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Twentynine Palms, California
Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command and Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center

Marines and sailors maintain readiness

19 Feb 2016 | Story by Lance Cpl. Thomas Mudd Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms

MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - The Combat Center is participating in the Protect What You’ve Earned Campaign. The campaign is a Corps-wide initiative to encourage Marines and sailors to maintain safe drinking practices, which in turn protects their title, rank and career.

According to Bill Smith, alcohol prevention specialist, Substance Abuse Program, the installation has been addressing the issue of alcohol abuse before the start of the campaign. In the last few years, the amount of instances involving driving under the influence has steadily decreased. Between 2007 and 2015 the number of DUIs has decreased by 63%. With the Combat Center already making headway to prevent alcohol related instances, the Protect What You’ve Earned Campaign will only further the installation’s efforts to stop alcohol abuse.

“Marines and sailors earn their title,” Smith said. “By drinking irresponsibly they put that title, and more, on the line. This campaign will help keep the base mission ready, and in return protect the Marine Corps.”

Combat Center leadership continues to educate their Marines and sailors on the risks associated with drinking by arming them with the tools and knowledge needed to make responsible choices.

Carleen Dickson, substance abuse prevention specialist, SAP, says units have expressed an increased interest in substance abuse education programs such as the Primed for Life 4.5 class.

“The class is geared toward people between the ages of 17 to 25,” Dickson said. “It further explains the difference between low risk and high risk behaviors and how those behaviors affect the unit. With the units aboard the base asking for more of this class, we hope the Marines and sailors who participate take that knowledge and use it to safeguard themselves.”

Low risk drinking is classified by an individual drinking no more than 14 standard drinks in one week, with only drinking one standard drink per hour. Anything above this is considered high risk drinking. Marines and sailors take care of the individuals to their left and right. They can do this one responsible decision at a time.

“One of the things that we tell people to do is to self-refer,” Dickson said. “A ‘self-referral’ is when an individual comes in to receive help before they get into trouble. If people self-refer, then we can help them make decisions that will not jeopardize their health, their unit’s readiness or their careers.”

Alcohol abuse affects more than unit readiness. There are repercussions to the individual's health and their actions can affect their friends and loved ones. It is the choice of the Marine or sailor to make a responsible decisions but the Combat Center affords these service members the resources and support that are sometimes needed. For any information regarding help with substance abuse, contact the SAP office at 760-830-6376.

Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms