FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Hundreds of 110th Aviation Brigade Soldiers participated in a biannual safety stand down day May 10 to learn how to maintain a ready and working force.

Troops gathered for vehicle inspections, and drinking and driving prevention and education, according to Joel Vanhoolandt, 1st Battalion, 11th Aviation Regiment battalion civilian safety officer.

Col. Russ Stinger, 110th Avn. Bde. commander, said Soldiers deserve breaks, but should be proactive in remaining out of harm's way during off-duty hours.

"Keep your guard up during the summer," he said.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving representatives from Montgomery stressed the effects of driving after consuming alcohol.

Katrika McCrory shared her story as the mother of a police officer who was killed in a car wreck by a drunk driver in 2007.

She said she works with MADD to prevent other people from walking in her shoes, and noted Soldiers should try to make the right decisions.

"They're on the front line and set examples for us every day," she said. "Pledging not to drive (after) drinking sets an example (for the public)."

MADD's message is important and effective, according to Lt. Col. Garry Thompson, 1st Bn., 11th Avn. Regt. commander.

"It's important because (Soldiers) hear the message that it's not what (drunk driving) could do to affect their careers, but how it could affect their lives and the lives of others," he said.

One B Co., 1st Bn., 11th Avn. Regt. Soldier appreciated the reminder.

"If we're not being safe and something happens to us, we're not able to support our mission," said Pfc. Andrew Framer. "People tend to get lackadaisical on safety."

After the training, Stinger presented Capt. Franz Mentor, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Bn., 11th Avn. Regt. commander, with the unit's 19th consecutive "DUI Free Award." The company achieved 111 days without a driving under the influence incident to earn the award.