Despite jokes, Kadena officials say ‘ZZ13’ is working
January 11, 2006
KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa — Ask some what they think of Kadena’s “ZZ13” campaign aimed at reducing binge drinking among airmen, and the responses range from polite dismissal to outright derision.
It’s a nice idea, they say; however, many airmen aren’t taking it very seriously.
Fully launched in September, ZZ13 asks airmen to abide by the following mantra: zero incidents of underage drinking, zero “alcohol-related incidents,” one drink per hour and three drinks per night.
“There are people at the Airman’s Club shouting ‘ZZ13!’ while they get drunk,” said Senior Airman Callie Price, of the 18th Communications Squadron. “You would have to make it a rule, not a suggestion. But then the Airman’s Club would lose too much money.”
Even if it were made a rule, those looking for ways around it would drink in their dorms, airmen said.
Kadena officials acknowledge that some airmen joke about the ZZ13 program, but they say that even joking is a mark of progress in their campaign against binge drinking.
“If they’re making fun of it, they’re aware of it and they know what it’s about,” said Kadena spokesman Lt. Col. Mike Paoli. “If you look at the statistics, however, it’s working … very well.”
Kadena ended 2005 with 95 arrests for driving under the influence on base, three more than the previous year, according to base statistics. However, the pace has slowed considerably since mid-year, when the base’s 63 DUIs were a 28 percent increase over 2004’s mid-year figure.
The number of total alcohol-related crimes and incidents was unavailable at press time.
Airmen such as Senior Airman Matthew Rooney say there have been fewer incidences of serious alcohol abuse since the liberty card and ZZ13 programs began.
“I get a lot more sleep at night,” said Rooney, who is on-call for ambulance duty 24 hours a day. “There are less calls during the later hours of the night.”
Others say that while the liberty card curfews have reduced drinking and incidents off base, ZZ13 hasn’t limited alcohol abuse on base enough.
“I think it has helped with off-base incidents,” said Airman 1st Class Ashley Swink. “It’s almost like they brought everything on base. I think they relocated the problem.”
It’s unlikely the problem will ever be completely solved, airmen said. While most are generally forgiving when it comes to minor alcohol-related incidents, some suggested tougher punishments for DUI offenders.
“Take away two stripes and add additional duty,” Price said. “If I got busted down one stripe to A1C, losing $75 a month is not too serious. But if I got busted down to airman, that would really stick.”