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AADD tops records in 2011, builds on reform in 2012

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Joe McFadden
  • 1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs
Like many of her fellow first-term Airmen, Airman 1st Class Rachel Whitlatch got her first taste of Hurlburt Field doing intense physical training sessions and a multitude of briefings while attending the Commando Pride Airmen Center in June 2010. 

While there, one presentation's message stood out to Whitlatch, a medical records technician for the 1st Special Operations Medical Support Squadron: Airmen Against Drunk Driving, the base's anti-drunk driving prevention and response program. 

After being recruited during the CPAC session, she became a recurring dispatcher, connecting several Airmen in need of a ride home to dozens of volunteer drivers.

"I do it because I don't want to see fellow Airmen fail," Whitlatch said. "I've always been told to look after the person beside you, and this is the best way I have to do that."

Now as AADD's outreach liaison, she gives that same briefing at CPAC and is often the first impression of the program to newly welcomed Air Commando Airmen.

But instead of solely focusing on recruitment, Whitlatch said her top priority is on educating and empowering fellow Airmen to make a plan before going out.

"Our volunteers are very precious," Whitlatch said. "These drivers are using their time, money and vehicles to pick up people at all hours of the night. That's why I tell people to have a plan--have or be the designated driver; have money for cabfare, especially after payday; call your recall roster or friends; and finally call AADD as a last resort."

Whitlatch's emphasis on utilizing other resources than AADD is not just part of her communication style; it's now engrained into the program itself. This change of approach, combined with increased program usage and rising gas prices, caused the AADD council to enact substantial reforms to its structure in 2011.

"There has definitely been a high demand for AADD within the last year," said Senior Airman Michael Inman, commander's support staff for Air Force Special Operations Command Headquarters and president of AADD. "I believe these changes have worked out for the best, but our message is still the same-- AADD will always be there, no matter if it's day or night to help a fellow Air Commando."

Under its original plan, AADD drivers and dispatchers solely came from a volunteer pool that varied from shift to shift, week to week. The program still met its goals, yet more than half of its 287 volunteers did just one shift in 2010. By contrast, 11 volunteers did more than 1,000 hours.

Additionally, tighter disposable income levels may have played a role in both a volunteer's ability to continue contributing mileage and a caller's decision whether to call a cab or AADD first. An AADD ride home may be at no cost to the caller, but it's not always so for the driver.

The council proposed a reform plan known as AADD 2.0 in March 2011. At its core, the proposal suggested squadrons rotate responsibility among each other and provide support for each weeklong shift.

In doing so, drivers would only have to perform at least one shift a year, keeping with previous trends. The manpower requirements and financial burden placed on each regular volunteer would also be lessened as the pool of drivers expanded.

"Our program is open to anyone on Hurlburt Field, so asking someone to volunteer at least once or twice a year isn't asking a lot," Inman said. "I would hope that, after volunteering, the members' would continue to volunteer or at least gain perspective on what it means to be on the receiving end of a call."

Wing leadership endorsed AADD 2.0 in June 2011, and more than 20 squadrons, groups, tenant units and wing staff agencies stepped forward to provide drivers and dispatchers.

Since then, AADD volunteers closed 2011 having dispatched 607 calls, a nearly 10 percent increase from the previous year. However, roughly a fifth of all calls ended in cancellations or the caller didn't show up when the driver arrived.

Yet, of those remaining 489 calls, AADD volunteers spared 990 people from the consequences of a DUI. The figure represents a nearly 2:1 ratio of lives saved per call as well as the highest number of lives saved in a year in the program's history at Hurlburt Field.

The record also made the current council ponder the meaning behind a potential four-digit figure in 2012. While each person returned home may represent a negated alcohol-related incident or death, it may also reflect a trend that more Airmen are making AADD their first resort.

"AADD across the Air Force has been established to help those who are in need," Inman said. "Air Commandos should always have a plan prior to going out. But if and when that plan falls through, we will always be more than willing to help a fellow Airman out."

With the structural change behind them and a renewed focus on "have a plan" for the future, the AADD council hopes 2012 will close with different milestones measured not only in numbers or calls, but in the shared efforts of the base community.

"Our main goal for this year is to have the number of our calls/saves go down along with a decline in the number of DUIs or alcohol-related incidents," Inman said. "Of course, we're always going to be there to help people get a ride home. This program has also had the goal of zero DUIs, and we will not rest until that happens. But a decrease in both numbers will be a good indicator to me that more of our fellow Air Commandos are making a plan before going out and sticking to it."

AADD is a coalition of Airmen, civilians and families united to save lives by providing Air Commandos a safe, anonymous ride home without fear of repercussion, eliminating the number of DUIs and alcohol-related injuries and deaths and educating base personnel about the ill effects of drinking and driving any time, any place, according to the program's presentations.

