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Oceana Squadron Rides Safe for 1,000 Days

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070330-23
Release Date: 3/30/2007 1:17:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Tyler Jones, Fleet Public Affairs Center, Atlantic

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (NNS) -- The “Valions” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 15 at Naval Air Station Oceana reached a major milestone March 27 when they marked 1,000 consecutive days of alcohol- and drug-free motor vehicle operation, including no incidents involving driving under the influence (DUI).

Rear Adm. David Anderson, Vice Commander of U.S. Fleet Forces Command, was on hand to congratulate Sailors and present the command with a commemorative plaque marking the achievement.

Cmdr. Peter Matisoo, VFA-15’s commanding officer, praised the Sailors for their accomplishment, saying good decision-making played a major role in the achievement.

“I’m extremely proud of them,” said Matisoo. “I think this represents only a small fraction of what they’re capable of doing. The Sailors of VFA-15 have really made the right choices.”

Chief Yeoman (SW) Christine Lenore, VFA-15’s command drug and alcohol program advisor (DAPA), said the milestone has been in the making for some time, with aggressive prevention programs and a command climate that stresses personal responsibility.

“When I took over as the command DAPA, we were up to about 700 days DUI free,” said Lenore. “As things went on, we got to about 800 days and realized we had something special happening here. I feel like we’re really saving lives and careers.”

Lenore credits the success to each of the command’s 260 Sailors, paired with programs like “Safe Ride” and “We Care.” Both programs are run by the squadron’s chiefs and senior petty officers to encourage members to call other Valions for a ride home if they find themselves in a potentially dangerous situation.

“It really boils down to our people,” she said. “Our folks here have done an outstanding job of owning their own actions.”

Personnel Specialist 3rd Class Adrian Hunter of VFA-15 knows firsthand the importance of making the right choices.

“My next door neighbor was killed in a DUI accident, along with two other people in the car,” he said. “It was traumatic because he was only 22 years old and the other two people were only 18.”

Hunter said it’s important for him to always have a plan before going anywhere.

“I always use ORM (operational risk management) and make a solid plan before I go out,” said Hunter. “We always have a designated driver or just take a cab home.”

LeNorfeia Holder, a substance abuse program specialist in the Office of Navy Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention, said that VFA-15’s achievement illustrates a command actively engaging in promoting an atmosphere intolerant of substance abuse and should be seen as an example.

“VFA-15 reaching a goal such as this has fostered an environment that motivates Sailors to take pride at all times in self, shipmates, command and leadership,” said Holder.

Holder stressed the importance of Sailors supporting the “Rights Spirit” campaign in both their on and off duty lives.

“Sailors must understand their roles and responsibilities and recognize the adverse effect alcohol has on all hands,” she said.

Sailors with questions about substance abuse prevention programs can contact their work center supervisor, command DAPA, or Fleet and Family Support Center.

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