How do you do it?
By Lt. Col. DeeDee Richards, 28th Munitions Squadron
/ Published April 30, 2007
ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. --
The 28th Munitions Squadron is well on its way to attaining our goal of 365 days without a driving under the influence infraction. So far we've gone approximately 260 days without a DUI and I am very proud of that. I am even more proud of my squadron members for their efforts.
The question I am frequently asked around the base is "How do you do it?" The answer is so simple and yet oh so complicated! You see, I really don't do much at all. The members of my squadron do all the hard work -- they lead by example.
Now, there are some members of my squadron who are a bit superstitious and they are warning me not to write this article as it will jinx us. And it's true that we're not perfect and we've had our fair share of DUI's in the past. But, as much as I respect them, I have to disagree.
It's my opinion goals are not reached by sheer luck and the crossing of your fingers on Tuesday. I believe that goals are attained through perseverance and hard work.
There are many tangible things that each member of my squadron does to help reach our goal of 365 days without a DUI because it is a team effort. On a regular basis, each of my flight commanders or flight chiefs will conduct guardianship briefings to all members who are under the age of 26 or who have been designated "at risk" for their chosen hobbies and activities choices. Supervisors at all ranks emphasize personal risk management and wingman concepts at each roll call and at each of the monthly and quarterly safety briefings. My staff and I never let a commander's call pass by where I don't cheer them on for how many days we're DUI free (in a count-up if you will) and never does one pass by where safety hasn't been briefed.
Most of our work centers will reward a designated driver with a compensatory day off for their efforts if they were called in the middle of the night to save one of our own. Don't ask me to quantify our number of saves - I've lost track. We do track our DUI free days in a very visible manner. Each day as you enter the munitions storage area, you'll see a big white board that shows our progress and when we have earned a bowling day from services for every 90 days DUI free the board will show a countdown towards the next bowling day (thanks Services Squadron).
The unit airman's council and the squadron top 4 always solicit volunteers to be designated drivers at any formal squadron function. Every time one of us hosts a party off duty, there's always a designated driver plan. If some of our members are out on the town and their plan falls through, they'll call a cab or their supervisor for a ride home with no questions asked.
There are many who preach the success of the Air Force is carried on the backs of our enlisted corps and our squadron has some of the best non-commissioned officers I've come across. It takes their full 24/7 involvement at every twist and turn.
When I first came to the squadron ten months ago, one of the first things that impressed me was the level of professionalism of my NCO and senior NCO corps. I could tell by their body language during my first commander's call that they "got it" and I didn't have to convince them. They already knew, bought into and were practicing the lifestyle choices that go into attaining such a lofty goal. They understood the value of each and every member of the squadron and they were willing then, and still are today, to do whatever it took to preserve our squadron membership in positive and ethical ways.
Now don't think MUNS has gone soft because we absolutely haven't! We still work very hard and we still let off a lot of steam. The difference is we're doing it in a much smarter and safer way than we used to.