SGT. TYWANDIA KING
While riding to lunch with a couple of friends, one of them said, “Hey, did y’all hear what happened to Jodie? She was killed in a car wreck.” I was shocked. Jodie and I had just made plans on Facebook to meet up before she deployed. I wondered how this could have happened. Then another friend said, “You know she was never a good driver.”
Does this sound familiar? Do you know someone who is complacent, acts carelessly, thinks they know it all or just doesn’t care about anyone but himself or herself? What did you do to correct this behavior? Oftentimes we do nothing because we don’t think it’s our problem. But you’re wrong; it is your problem.
Those Soldiers who are dying due to distracted driving, speeding or driving under the influence are our battle buddies, family members, peers and loved ones. We sometimes choose to overlook their carelessness when they are with us. But when you get that preliminary loss report, it’s too late to intervene. If you knew your buddy was in danger, why didn’t you say something?
We do the right thing and watch our battle buddy’s back when deployed, so why not do the same when we go out to that bar or party? Yes, you may sometimes feel like a downer for being the voice of reason, but aren’t your friends’ lives worth it? All you have to do is be proactive. If you plan to drink, have a designated driver. If your friends are drinking, offer to be their sober driver. While you are at it, go ahead and put your cellphone in the glove box until you get to your destination. You can respond to that call or text when you arrive safely.
As a Soldier, you are important to the Army. As a person, you are important to those who love and care for you. Keep that in mind when you’re tempted to do the wrong thing because there are no do-overs. If you die in a careless accident, your family suffers and your friends live with regrets. Make the right choices and continue the mission. No drink, text message or other distraction is worth your life.
We are losing too many Soldiers to careless acts. We have to protect one another. We are the first line of defense. It’s time to be leaders in every aspect of our lives.