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Advertising in the Jet 48

  • Published
  • By Brig Gen Robert P. Steel
  • 48th Fighter Wing commander


QUESTION:
 

Many times a day on RAFL you hear and see messages regarding safety, designated drivers, Airman ZOT, and "don't drink and drive."
Many of these type of messages can be found in the Jet 48.

Twice now I have seen an advertisement in the Jet 48 for the Club Brazilia in Bury St. Edmunds. This advertisement also includes information for a "pre-party" at another establishment, the Karooze Bar.

Is the Jet 48 in such need of the almighty advertising dollar that it has to publish advertisements from an establishment that exists for no other reason than alcohol consumption?

I understand that the foundation of safety when alcohol is going to be a factor is to have a plan and to have a designated driver. I've seen the breakdown for many of the RAFL DUI's. They have always come down to the fact that the Airman in question did not have a plan and/or a designated driver.

Why then would a RAFL publication sell ad space to an establishment that first of all is only accessible by car, and secondly encourages excessive alcohol consumption with phrases such as "Pre-Party" and "Drinks £2.00 All Night?"

Our Airmen, especially our young ones who aren't of legal drinking age until they arrive in the UK don't need to be enticed or reminded through advertising to consume alcohol. They certainly don't need to be enticed away from Base to share road space with those who may not "have a plan."

If the Jet 48 is in dire need of funding, I will happily donate the cost of the ad for a week. I'd much rather be out a few dollars than have my Airmen (yes, they are mine, I take their safety very personally) tempted any more than they already are to engage in unsafe activities.

ANSWER:

Thanks for your concern regarding the safety of our Airmen. You are correct that programs like Airman ZOT, designated driver programs and safety messages are an important element in educating the base populace on making responsible choices. Responsible drinking, the tenet of Airman ZOT, accepts people will drink and socialize -- but helps promote a responsible, safe way to do so (one drink an hour, three drinks a night, and never getting behind the wheel after doing so).

Bottom line, regardless of an advertisement in the Jet 48 for a local club, our own Services or AAFES-run facilities which serve alcohol, or an ad in the local newspapers or Stars and Stripes, people will still go out and have a good time. Hopefully through education and promotion of programs like AADD, wingmen, and Airman ZOT, responsible decision making will occur when our Airmen head out for a night on the town.

As for the Jet 48, it is a contracted publisher who sells and publishes all advertisements, and not part of the base or Air Force public affairs team. This is how we have been able to produce the Jet 48 at no cost to the U.S. government - the contractor retains the advertising revenue. Part of the contract does include a clause to minimize alcohol and tobacco advertisements, when at all possible, but does not forbid the contractor from running these ads occasionally.

As you know, today is the last edition of the Jet 48 after 60 years of publication. As our Web-based news service for RAF Lakenheath, Liberty Live, comes on line next week, you'll be happy to know we won't include any advertisements on the Web. Check it out at www.lakenheath.af.mil

The Action Line is your direct link to me for complaints, suggestions or comments. It's not intended to replace the chain of command. When normal command agency channels haven't been able to resolve your concerns, call 226-2324, fax 226- 5637, e-mail ( Action.Line@lakenheath.af.mil), send through distribution (48 FW/PA), mail (48FW/PA, Unit 5210 Box 215 APO AE 09461-0215) or hand carry your Action Line to the public affairs office (Building 1085). You may remain anonymous; however, to receive a reply, please leave your name, unit, duty or home phone number and full APO mailing address. Names are confidential.