No ARIs…no excuses…drink responsibly

by Brig. Gen. C.K. Hyde
86th Airlift Wing commander

Alcohol-related incidents are a serious issue for our Airmen, families and local community. ARIs directly affect our ability to conduct our military mission, disrupt unit manning and productivity, and create additional burdens on unit leadership.

Airmen can and must make responsible choices involving alcohol consumption. ARIs are avoidable ― the circumstances leading up to them are directly shaped by our choices. We must make responsible choices, and our decisions must reflect “service before self.” No excuse can justify the behavior that negatively impacts our mission, people and community. Therefore, our bottom line is: “No ARIs…no excuses…drink responsibly.”

Our first pillar for combating ARIs is Mission Focus. ARIs directly impede mission success by creating additional workloads such as investigations, medical attention and disciplinary proceedings, thereby distracting us from our mission.

ARIs result in harmful and costly consequences, including the death of our Airmen. We must discuss the negative impact of alcohol abuse on mission accomplishment.

Questions we should all consider: Who depends on me? What is my role in mission accomplishment? Does my alcohol use make me less dependable or impact my unit’s mission?
Our second pillar for defeating ARIs is Taking Care of Each Other. We must reinvigorate the wingman concept. A wingman should never be our excuse for irresponsible choices and behaviors. Wingmen must step in before a situation escalates and help ensure right decisions are made in the first place. Most importantly, Airmen should not make choices that put their wingmen in vulnerable or risky positions.

Questions we should all consider: Am I a good wingman? Do I make a positive difference as a wingman, leader and warrior? Do I use a wingman as an excuse to abuse alcohol and put my wingman at risk?

Finally, our third pillar for eliminating ARIs is Personal Accountability. Personal Accountability means taking ownership of our actions and adhering to Air Force standards and core values.

Using the core values as a guide is essential to good decision-making. On- and off-duty decisions have significant impacts on our mission, units and families. Our nation depends on responsible and reliable Airmen.

Questions we should all consider: Do I value my profession? Do I live up to Air Force core values? Does alcohol undermine my professionalism and commitment to our core values?

We need to be mindful of the high costs of alcohol-related incidents. Last year, our Air Force lost 13 Airmen to fatal accidents involving alcohol, including one Airman from Ramstein.  Many Airmen with great potential have ended their careers because they failed to meet their personal responsibility due to poor choices and often-criminal behavior related to the use of alcohol. Our mission, families and communities demand responsible alcohol use. Anything less directly undermines the defense of our nation.

One final question: Do you or someone you know struggle with responsible alcohol use? If so, have the courage to ask for help or intervene.

ARIs are not inevitable. We can eliminate or significantly reduce them through Mission Focus, Taking Care of Each Other and Personal Accountability.

NO ARIs…no excuses…drink responsibly.