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AADD; never leave an Airman behind

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Madison Lyon, 18th Logistic Readiness Squadron supply journeyman, starts her car after receiving a call while on-duty for the Airmen Against Drunk Driving program at Kadena Air Base, Japan, Aug. 21, 2015.  The AADD program is an initiative on Kadena that helps any Status of Forces Agreement personnel within three miles of Kadena get home safely. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Zackary A. Henry)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Madison Lyon, 18th Logistic Readiness Squadron supply journeyman, starts her car after receiving a call while on-duty for the Airmen Against Drunk Driving program at Kadena Air Base, Japan, Aug. 21, 2015. The AADD program is an initiative on Kadena that helps any Status of Forces Agreement personnel within three miles of Kadena get home safely. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Zackary A. Henry)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Ashmiru Sallu-sam, 18th Civil Engineer squadron water and fuels systems apprentice, answers the Airmen Against Drunk Driving on-call phone at Kadena Air Base, Japan, Aug. 21, 2015. The AADD program saves an average of 40 lives and careers each weekend. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Zackary A. Henry)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Ashmiru Sallu-sam, 18th Civil Engineer squadron water and fuels systems apprentice, answers the Airmen Against Drunk Driving on-call phone at Kadena Air Base, Japan, Aug. 21, 2015. The AADD program saves an average of 40 lives and careers each weekend. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Zackary A. Henry)

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- A small group of Airmen sit in a quiet lobby, waiting for the phone to ring, passing the time with television shows and studying for classes throughout the night.

That is what the average night looks like for an Airman on duty for the Airmen Against Drunk Driving program here on Kadena Air Base, Japan.

"Drunk driving is awful, whether you're in the military or not," said Lyon. "This program saves lives by helping prevent drunken driving incidences which prevent DUIs and careers being sacrificed because of a mistake that can be avoided with a simple phone call."

It's our duty to be ambassadors and maintain a positive image in the local community. DUIs do not uphold that positive image.

"We have to show respect for our host nation," said Airman 1st Class Madison Lyon, 18th Logistics Readiness Squadron supply journeyman. "This program helps us make sure we maintain our image and get along with the community."

Since the curfew changed in December, the AADD program's activity has almost doubled with an average of 40 lives and careers saved each weekend. That's 40 DUI charges avoided.

"I think a lot of negativity from host nations can come from the afterhours off-base stuff that is alcohol related," said Lyon. "And the military is so much more than that; local nationals only get to see those incidences."

Although the AADD program is designed to help SOFA status individuals, some volunteers have completely separate reasons for volunteering.

"I have seen the negative effects of drinking and driving and what it can have on a person and personally I wouldn't wish that on anyone," said Airman 1st Class Ashmiru Sallu-sam, 18th Civil Engineer Squadron water and fuels systems apprentice. "I think the AADD program is a really great thing to do to make sure people don't ruin their lives and careers."

The idea behind the AADD program is to give any status of forces agreement member another option to get home safely after a night out for drinks. That includes going off base to a restaurant or bar, or even just visiting friends on base.

The AADD program is not a 24 hour 7 days a week operation however, and does not cater to the entire island.

"We operate from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday," said Lyon. "We go and pick people up, wherever they are at, within a three mile radius and take them back to their residence; completely free and completely anonymous."

In short, there are no excuses to drink and drive. Between AADD and the local taxi services, there is always another way.

For more information about AADD or to use their services call 098-961-2233 or DSN at 634-2233 Friday to Saturday from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m.