Take the Pledge to Drink Responsibly This Summer

By Rear Adm. Sean Buck
Director, 21st Century Sailor Office

The weather is getting warmer and the daylight is lasting longer. If you’re like me, these signs of summer are cause for celebration. Whether you celebrate with a Memorial Day barbeque, a day at the beach, or attending a local baseball game, I hope you choose to Keep What You’ve Earned.

A U.S. Navy graphic produced by Navy Personnel Command promoting the Navy's new responsible drinking campaign, "Keep What You've Earned."

A U.S. Navy graphic produced by Navy Personnel Command promoting the Navy’s new responsible drinking campaign, “Keep What You’ve Earned.”

Every summer preventable accidents take the lives of Sailors and many of these unfortunate incidents involve the use of alcohol. According to the Naval Safety Center, 16 Sailors and 10 Marines lost their lives last summer due to fatal mishaps, five of which were alcohol-related. While this was a 21 percent decrease from the previous summer, and a 30 percent decrease from the five-year average, this is still 26 too many lives lost.

To prevent these accidents from occurring, the Navy’s Keep What You’ve Earned campaign reminds Sailors that as responsible, decision-making adults, your career success is ultimately in your own hands. We’re not suggesting that if you’re of age you can’t drink—rather, if you choose to drink, you should do so responsibly.

In line with the Naval Safety Center’s summer safety awareness program, the Keep What You’ve Earned campaign is hosting its second annual “Play to Live, Live to Play” summer pledge available at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/SummerPledge2014. I’m requesting that all Navy personnel sign the pledge as a commitment to drinking responsibly during the next 101 days of summer.

The pledge asks you to commit to at least one responsible behavior: 1. Plan ahead for a safe ride home, 2. Don’t try to “keep up” with others, and 3. Know your limit for alcohol, before you get there, in addition to any other responsible drinking habits you’d like to commit to.

The pledge serves as personal commitment for Sailors to drink responsibly this summer and is completely confidential. The pledge submissions will not be used for statistical compilations for research or policy assessment purposes. Providing your name is completely optional, and no names will be attributed to the information submitted.

For Navy leadership and alcohol abuse prevention personnel, the Keep What You’ve Earned campaign also provides a wealth of resources for reinforcing these messages at your command. The summer months in particular are a great time to organize a Keep What You’ve Earned event, rally, or march using the campaign’s Event-in-a-Box toolkit, available at http://www.public.navy.mil/bupers-npc/support/21st_Century_Sailor/nadap/campaign_events/drinkresponsibly/Pages/OrderMaterials.aspx. Last year many commands held these events successfully on the Friday before a long liberty weekend.

When it comes to alcohol use, we all have a role in changing the social norms of our Navy and encouraging our shipmates to keep what you’ve earned. It’s simple: think before you drink. Make the pledge to drink responsibly this summer.

For more information on how you can encourage responsible drinking among Sailors, visit www.nadap.navy.mil or call 1-866-U-ASK-NPC.

Privacy Disclaimer: You are being invited to take part in a pledge titled “Play to Live Pledge.” Your decision to take part is voluntary and you may refuse to take part, or choose to stop taking part, at any time. A decision not to take part or to stop being a part of the pledge will not negatively impact you in any way. This pledge does NOT constitute as a survey and is for personal use only. Data will NOT be used for statistical compilations for research or policy assessment purposes. Providing your name is completely optional, and no names will be attributed to the information submitted.

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Take the Pledge to Drink Responsibly This Summer