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Squadrons share tips for DUI prevention

Aviano Air Base, Italy -- At least four 31st Fighter Wing squadrons have gone more than 1,000 days without a DUI.

As of press time, the 31st Aerospace Medicine Squadron has gone 2,148 days - or almost six years - without a DUI; the 31st Dental Squadron has gone 2,131 days- or nearly six years - without a DUI; the 31st Medical Support Squadron has gone 1,417 days - or almost four years - without a DUI; and the 31st Operation Support Squadron has 1,027 days - or nearly three years - without a DUI.

All the squadrons credit their success to teamwork and have similar programs in place to avoid DUIs.

The 31st DS uses twice-a-month commander's calls to ensure Airmen know their leadership is there to help.

"We have a small squadron of about 53 people and since we're small, we see our people face-to-face every day," said Senior Master Sgt. Michelle Sobel, 31st DS superintendent. "We're a tight knit group and everyone takes care of each other. We know everyone's plan and everyone has a recall roster in case a plan fails."

The 31st AMDS is also a small squadron, but it faces unique challenges because squadron members don't see each other every day.

"Even though we are separated, we have an 'open squadron policy' where people can go to anyone in the squadron for help," said Senior Airman Dmitri Meyer, 31st AMDS public health technician. "Our squadron uses wingman programs, weekend roll calls and flight plans. Flight NCOs and supervisors also stress responsibility."

The 31st OSS recently reached 1,000 days without a DUI.

"Members of the 31st OSS really use the wingman program and look out for each other," said Tech. Sgt. Shawn Strubbe, 31st OSS acting first sergeant. "We tend to know our plan and stick to it."

The 31st MDSS also has an effective squadron wingman program and implements weekly squadron and flight safety roll calls.

"There is accountability for individual weekend plans whether they are in or out of town, or if they have a designated driver," said Senior Master Sgt. Jeffrey Fordham, 31st MDSS superintendent. "If plans change, the supervisor or chain of command is notified, and at the beginning of the week, we go over how everyone's plan went."

The 31st MDSS also makes sure its people are aware of weather conditions that might change their plans as well as recent motor vehicle accidents and DUIs.

"It's a team effort to take care of one another and ensure you have a wingman that is there for you 24/7," Sergeant Fordham said.