94 Days and Counting!

  • Published
  • By Brig. Gen. Richard Devereaux
  • 82nd Training Wing commander
Team Sheppard, I need you to know we've got a really good trend going on this installation.

This Tuesday, 24 July, we have the potential to go 100 days without a DUI involving a Sheppard AFB person, on- or off-base. That means over the last 100 days, none of our Sheppard permanent party--military or civilian or assigned trainee population--have been charged with a DUI (driving with a BAC of .08 or greater). So if we get through the next few days, we have a cause for celebration.

In my 29 years in the Air Force, I've never been assigned to an installation that could make such a claim, especially a big base like Sheppard.

Now, before we all jump for joy, let me provide a little truth in advertising. During this period, we have experienced some "non-counter" DUIs involving non-Sheppard people who were TDY here as well as a couple of on-base driving incidents at alcohol levels below .08 that technically could have been charged as DUIs since the individuals were underage (per TX state law). But the fact remains, by our rules, Team Sheppard has been DUI-free for 94 days...going on 100.

How did this happen? Luck? Timing? Here's my laundry list of reasons:

DUI Fatality - The memory is still recent of our young student pilot, Lt Steitz, who died last November of injuries sustained in an alcohol-related vehicle accident. This accident reminded us all that DUIs aren't just a ticket but can be a death sentence.

Zero Tolerance Policy - We've been hammering home the message to "never drink alcohol--any amount--with car keys in your pocket or purse" and I believe folks have been taking this to heart. You can't get a DUI if you can't get to your keys.

Safety Program - Mr. James Zillweger, 82 TRW/SE, and his team of safety pros have initiated an aggressive program that has focused on DUI prevention. The results speak for themselves.

AADD - We have a huge Airman Against Drunk Driving program here at Sheppard. Since 1 January, they've recorded 584 DUI "saves," no-questions-asked pickups of those stranded after drinking without a safe way to get home.

Leadership at Every Level - My sense is that our supervisors, MTLs, instructor pilots, commanders, and shirts have been "talking the talk and walking the walk" of DUI prevention. I'm seeing engaged leadership at every level.

While all the above factors may have contributed to our success, the real person responsible is YOU. Thanks to every one of you, drinkers and non-drinkers, who have heard the message, taken it to heart, and made responsible choices over the last 94 days.

So let's not screw it up. Don't be the one to break the streak. Don't let your wingman break the streak. Before this weekend, talk to your wingmen and ensure they get the message to not drink any amount of alcohol with car keys in their pocket or purse. Your message may not only save our streak but save lives.

Thanks Team Sheppard--I'm so proud of the work you've done to keep us safe--well done!