend and a group of Airmen goes out for some responsible fun at a casino. The night begins with a designated driver, but after a few hours, everybody is out of money and nobody is fit to drive. But, the Airmen aren't out of options, as long as they have a Department of Defense identification card and access to a phone, they still have a safe way home.

Airmen Against Drunk Driving is a volunteer program that offers free rides to stranded Airmen with complete anonymity and helps prevent drunk driving.

"The Air Force encourages the wingman concept and I feel A2D2 epitomizes that," said Master Sgt. Bobbie Longe, the A2D2 volunteer scheduler. "Airmen need to look out for each other and we provide a way to help Airmen in circumstances that could otherwise be detrimental, or even deadly."

The AADD program is an Air Force-wide program, while A2D2 is Keesler's unique acronym with the same meaning. The program is meant as a last resort for getting a ride home, as it is a free service run by volunteers.

"I've only called once," said a patron of the service. "I felt bad that it was so late at night, but it was definitely better than driving or walking."

There are two different volunteer positions--dispatchers and drivers. Dispatchers are responsible for the whole weekend, 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. before non-duty days. They call everyone on the schedule to find out who is available to drive, and when the dispatcher gets calls he passes them to the drivers.

Drivers are tasked with actually picking up stranded Airmen or groups of Airmen. It's a volunteer service, so people can say no to a passenger if they ever feel unsafe.
The program is headed by an executive council of six Airmen who work to keep everything running and are passionate about ending drunk driving.

"Drunk driving is not only a crime, but it creates a scenario where harming yourself or others is far more likely," said Staff Sgt. Brandon Wallis, the A2D2 public affairs representative. "I tell each passenger, before they step out of my car, that I am glad they called me."

"The program is important," said Tech. Sgt. Daniel Thomas, the A2D2 treasurer. "Not only because it saves lives and careers, but because it really reinforces the 'people first... mission always' mantra. For years now the Air Force has been doing more with less, and those of us still standing really need to stick together to ensure the mission is accomplished."

To utilize this emergency service, all you need is a DOD ID card. The boundaries for pick-up are Highway 49 in Gulfport to Highway 57 in Gautier, and two miles north of Interstate 10.

To be a volunteer for this life-saving service, all you need is a valid driver's license and an insured vehicle. Or, if you don't have those things, then you only need a phone and your core values to volunteer as a dispatcher.

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