Redefining responsibility

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Tony Richardson
  • 20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Responsible consumption of alcohol is an important message that we are constantly sending to our troops. One death is too many deaths. One accident is too many accidents. One incident is too many accidents. However, I think that we need to redefine the term "responsible."

Underage drinking has been an issue for society for a while now. This is also true within our ranks. However, I'm not simply referring to the number of people who show up on the security forces blotter.

I'm talking about those 18 to 20-year-old Airmen who believe that they are being "responsible" by drinking off-base at a friend's house. I'm talking about those 18-20 year-old Airmen who believe that they are being "responsible" because they stay in their rooms at the dorms to avoid being caught. I'm talking about the "enablers" who purchase the alcohol for minors and permit these behaviors to occur.

Let's be clear: underage drinking is a crime and will be prosecuted as such. The same thing goes for those who provide alcohol to minors or create the atmosphere to allow the crime to occur.

The fact that you did not get caught does NOT mean that you are being responsible. Your life, your career and the lives of others are all at stake each time you make the wrong choice. No sip of alcohol is worth risking these precious things.

Do the right thing, especially when no one is looking. Ensure that your organizations, peers and subordinates are creating a culture that emphasizes the responsible consumption of alcohol.

Use the 0-0-1-3-W concept as a guideline: zero drinks if you are underage, zero drinks if you are driving, one drink per hour, three drinks maximum and always have a wingman. The safety and security of our nation depends heavily upon the choices we make.