USS HARRY S. TRUMAN, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) is promoting alcohol awareness and responsible drinking during a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Prevention Fair May 26-31.
Senior Trooper Joseph Ferland, a member of the Virginia State Police who is aboard Truman to assist with the fair, explained the primary purpose of the fair is to show the Sailors how their actions affect others around them including the consequences.
"One of the challenges is to show Sailors the importance of not drinking and driving. I would like to know that out of 5,000 people on this ship, that more than just one or two Sailors listen and adhere to what we had to say and take to heart that we're not here to just shove information at them," said Ferland.
"We want them to realize the consequences behind their actions and to use common sense and understand the repercussions that if it does happen, they may lose their life as well."
The Safety department, along with almost every other department aboard, is pitching in. They have set up very elaborate scenes for each station with the primary goal of keeping Sailors involved and engaged. The scenarios give Sailors a small sample of what it will be like if they choose to drink and drive.
"The DUI Prevention Fair starts with a safety center brief followed by drug and alcohol training from [the]Drug and Alcohol Program Advisor," said Boatswain's Mate 1st Class (SW/AW) Eric Wiggins, one of Safety department's personnel in charge of coordinating the event.
"The scenario itself begins with Sailors leaving a club while intoxicated. You get into an accident and state troopers are on the scene. The state trooper gives you a field sobriety test. From there, you go to the hospital to see the family who was involved in the accident. After that, you go to captain's mast where you get 30 days of restriction. Then you go in front of the judge who will sentence you to time in the jail that we made. The next step after that, you'll go to jail."
In the final stage of the fair, Sailors attend the funeral of the person who was 'killed' in the accident. The participants stand in front of a small casket and listen to the chaplain's eulogy.
"The biggest thing about the funeral is that it is not an adult who was killed In this scenario, the fatality is an infant. It is really going to open Sailors' eyes when they see that it was an infant that they 'killed,'" said Wiggins.
Sailors don't usually think about the fatalities. They only think about the risk of captain's mast or jail, not the family who lost their child.
"Once they get into it, Sailors start to think 'Well, I knew that. I didn't know that.' It's basically about keeping them interested," said Wiggins. "A lot of Sailors think 'we're out to sea, I'm not going to go out and drinking and driving,' but they are going to realize the importance of it when we pull into port and are again faced with the choice of whether or not to drink and drive."
According to Ferland, Sailors need to see the big picture when it comes to drinking and driving. Twenty seven percent of the fatalities of Sailors and Marines who have died while stationed in Virginia have been alcohol-related, Ferland noted.
"Walking away from this, Sailors need to realize that if you drink and drive you're taking a chance with your life and everyone else on the road. What if you get hit by a drunk driver? You could get killed just as easily getting hit by someone else that was drinking and driving. Just put yourself in the other person's shoes if you were to lose your daughter, your wife or your husband," said Wiggins.
With the end of deployment only days away, the DUI Prevention Fair will help Sailors make sound decisions and remain safe in homeport by giving them the tools and knowledge they need to make the right choices throughout their career and life.
For more tolls on having a safe summer during the critical days of summer campaign, visit www.safetycenter.navy.mil/seasonal/criticaldays.
For more news from USS Harry S. Truman, visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn75/.