USS HARRY S. TRUMAN, At Sea (NNS) -- A Sailor aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) recently introduced what may prove to be a unique and effective concept in alcohol awareness training, simply by wearing a T-shirt.
Aviation Boatswain's Mate [Fuel] Airman Brandon Barnes, who works in the paint locker, recently lost his cousin to an alcohol-related incident.
"She was on her way home from work when she was hit by a drunk driver," he said. "My family made memorial T-shirts with her picture on the front. The XO (executive officer) saw me wearing it in the gym and asked me about it. I told him about my cousin, and he asked me if I'd be interested in helping with DUI [driving under the influence] awareness T-shirts with the command DAPA and I said I would love to do it."
The executive officer spoke with Chief Aviation Boatswain's Mate [Fuel] (AW/SW) Thomas Lucas, command Drug and Alcohol Program advisor, and together they started to plan a special T-shirt made for Truman Sailors.
"The shirt would have the names of somebody dear to them who was killed by drunk drivers," said Lucas. "On the front of the shirt will probably be a logo or an emblem about DUIs, and on the back there will be a list of names."
Lucas said the shirt will affect Sailors aboard Truman by making them think about DUI deaths on a more personal level.
"A lot of people know Airman Barnes, and they can see how this affected his life," said Lucas. "I think it would help if people could match names with faces, so instead of having a picture of somebody you don't know, you'd see the face or the name of somebody you know personally."
"Every little bit can help," said Barnes. "If they can familiarize with a person wearing that shirt, they might see drunk driving in an entirely new light."
Barnes said he hopes the shirts help Sailors make the right decision to not sit behind the wheel after drinking alcohol.
"Almost everybody likes to drink, but not everybody is responsible," said Barnes. "They should have a plan. If plan A doesn't work out, then use plan B, maybe even plan C. Spend the night at a friend's house or use the Safe Ride program. Just don't do something you're going to regret once you're sober."
Barnes said alcohol consumption should not be taken lightly because there have been so many fatal alcohol-related incidents.
"Alcohol isn't something you just play around with anymore," said Barnes. "Too many people are losing lives, and too many lives are ruined because one person decided to make a stupid decision."
One often-cited statistic from the DUI awareness campaign is that the financial repercussions of catching a DUI charge can run in the tens of thousands. While this is true, Lucas said the price one pays runs much deeper than money.
"Be smart," he said. "If you take a life, that's going to be there forever. Money comes and goes, but if you take a life, you're going to have to live with that for the rest of your life."
For more news from USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn75/.