AADD saves lives

The Airmen Against Drunk Driving program was established with the intent to prevent consequences from driving under the influence, and is a way for Airmen to look our for their wingmen. To volunteer for or request Grand Forks AFB's AADD services, call 70-747-2233. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Airman 1st Class Elora J. Martinez)

The Airmen Against Drunk Driving program was established with the intent to prevent consequences from driving under the influence, and is a way for Airmen to look our for their wingmen. To volunteer for or request Grand Forks AFB's AADD services, call 70-747-2233. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Airman 1st Class Elora J. Martinez)

GRAND FORKS AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. --

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2016 alone, nearly 10,500 people in the United States were killed in motor vehicle traffic fatalities caused by alcohol-impaired driving.

Airmen Against Drunk Driving, an Air Force program established with the intent to prevent consequences from driving under the influence, is valued by Grand Forks Air Force Base’s AADD volunteers as a way to keep their wingmen safe.

“I love being that person for people to lean on,” said Airman 1st Class Robert Woodworth, an engineer apprentice with the 319th Civil Engineer Squadron and AADD volunteer. “I’m a firm believer in the wingman concept, not only during the week but on the weekend as well.”

Woodworth said he loves being available as support and able to help his fellow wingmen. He shared one of the personal experiences which helped shape his desire to volunteer.

“A good friend of mine posted a story on social media showing a picture of his car totaled,” he said. “From the looks of it, you would think he didn’t survive the crash. His post said ‘If you ever think about driving under the influence, call a family member, call a friend, call SOMEONE.’ That was four years ago and it stuck with me ever since,” Woodworth said.

Unfortunately, the driver is usually not the only one impacted by the decision to drive under the influence, according to the NHTSA. In 2016, 1,233 children 14 years old and under were killed in drunk-driving crashes, either as passengers or bystanders.

Per Air Force Instruction 44-121, section 3.2, the Air Force does not tolerate the illegal or improper use of drugs, to include alcohol, by Air Force personnel. If an Airman decides to drive under the influence, there can be serious consequences like criminal prosecution resulting in administrative actions, including separation or discharge under other than honorable conditions.

Taking advantage of a program like AADD has the potential to prevent possible devastation.

“I feel like people think the value of AADD is small,” said Senior Airman Simone Tillman, emergency management journeyman with the 319th Civil Engineer Squadron and AADD president. “I know there are some misconceptions, which we are trying to kill.”

Tillman mentioned one of the misconceptions Airmen have about the program is that they are reported if they use the service. Tillman said names are recorded strictly for accountability purposes and not passed along to supervisors or leadership.

Airmen should not be embarrassed or hesitate to resort to calling AADD, as it could be the crucial step that prevents dangerous consequences such as injury or death. The program has consistently and safely driven hundreds of Grand Forks Airmen home every year.

AADD for Grand Forks AFB is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Volunteers have the option to man the on-call phone or drive Airmen who call for a ride.

The AADD phone number in the Grand Forks community is 701-747-2233. If you have questions or would like to volunteer, contact Tillman at 701-362-4332.