If you're a DoD-ID cardholder, have exhausted all resources and are in need of a ride home, contact AADD at 884-8844. For more information about the program, contact Whitlatch or send an email to   

The following individuals volunteered before AADD 2.0 went into effect June 2011:

Airman 1st Class Brent Admire
Staff Sgt. Nathan Alexander
Master Sgt. Joshua Anderson
Staff Sgt. Adolfo Aparicio
Staff Sgt. Christopher Barboza
Airman 1st Class Brian Broadstock
Senior Airman Jasmine Brooks
Staff Sgt. Ronald Buchanan
Staff Sgt. Alicia Campbell
Capt. Brian Campion
Staff Sgt. Dominic Chavez
Tech. Sgt. Steven Clark
Senior Airman Brett Collins
Staff Sgt. Richard Colon
Airman 1st Class Joshua Corle
Airman 1st Class James Cortelyou
1st Lt. Eric Cranford
Airman Jordan Cummings
Staff Sgt. Dustin Curlee
Airman 1st Class Tyler Davidson
Master Sgt. Jeremiah Dinan
Airman Genesea Dixon
Airman 1st Class Katy Dockery
Staff Sgt. Sarah Donovan
Senior Airman Beatriz Duran
Staff Sgt. Anthony Emerson
Staff Sgt. Richelle Flores
Master Sgt. Craig Foust
Maj. Marilyn Garcia
2nd Lt. Amber Gasparetto
Tech. Sgt. Kezia Green
Airman 1st Class Stacey Guzak
Airman 1st Class Tyler Harkness
Tech. Sgt. Ruby Hart
Staff Sgt. Freddie Henderson
Master Sgt. Brenda Hudson
Senior Airman Marcieann Irizarry
Senior Airman Megan Jamison
Airman 1st Class Sherry Janousek
Staff Sgt. Jason Jenkins
Tech. Sgt. Jason John
Airman 1st Class Gabriel Jovellar
Airman 1st Class Jason Kelts
Staff Sgt. Amanda Khan
Capt. Michael Kittrell
Senior Airman Michael Landon
Capt. Anita Logan
Staff Sgt. Carmen Lopez-Torres
Airman 1st Class Russell Lowe
1st Lt. Keil Luber
Senior Airman Rebeca Martinez
Capt. Jessica Mates
Master Sgt. George Mathisen
Senior Airman Joe McFadden
Staff Sgt. Veleka McSween
Senior Airman Amanda Mills-Saur
Airman 1st Class Jarrell Morgan
Staff Sgt. John Ryan Mutuc
Airman 1st Class Brian Namniek
Tech. Sgt. Matthew Nece
Airman Cleophas Newton
Airman 1st Class Benjamen Nienhouse
Senior Master Sgt. Sharon O'Connor
Airman 1st Class Michael Pawlak
Airman Erik Pepper
Senior Airman Erik Petersen
Airman 1st Class Johnathan Pierpoint
1st Lt. Victoria Porto
Capt. Marilou Quirk
Capt. Matthew Redaja
Senior Airman Ariel Reed
Airman 1st Class Tabitha Ryals
Airman 1st Class Alphonzo Sapp
Senior Airman Matthew Sarangay
Senior Airman Charles Scarbrough
Senior Airman Howard Schilling
Airman 1st Class Jae Shin
Airman 1st Class Tyler Strickland
Maj. Christopher Tooman
Airman 1st Class Ryan Torres
Staff Sgt. Luis Valencia
Staff Sgt. Taylor Vandenboogaard
Staff Sgt. Elizabeth Vasquez
Airman 1st Class Daniel Vendetta
Senior Airman Ayesha Villamor
Capt. Todd Walker
Airman 1st Class Rachel Whitlatch
Senior Airman Samantha Whittle
Senior Airman Irvin Williams
Senior Airman Winarto
Airman 1st Class Daniel Woods
Staff Sgt. Karl Yeager
Senior Master Sgt. Alan Yoshida
Airman 1st Class Michael Zamora
1st Lt. Joanna Zemek

The following squadrons each took a shift from June to December 2011 as part of AADD 2.0:

1st Special Operations Group
1st Special Operations Maintenance Group
1st Special Operations Wing Staff Agencies
1st Special Operations Aerospace Medicine Squadron
1st Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
1st Special Operations Communications Squadron
1st Special Operations Contracting Squadron
1st Special Operations Dental Squadron
1st Special Operations Equipment Maintenance Squadron
1st Special Operations Force Support Squadron
1st Special Operations Logistics Squadron
1st Special Operations Medical Operations Squadron
1st Special Operations Medical Support Squadron
1st Special Operations Support Squadron
1st Special Operations Security Forces Squadron
4th Special Operations Squadron
8th Special Operations Squadron
34th Special Operations Squadron
319th Special Operations Squadron
505th Command and Control Wing
801st Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
823rd RED HORSE Squadron
U.S. Air Force Special Operations School