MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
As St. Patrick’s Day rolls around, service members and civilians start to make plans, many of which include paying a visit to local bars to socialize and throw back a few drinks.
While drinking is not prohibited in the Marine Corps, getting behind the wheel after drinking a few is. This can at times put Marines into a predicament once the bar closes and they need to return home or to the barracks to sleep it off.
“But, it was only a few beers,” some may say, even then, there is always a better option available to them: the Arrive Alive program. It is available not only to Marines aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, but all service members who call the base ‘home,’ guaranting a safe passage back to their barracks.
“It’s a single card that has all the taxi cabs that are partnered with the program,” said Staff Sgt. J. Ken Imamura, the substance abuse counseling officer for Headquarters and Support Battalion, MCB Camp Lejeune. “This was put in place as a safe alternative for those Marines who didn’t plan ahead or had a change of plans.”
A common myth is that a Marine will get punished for using the Arrive Alive program, said Imamura. Even Marines who are underage can use the program, they already made a mistake of drinking, which will require them to go through the substance abuse rehabilitation program, they shouldn’t risk driving and getting in trouble for that as well.
Once a service member has called a cab company listed on the back of the Arrive Alive card, they will be picked up and dropped off at the Officer of the Day’s duty hut in Building 60. From there they will have three days to repay their battalion for the full price of the trip.
“The only advice I can offer is that once they get into the cab, to not give the cab driver any trouble, that’s where the repercussions can happen,” said Imamura. “Aside from that, if they arrive at their destination without a problem they won’t get in trouble.”
Imamura also spoke on the importance of having back-up plans and pacing oneself if they do decide to drink.
“The Arrive Alive card should be used as a last resort,” said Imamura. “They should plan out the night before it starts by either having a place to sleep or having someone who is responsible drive them home. If someone does start to drink they should pace themselves, four to five drinks in a single hour is considered excessive drinking.”
The designated driver is not just responsible for driving a Marine back to their barracks room, they are also responsible for the actions of any of those that are drinking.
“We look out for each other in the field and deployments, there should be no reason we can’t do that when were out having a good time as well,” said Imamura. “We’re all fellow service men and women. We look out for our own.”
To obtain an Arrive Alive card for you or your unit contact your chain of command.