Alcohol use, and more importantly, alcohol abuse, are issues that each branch of the military faces. Posing a threat to the health and safety of both enlisted and officer alike, as well as the overall readiness and functioning ability of each branch as a whole, it is an extremely difficult set of issues to handle, as alcohol use is deeply rooted within the culture and traditions of the Armed Forces. With all of this, the Navy has launched a new campaign that is not aimed at eliminating drinking or those traditions, but at helping Sailors think before they drink.
Stemming from research collected by the Navy Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Office, which compiled information from the surveys of over 700 Sailors, the “Keep What You’ve Earned” campaign aims to help eliminate the negative consequences that can occur when soldiers chose to drink and make mistakes.
“We recognized the need for an innovative strategy aimed at promoting responsible drinking among Sailors,” said Dorice Favorite, the Director of the Navy Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Office . “So we conducted interviews, focus groups, and an online survey to gain a better understanding of Sailors’ personal drinking habits and how alcohol consumption is perceived in the Navy as a whole.”
Bearing the slogan “You’ve Earned It, Don’t Waste It,” the campaign works towards highlighting Sailors accomplishments so far, a reminder of what they have earned, so that they know what they have to lose. This was the elected slogan after officials sifted through all of the surveys and research that was conducted in order to find out what Sailors valued and felt that they had the most to lose.
“The majority of Sailors we spoke with listed loss of pay, rank and other privileges as the most significant consequences of alcohol abuse,” said Favorite.
The initiative offers three courses of action for sailors to follow to ensure that they can still have a few, have some fun and stay out of the brig.
1. Plan ahead for a safe ride home, 2. Don’t try to “keep up” with your friends or shipmates and 3. Know your limit, before you get there. These are the simple paths that the program suggests to follow, that way sailors can still have a good time and keep what they have been working for their entire military career.
Posters featuring Sailors from the Jacksonville-Mayport-King’s Bay, Fla. Region will be issued out as part of the campaign amongst the five fleet communities of aviation, expeditionary, medical, submarine and surface.
“It was great to see how the campaign’s imagery represented each of the unique roles our Sailors serve in as part of the Navy, from medical corpsmen to aviation pilots,” said Cmdr. Jay Clark, USS Roosevelt (DDG 80) executive officer.
Calling it a “campaign for Sailors, by Sailors,” Favorite acknowledges that this whole process would not have happened if it weren’t for the feedback and cooperation of the Sailors who took part in all aspects of the initiative.
Now it will be interesting to see if this works, and if so, if the other branches will take notice and try the same approach.
See the posters and learn more at http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=73624