By Chris RasmussenNovember 23, 2010
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Everyone has seen "that guy." The one who talks too loudly after drinking one too many beers or spills his drink on the person sitting next to him.
As the holiday season approaches, Fort Jackson leaders are stressing that Soldiers, civilians and family members make sure they are not "that guy."
Each year, Soldiers and Army civilians are bombarded with the "Loaded 45" campaign in an attempt to prevent deadly traffic accidents caused by drinking and driving and other unsafe driving habits.
"'Loaded 45' stands for the 45 days from Thanksgiving to New Years," said Sean O'Brian, the installation's safety director. "In that time frame, there is increased travel on the part of (Basic Combat Training) Soldiers and permanent party, and when you throw in parties where alcohol might be served, we all know what can happen. Drinking and driving frequently equals death."
This year the installation is stressing the "That Guy" message, which is a humorous multi-media campaign that uses online and offline communication with the goal of reducing excessive drinking among young service members.
"We are focusing on a vastly different approach than normal," O'Brian said. "We are focusing on binge drinking and the younger audience. The "That Guy" campaign uses humor to deliver a serious message for young Soldiers to reject binge drinking because it takes away from the things they care about such as family, friends, money and reputation."
The binge drinking rate among 18 to 25-year-old active duty personnel in 2005 was 56-percent, a 54-percent increase from 2002, according to DoD surveys. Visit www.thatguy.com for more information.
While Soldiers and civilians depart the installation for block leave, law enforcement officials on post will be stepping up traffic safety enforcement.
"We are going to continue to enforce the traffic laws and regulations on Fort Jackson," said Col. Ronald Taylor, provost marshal. "We are also going to do random government and POV vehicle inspections and have safety checkpoints throughout the holiday season."
DES will also place a mangled vehicle and motorcycle on display along Strom Thurmond Boulevard to remind passer-bys that drinking and driving kills.
"If you drink, don't drive," Taylor said. "If you are on this installation and need assistance, call the MP desk and we will help you get where you need to go. If it is off-post we will arrange a taxi."
Those who drink at Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation facilities on post who think they have had too much to drink can also get a free ride home.
The consequences of drinking and driving are real. On Thursday, a Soldier who was assigned to Fort Jackson, pleaded guilty in circuit court to driving drunk and killing two college students last year. Jabari Harding, a former staff sergeant, was leaving a bar in the Vista when he collided with the student's car.
Soldiers who travel outside a 100-mile radius of Fort Jackson must complete the Travel Risk Planning System before departing. The program allows Soldiers and Army civilians to complete a POV risk assessment about their trip. TRiPS can be accessed through the U.S. Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center website at www.safety.army.mil
BCT and Advanced Individual Training Soldiers must also sign a POV safety contract with their platoon or drill sergeant before departing for block leave. In addition, leaders are mandated to make sure no Soldier or civilian employee leaves for the holiday period without a safety awareness briefing.
O'Brian offered some simple tips to keep Soldiers and civilians safe this holiday season.
"Wear your seatbelt. Drive well rested. Don't drive distracted with cell phones or other electronic devices. And drive defensively," he said.