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AADD has your back

Senior Airman Azania Arnold, 614th Air Operations Center intelligence and operations integration technician, and Senior Airman Teonna Jenkins, 30th Medical Operations Squadron central check-in clerk, simulate a typical evening of being on call for Airmen Against Drunk Driving Jan. 6, 2016, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Whether someone is a 21-year-old, inexperienced with alcohol, or simply had their plans fall through and can’t drive themselves, AADD provides a backup plan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ian Dudley/Released)

Senior Airman Azania Arnold, 614th Air Operations Center intelligence and operations integration technician, and Senior Airman Teonna Jenkins, 30th Medical Operations Squadron central check-in clerk, simulate a typical evening of being on call for Airmen Against Drunk Driving Jan. 6, 2016, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Whether someone is a 21-year-old, inexperienced with alcohol, or simply had their plans fall through and can’t drive themselves, AADD provides a backup plan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ian Dudley/Released)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Driving under the influence of alcohol is one of the most destructive things a person can do for their Air Force career, not to mention the extreme repercussions it can have on complete strangers.

With this in mind, Airmen Against Drunk Driving was born to prevent life destroying mistakes that can easily happen when a person operates a vehicle after consuming alcohol.

Whether someone is a 21-year-old, inexperienced with alcohol, or simply had their plans fall through and can't drive themselves, AADD provides a backup plan. Run by a team of volunteer Airmen, the organization is on call during the weekends and special base events.

The safety net is provided by a few dedicated Airmen, but it isn't solely for military personnel. Anyone with base access can volunteer to help with the program, whether they are a contractor or a military dependent. All that is needed is a vehicle and a valid driver's license for individuals over the age of 18.

"We have approximately 30 people who volunteer regularly and cover base events as well as weekend shifts," said Senior Airman Azania Arnold, 614th Air Operations Center intelligence and operations integration technician and Vandenberg AADD president. "Airmen volunteer their off duty time to help individuals, who have consumed too much alcohol, safely drive home. It is completely anonymous. Each unit on base has a squadron representative. Every week we send emails to our representatives to send out to their unit, soliciting volunteers."

Despite the initial intent as a last resort, base personnel are encouraged to take advantage of the program.

"We are supposed to be a backup plan to your backup plan," said Arnold. "But I would rather have people call us then risk their career and other people's lives."

New Airmen don't often have a support network of peers readily available, so not only can they rely on AADD but they can also make friends and help other Airmen in turn.

"I have been involved with AADD for two years now," said Senior Airman Teonna Jenkins, 30th Medical Operations Squadron central check-in clerk and Vandenberg AADD vice president. "I have even relied upon it on occasion. Every time you drive to pick someone up you are potentially saving their life. You never know when you are going to find yourself in a similar situation and have to rely on someone else. Especially as a new Airman you often don't know many people at your base."

With the potential to save a career, AADD is always just a phone call away.

"We are not only here for military, but civilians and dependents as well," said Jenkins. "If you need a ride we got your back."

For more information on how to volunteer for AADD contact Senior Airman Azania Arnold at 606-6011