By Airman 1st Class Clifton Dolezal
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
0-0-1-3 is an equation that just adds up. For members of the 19th Equipment Maintenance Squadron, it has merely been one factor helping to solve a greater problem.
“As of [Jan. 14,] our unit has been 387 days DUI free” said Maj. Jeffrey Burdette, 19th EMS commander. “That’s about 550 Airmen, NCOs, officers and civilians who chose to live a lifestyle where the irresponsible use of alcohol isn’t an option. They don’t tolerate it; they don’t accept it, and it’s not ok.”
Upon assuming command of the 19th EMS in May of 2012, one of the goals Burdette set for his unit was to go 365 days without an alcohol related incident. The unit’s achievements of one of the goals he set out for them to accomplishhas been praised by Burdette.
“Everybody wants something,” said Burdette. “They want tangible results, so at the time I didn’t give them an incentive, I told them they get the pride. But now that we have achieved it, yes, we’re going to start celebrating their successes.”
The leadership and front line supervision of the 19th EMS believe that frequent alcohol abuse and Airman Against Drunk Driving briefings have paid the tab, as well as the new presence of leadership in the work area.
“Since I have been in the military for the past nine years, I’ve heard them preach about DUIs, don’t drink and drive…” said Staff Sgt. Michelle Haynes, a 19th EMS structural maintenance craftsman “.…and so our commanders are much more involved and always in our shop, and it’s working.”
Haynes talked about how Chief Master Sgt. Edwin Lambert, the 19th EMS superintendent, makes it to all the shops, even the small ones and takes some time to get to know the Airmen face to face.
“We’re going out to where they’re working and actually asking them ‘hey, what do you have going on this weekend? You got a plan? How about a plan b? Or a plan c?’” said Lambert.
Many of the Airmen in the squadron were ready to get on the path to recovery. Senior Airman Stephan Sullivan, 19th EMS unit fitness program manager, has been in the unit for over a year, and has appreciated the changes.
“When I first came to the squadron, we had consistent DUIs for a while”, said Sullivan. “It felt like every weekend we were getting called in, being in blues and it just felt like we were always getting hit on for DUI’s. If you would have asked me a year and a half ago if I thought we would be here, I would have told you, you were crazy.”
A year later however, the squadron has changed its party tune, to celebrating good times.
“We celebrate our successes each and every day we’re DUI free,” said Burdette. “That’s one more day. We take it one day at a time.”
The 19th Equipment Maintenance Squadron joins: the 19th Component Maintenance Squadron, 19th Aerospace Medical Squadron, 61st Airlift Squadron, 19th Security Forces Squadron, 314th Maintenance Operations Squadron, 373rd Training Squadron, 34th Combat Training Squadron, 48th Airlift Squadron, 29th Weapons Squadron, 19th Contracting Squadron, 19th Comptroller Squadron, 19th Force Support Squadron, 19th Director of Staff, 314th Director of Staff and the 19th Medical Support Squadron as one of the squadrons on base that have successfully gone a year or more without a DUI.