HHC NATO Brigade goes 1,000 days DUI free

by Sgt. 1st Class John S. Wollaston

TOMPKINS BARRACKS, Germany — It’s Friday afternoon in the orderly room of the Headquarters and Headquarters Company of the U.S. Army NATO Brigade and 1st Sgt. Eurika Adams-Beaty is delivering the weekly safety briefing.

“Everyone here knows what I’m about to tell you, do not drink and drive,” the first sergeant said.

Beaty emphasizes every word of the sentence, driving home the message once again to the Soldiers of her company. And at the end of every week when the briefing is given, and those words are spoken, HHC adds another seven days to an impressive streak; more than 1,000 days without an incident of a Soldier or civilian in the unit being charged with driving under the influence.

Break it down and that equals roughly 142 plus weeks without a DUI. It also equates to 24,000 hours since a military police officer or German Polizei officer has called the company commander informing him that one of his Soldiers had been stopped for being drunk.

It has also been nearly 1.5 million minutes since the first sergeant has been notified to come to the MP station to pick up a Soldier for DUI, and more than two and a half years since the brigade commander has had to administer non-judicial punishment for a Soldier driving under the influence.

“This is well over two and half years. In my eyes it is commendable,” said NATO Brigade Safety Officer Martin Elliott. “I would argue that in Europe, one day without a DWI/DUI is an accomplishment.”

One “commendable” day multiplied by 999 more days puts a tremendous pressure on the individual Soldiers within the unit not to be “that guy” — the Soldier who breaks the streak. That pressure is multiplied if you’re a new company commander who assumes responsibility for maintaining the consecutive days of the company being DUI free.

“Well, of course I don’t want to be the commander that broke the thousand plus DUI free days, but I rarely think about it,” said Capt. Richard C. Evans III, who took over command of HHC in May. “I may joke about it during the safety brief, but I believe the Soldiers and civilians in the organization take pride in the DUI free streak and are making the right decisions out there on the weekends. I have full confidence that this will continue no matter who is in command.”

The Soldiers of HHC NATO Brigade are confident as well that the “DUI Free” streamer won’t come off of their guidon for awhile either. Besides knowing the consequences of being charged with a DUI, especially in an era of downsizing in the Army, when the smallest infractions could be a career ender, there is a knowledge among the Soldiers that all they have to do is call and another Soldier will be there to pick them up, should they find themselves in a situation where they’ve had too much to drink.

“I enjoy when my Soldiers know what right looks like and what it truly means.” Beaty said. “They take their lives and the lives of others seriously and it means more to me because we do not have selfish individuals in our unit. We look out for each other’s well-being and that’s what means the most. I have never been in a unit that went this long DUI free. I think it’s awesome.”

(Editor’s Note: As of July 2, HHC NATO Brigade has gone 1,023 days without a DUI or DWI incident.)