Lines of vehicles travel along a main road on Fort Bragg just after Soldiers are released from physical training. As they pass the illuminated safety sign flashing the message ‘Troopers don’t plan to fail, they just fail to plan,’ they notice the heap of twisted metal and shattered glass at its base — the battered remains of a silver sedan.
The 82nd Airborne Division Provost Marshal Office and the Division Safety Office coordinated with a local towing and wrecking company to acquire and display two totaled vehicles that were involved in local, alcohol-related crashes. These vehicles are being exhibited in high-traffic areas on Fort Bragg to demonstrate some of the results of driving under the influence. This demonstration is part of the division’s Ready and Resilient campaign.
The Ready and Resilient campaign, an Army-wide effort, focuses on improving the physical, emotional and psychological well-being of Soldiers and their Families, giving them the tools and information they need to make responsible decisions. This includes deciding not to drink and drive.
The vehicle display is an additional tool used to make Soldiers think twice about drinking and driving, said Capt. Jon Pfender, 82nd PMO operations officer.
Before every weekend, Soldiers receive safety briefs, normally from several members of their chain of command. These briefs remind the Soldiers not to make poor decisions or partake in high-risk behaviors.
If a Soldier is detained for DUI, the consequences are immediate. After being booked at the PMO, the Soldier must be picked up by a member of his or her chain of command. In addition to paying fines for their offense, they will lose their driver’s license for one year as well as their on-post driving privileges for up to two years. The Soldier may also lose rank or even be processed for separation from the Army.
“It just takes one instance of failed judgment to end a career or end a life,” said Sgt. 1st Class Thomas Felvey, 82nd Abn. Div. law enforcement operations officer.
“If Soldiers did exactly what they were supposed to do, they would be safe,” said Matthew Kettell, division deputy safety director. If they can see the end result of a poor decision, it would sway them to make a better choice, he said. “Seeing is believing. If they see the vehicle and the sign talks about DUIs, it’ll sink in.”
This warning isn’t only intended to prevent Soldiers from making a poor decision for themselves, but also to pass the message along to their comrades.
Kettell said that offering to be a designated driver or even calling a cab for a friend is enough to negate the risks.
“We’ve got to take care of each other,” he said. “We are our brothers’ keepers.”