Laughlin, JBSA team up to end drunk driving

Base Airmen Against Drunk Driving, or BAADD for short, is a program on Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas that’s used to anonymously provide Airmen a free and anonymous ride home from the neighboring community of Del Rio, Texas, in case they are too intoxicated to drive. As of June 15, 2018, the Laughlin BAADD council joined forced with Joint Base San Antonio, Texas’ own Armed Forces Against Drunk Driving, or AADD, to provide any service member traveling to San Antonio an anonymous, military sourced alternative to getting to a hotel room or back on base. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Airman 1st Class Anne McCready)

LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --

Base Airmen Against Drunk Driving, or BAADD for short, is a program on Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas that’s used to provide Airmen a free and anonymous ride home from the neighboring community of Del Rio, Texas, in case they are too intoxicated to drive.

But what if an Airman decides to go to San Antonio, outside the purview of BAADD, and becomes too intoxicated to drive?

As of June 15, the Laughlin BAADD council joined forces with Joint Base San Antonio, Texas’ own Armed Forces Against Drunk Driving, or AADD, to provide any service member in the San Antonio area an anonymous, military sourced alternative to getting to a hotel room or back on to any base in the JBSA network.

“They will give you a ride to wherever you are staying, taxi you to a hotel or back to base, and they can even tow your car as well in case you need it or are in bad situation,” said Airman 1st Class Ashley Davis, BAADD secretary. “They will even drive your car as well, so you don’t need to worry about picking up your car wherever it was last left off.”

Tech. Sgt. Ross Farneth, BAADD president, stated that he started looking for a solution after receiving feedback from Airmen about the program, and from past incidents that had happened in San Antonio.

“Somebody had the great idea and told us, ‘being such a remote base, we’re always out at San Antonio and we don’t know what to do if we have a designated driver, but they start drinking,’” said Farneth. “That sort of sparked the need to enter this partnership.”

Davis says the security, anonymity and price are the highlights of the program, which set it apart from other methods one could use while in the San Antonio area. The BAADD council also stated that any service members looking to travel to Del Rio can use Laughlin’s BAADD program as well with the new program.

“Being able to give them a safe and affordable alternative where they can also trust the person they’re being picked up by and knowing they are another service member, helps create a safer situation,” she said.

According to both Farneth and David, trust in the driver and anonymity are the cornerstones of the BAADD program and its new partnership with the AADD program.

“The only thing that the driver or anyone will do is check to see if you are a service member,” said Davis. “That is because we only provide this to service members, but we don’t look at name, rank, date of birth, AFSC (Air Force Specialty Code) or anything like that. The only information that’s collected is numbers of pickups for our volunteers in the program.”

Farneth also reiterated the importance of BAADD’s anonymity of the program and coincided them with some of the concerns expressed to him and the program’s councilmembers in the past. One concern, according to Farneth, is intoxicated service members under the legal drinking age incriminating themselves by using the service.

“If you are under the age of 21, it doesn’t mean we’re not going to give you a ride home. We would prefer you didn’t say that, because as military members we are obligated to report it,” said Farneth. “But if you’re 19 and out drinking and you call AADD, nobody is going to verify your age to use the service. Some people may think that’s fishy, but we’re there to take care of the person whose already made one wrong. We don’t want them to make another wrong by trying to drive home.”

Farneth and Davis both stated that another perk of the partnership for current and future volunteers of both Laughlin and JBSA’s programs is the partnership keeps the drivers and dispatchers independent of each other. This reduces the workload and potential for calls outside the drivable area for each base.

For more information, contact Farneth at 298-6429. For JBSA AADD program, call (210) 710-7171 between the hours of 9:45 p.m. to 2:15 a.m., and for Laughlin’s BAADD program, call (830) 298-4663 between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m.