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Bird's Eye View: On the right track with DUIs

Col. Bryan Gallagher (left), 95th Air Base Wing commander, pins the Bronze Star Medal with Valor to Senior Airman Phillip King, 95th Security Forces Squadron patrolman, during a ceremony Monday at the 95th SFS headquarters. Airman King received the award for his gallantry during a deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. (Photo by Edward Cannon)

Col. Bryan Gallagher (left), 95th Air Base Wing commander, pins the Bronze Star Medal with Valor to Senior Airman Phillip King, 95th Security Forces Squadron patrolman, during a ceremony Monday at the 95th SFS headquarters. Airman King received the award for his gallantry during a deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. (Photo by Edward Cannon)

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- As Maj. Gen. Curtis Bedke, Air Force Flight Test Center commander, mentioned in an e-mail two weeks ago, we've done remarkably well in the drinking and driving statistic since the beginning of the 101 Critical Days of Summer. Since Memorial Day weekend, we've had no arrests for driving under the influence. 

This is a great accomplishment, and I'm proud of each of you for taking personal responsibility for your actions. The number of people making the right choice by calling Airmen Against Drunk Driving is 19. For people using a designated driver or calling a taxi, that number is even higher. 

We're on the right track with DUI prevention, but let's not get complacent. A single DUI is one DUI too many. 

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is incredibly dangerous and may result in the loss of your life or that of others. Getting arrested for DUI can result in severe penalties. Regardless of whether the arrest is on or off base, military members risk prosecution under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which can end their military career. This is in addition to the loss of rank, pay and freedom. 

The bottom line is that this kind of behavior is unacceptable, and many of you have taken that to heart. However, if you see someone who is about to make a really dumb decision, become their wingman! You may just save a life. 

If you've been drinking, call your wingman, a taxi or Airmen Against Drunk Driving before you even consider driving home. AADD may be reached by phone at 275-AADD or 277-AADD, and rides are completely anonymous. The key is to make a plan for getting home before the drinking begins.

Use or lose leave to expire soon 

In a little more than eight weeks, the fiscal year will come to an end. Over the course of the year, military members earn 30 days of leave, and some people have earned so much leave over the years, it has turned into "use or lose leave." 

Use or lose leave, which equals the number of leave days earned in excess of 60, disappears at the end of each fiscal year, and unfortunately that means the leave will disappear at the end of the September. 

Every now and then, life gets hectic and it seems nearly impossible to take a vacation without sacrificing the mission. However, the mission will continue while you're sunbathing, driving across California or just lounging around the house. The key is to make sure someone is trained to ensure mission success while you're gone. 

We've been very busy lately at Edwards, but I encourage supervisors to allow their employees to take some time off before the "use or lose" becomes "lost."