By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Christian B. Martinez

BREMERTON, Wash. – It happens every day. Someone drinks, they try to drive home and they die or kill someone in a crash.

It happened to the owner of the broken and demolished car that sat on a trailer on Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton. The twisted metal and shattered glass no longer held passengers but it forever holds a powerful message. Don’t drink and drive.

The crash vehicle, provided by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), was used by the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis to help bring awareness to and prevent drunken driving incidents.

An impaired driver of another vehicle struck the driver of the crash vehicle on the freeway. Both were killed on impact.

Marsha Masters, the Kitsap County chapter president for MADD, spoke about how she was personally affected by irresponsible driving during a command safety stand down.

“I am a retired school teacher who lost a student to an alcohol-related crash,” said Masters. “I was that teacher who had to come in on Monday morning and have that empty seat in my classroom. I can tell you that was by far the lowest point in my teaching career.”

Also included in the stand down was a poignant and very personal story by guest speaker Jessica Brooks, a native of Washington who lost her mother in a DUI accident. She explained how her life was forever changed by someone else’s poor decision.

“I grew up very angry because one person ruined my childhood by stealing my mother, my identity and everything I was at the age of seven,” said Brooks.

“He had every opportunity to do something else. He had every opportunity to make a different decision.”

Furthermore, Sailors who drink and drive face penalties under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) which can affect their pay grade, benefits and support to their families.

“Getting a DUI can result in a pay grade reduction, being put on restriction and possible separation from the Navy,” said Master-at-Arms 1st Class Jeremy Hines, from Wilmington, N.C. “This means losing G.I. benefits, basic housing allowance and little to no contact with family while on restriction.”

However, every Stennis Sailor should be aware that the worst case scenario is not just losing money, status or liberty time. Although the demolished vehicle has been removed, its message remains in hopes that a tragedy will not occur again.

“Please let me be the last daughter to lose a mother,” said Brooks. “Please let me be the last person to lose someone from this.”

Stennis is currently undergoing a Docking Planned Incremental Availability (DPIA) maintenance period at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility.

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