NORFOLK NAVAL STATION, Va. -- After returning home from back-to-back deployments, USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) (Ike) introduced a new tool Aug. 20 that will be a valuable asset in promoting responsible alcohol use among the crew. The ship started using alcohol detection devices (ADDs) on the quarterdeck as part of an intiative to promote the well-beling of Ike Sailors.
Capt. Steve Koehler, Ike's commanding officer, and Capt. Nick Dienna, Ike's executive officer, were the first to familiarize themselves with the new devices when duty section personnel administered the test to them. "The Navy implemented the ADD program as a way to promote a greater understanding and awareness of the effects of irresponsible use of alcohol," Koehler said. "It is in place not for punishment, but both as a deterrent and as a tool to educate our Sailors, and to ensure the health and safety of everyone on Ike." In addition to assisting the command in its efforts to promote the responsible use of alcohol, the ADDs will also help identify Sailors who may not be fit for duty as a result of their alcohol consumption decisions.
"The ADD is a [breath analyzer] that will assist the command with identifying Sailors who may require support before an incident occurs due to the irresponsible use of alcohol," said Chief Electronics Technician Greg Reno, coordinator of the ship's ADD program. "The information gained from this testing will have a great effect on the command and whether it is mission-ready or not." A Sailor whose ADD test indicates a 0.04 percent or greater blood alcohol content (BAC) shall be presumed not ready to safely perform hazardous duties (i.e., operate equipment, carry a weapon, etc.). That Sailor would then be relieved of duty, retained onboard the ship and automatically referred to a Drug and Alcohol Prevention and Awareness (DAPA) program counselor. Sailors under the legal drinking age who blow a BAC of 0.02 to 0.04 percent will be turned over to their departments as well as DAPA. Referral to the DAPA will not be considered an alcohol-related incident.
Additional non-punitive actions, focused on safety, training, counseling and education, may be implemented at the discretion of the commanding officer. "The intent of this program is to ensure that [Sailors are] safe until they are alcohol-free," Reno said. Reno said that while this program is new to Ike, it has already enjoyed success at several other commands throughout the fleet.
"At first this program will be looked at as if the command is trying to find a way to get people in trouble for drinking, when the command is really just trying to get Sailors help if they have a problem," Reno said. "After everyone sees how this program works and learns what the system is in place for, I feel everything will be normal, and it will be just like the urinalysis program." The ADDs will only be implemented on Sailors' duty days and during normal working hours. Policies and produces pertaining to the program are outlined in commanding officer policy memorandum 13.3.