By 189th Inf. Bde./First Army Division East PAOMarch 18, 2011
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - A local Army unit recently celebrated a new record of one year with no driving under the influence for the 590 Soldiers who represent it.
The 189th Infantry Brigade continues to maintain this zero incident approach even after the holiday season has ended. The Soldiers, ranging in age from 21 to 57, understand the importance of drinking responsibly since its leaders continuously remind them that a DUI can end a career.
"When I first got here, early command directives were clear," said Capt. Jeffery Herden, unit chaplain. "No DUIs, zero tolerance."
With the 189th's Strong Bonds program and resilience training, the chaplain's office made a point to discuss vulnerabilities of consuming alcohol.
Command Sgt. Maj. Christopher Gilpin, 189th command sergeant major, applauds his Soldiers on the achievement and explains how they achieved this goal.
"We've had a few social events and two formal military balls and, for each event, we reinforced the use of designated drivers and the buddy system to make sure that Soldiers can plan to have a good time and still get home safely," he said.
With numerous demands on Soldiers, it is often a challenge to maintain effective ways of keeping them from making the mistake of getting behind the wheel of a car and driving under the influence. However, Soldiers of the brigade use both designated drivers and the buddy system off duty to ensure they can enjoy themselves and still be able to carry on with the mission the next day.
"At the end of the training cycle at Camp Atterbury, Indiana, most Soldiers are vulnerable because they drank less or none at all because of the high demanding mission tempo," said Herden. "As they return home to their Families and a normal mission tempo, they return to their normal drinking patterns."
Herden explained that Soldiers' awareness of their vulnerabilities to alcohol and changes in drinking habits can cut back on the chance of someone making a mistake and getting a DUI.
"I am excited and grateful for our achievement," he said. "It shows a sign of improved discipline."
It's not just discipline in Soldiers, but their leaders as well.
"My supervisor always stresses to us that if we ever find ourselves needing help or a ride home, to give him a call and he will come and get us," said Sgt. Mark Harr, 189th Headquarters Company administration clerk. "With that and the frequent safety briefings we get all the time, it is almost impossible to get a DUI."
From the weekly safety briefings performed at the first-line supervisor level to the mass brigade formations and training covering key topics of safety affecting Soldier readiness, the 189th Infantry Brigade continues its track for another successful year.
"I'm proud to be a part of a unit that has maintained a zero tolerance for DUIs," said Harr. "I hope we continue to maintain our 'No DUI' goal and keep everyone safe."
The 189th Infantry Brigade, along with other supporting brigades in First Army Division East, provides and executes readiness oversight, post-mobilization training and validation operations as part of Army Forces Generation, and provides trained and ready forces to regional combatant commanders for the full spectrum of operations in multiple theaters of operation.