By Angie Thorne, Fort Polk Guardian staff writerJune 29, 2009
FORT POLK, La. -- Waste is something most people try to avoid, so it's frustrating when Soldiers are wasteful with something as important as their lives. That's why Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers, in conjunction with the Directorate of Family Morale, Welfare and Recreation, brought the Street Smart Program (presented by Anheuser Busch) to Fort Polk's Bayou Theater June 16-17.
Car accidents are the No. 1 cause of death for people ages 17-26. According to the presentation, accidents are almost always caused by someone under the influence of alcohol and 90 percent of fatalities in those accidents occur when people aren't wearing their seatbelts. People are 25 times more likely to die if they are ejected from a vehicle. Aca,!A..Aca,!A..
Endorsing the importance of the information conveyed in the Street Smart Program with his presence and words was Brig. Gen. James C. Yarbrough, Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk commanding general.
"You have all seen these 'scared smart' blood and gore presentations and you all have a commander telling you to do the right thing. But the fact of the matter is that at 2 a.m. you are the one who makes the call," said Yarbrough. Aca,!A..
He said too many Soldiers have been lost in combat and that none should be lost to accidents that are preventable. Aca,!A.."I've passed the flag to too many widows. If this program convinces one of you to make a smart choice and it saves your life, then it's worth it," said Yarbrough.
The program seemed to motivate some Soldiers to help their comrades stay safe. "I already drive safe, but I'm definitely going to make sure that everyone else is driving safe from now on," said Capt. Christine Miller, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division.
Another Soldier understood that the program provided general safety guidelines by which Soldiers need to abide. "Basically, from the general down, they are trying to instill common sense and help us make smart decisions. It's not really a hard thing to do -- Soldiers just have to follow through," said Spc. Aaron Murry, 4th BCT, 10th Mtn Div.
The program ended as Command Sgt. Maj. Steven Womack, 4th BCT, 10th Mtn Div, summed things up for his Soldiers. "I'm not going to quit on you and you're not going to beat me. I will be relentless in my pursuit of your safety. I will protect you even if it is from yourself. But I need help. Keep an eye on each other -- care. If you don't care, nothing is going to change -- so start to care," said Womack. Aca,!A..