Rock of the Marne MPs use 'special sauce' to remain DUI free
April 12, 2012
FORT STEWART, Ga. (April 12, 2012) -- Organizational day may seem like a day off for some Soldiers. However, April 2-6, the Soldiers of the 385th Military Police Battalion, held an organizational week which helps them to bond together.
This bonding is one of the ingredients in the recipe for success that has pushed these military police to remain DUI free for more than 600 days.
As Soldiers stood in formation March 30, Third Infantry Division Commanding General Maj. Gen. Robert "Abe" Abrams attached another streamer to the 546th MP battalion's guidon. The streamer was not for a successful deployment, but for maintaining their Marne Pride Pledge promise. The Soldiers of the 546th MP Company, 3rd ID celebrate more than 600 days DUI free.
The other company, 385th Headquarters, Headquarters Detachment, were also presented with a streamer for having more than 500 days DUI free.
The main elements that helped them maintain their promise is the leadership, camaraderie and respect that is built throughout the battalion.
"I have been in three different units and it just gets better for me every time because its seems like my [MP family] just keeps getting bigger," said Capt. Warren Bannister, HHD 385th MP Bn. "We pride ourselves in taking care of our own."
Bannister is not speaking in reference to looking the other way when someone in their "MP family" makes a mistake or gets caught drinking and driving, but by providing prevention before something as tragic as a DUI or worse, occurs. From the top of the leadership ladder down, the Soldiers of this battalion band together. One way is their open door policy. If a Soldier finds him or herself in trouble after having a few too many drinks, leadership encourages the Soldier to contact them.
"First of all, what I think that I would say to them is not to be embarrassed," said Master Sgt. Lavander Wilkerson, 385th MP Bn. "That's the first step. They are admitting that they have had too much to drink and that they need assistance. So the first thing that I would tell that Soldier, is no problem, stay in place, either myself or somebody in your leadership will go out to retrieve you."
This type of sentiment falls right in line with the Marne Pride Pledge all Soldiers stationed at Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield signed.
In part, the Soldiers have pledged to "drive safely, not drive impaired, nor get in the car with an unsafe driver." The pledge was signed by Abrams Aug. 30, 2011, and put into effect Sept. 1 that same year.
"It's no different from a Soldier's first enlistment in the military," Wilkerson said, "it's a binding contract that we want Soldiers to continue to fulfill."
One way that leadership show they care is by preaching the message of safety often throughout the battalion. Many have followed their lead.
"We have to uphold the law," said Spc. Amanda Tasnadi, 546th MP Co. "We can't uphold the law if we are going to be shady about it with people [even] within our battalion. No one is above the law. Just remember to have a plan and be ready for anything, [because] anything can happen."
"We know Soldiers are going to partake in alcohol. We understand that," Wilkerson said. "But we want to make sure that there are safety measures in place to ensure that when those things do occur [they know] that we got their back, and that we make sure that Soldier gets home safely."