NMCB 11 Leaders Intent on Saving Lives, Preventing Drunk Driving

(by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jonathan Carmichael)

GULFPORT, Miss. (December 18, 2011) When a Seabee has had too much to drink and needs to get home, he or she has a few options.  Obviously, getting behind the wheel and driving anywhere is the worst decision that someone who isn’t sober can make.  Equally as dangerous is putting trust in another driver who has been drinking.  Calling a cab is a better option, but poses its own challenges, not the least of which is the cost.

What is one to do, walk home?  Sure, that’s a terrific option for someone who lives next door to the drinking establishment, but what about everyone else? 

Seabees, what if there were a number to call and someone would come pick you up, take you home, not lecture you, not question you, – and- it was free of charge?  “If only…,” right?  But wait; there is such a phone number.  It is the number for Leaders Against Drunk Driving (LADD), and it’s given to everyone in Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 11 during orientation and General Military Training (GMT).

“LADD: We will bring you home.  No questions asked, anywhere, anytime; one hundred percent amnesty; regardless of age or rank.  We will come get you.  1st classes do care.  That pretty much sums it up,” said NMCB 11 LADD Coordinator, Builder 1st Class Anthony Boldrey of Newton, IL.

In NMCB 11, LADD is comprised of members of the 1st Class Petty Officers’ Mess.  There is a weekly rotation for each volunteer member in which the official LADD cell phone is kept by the person on LADD duty.  That person refrains from drinking any alcohol and remains available and on-call until he or she turns the phone over to the next volunteer in the rotation.

“We do this 100-percent voluntarily,” said Boldrey.  The only piece not funded by the individual LADD volunteer is the official LADD cell phone which is provided by the command.  The vehicle, the gas, and other expenses are furnished by each volunteer.

“It’s imperative that anonymity is adhered to.  We never discuss the identity of those we’ve picked up; even in our LADD meetings.  It’s our policy,” asserts Boldrey.  He puts it in even simpler, more decisive terms; “No log book.  No tracking.  No questions.”

It’s easy to understand why anonymity is strictly enforced.  One misstep by one LADD volunteer and the entire program loses its credibility.  If a Seabee doesn’t trust LADD or fears negative repercussions for using the program then he or she will likely rule out LADD as an option for getting home safely.  That could possibly lead to a decision resulting in a DUI, a crash, injuries, or worse, a motor vehicle fatality.

According to Boldrey, the program is successful.  “We’ve responded to over 50 calls this homeport.  A lot of the time it’s the peers who confiscate the person’s keys and make the call to LADD for them.  I’ll sometimes respond to a call and end up driving five people home.  I have absolutely no problem with that,” states Boldrey.

Another thing that Boldrey and the other LADD members don’t have a problem with is responding to a call out of state, day or night.  “It doesn’t matter where or what time.  We’ve responded to calls in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama,” said Boldrey.

However, a challenge LADD does face is convincing the person to stay put exactly where the responder wants them to.  According to Boldrey, people tend to wander off, and it can become a challenge for the driver to locate him or her.

Boldrey said that it is important for the individual who calls LADD to know that the Leaders care about him or her.  “The number one priority of LADD is the troops, as it should be.  As leaders, when we get the call, it’s not time to question because (the individuals) need you.”

Boldrey encourages all NMCB 11 Seabees to program the LADD phone number in their cell phones.

For more information please contact the NMCB 11 quarterdeck.

About jcarmichael