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Airmen learn about drunk driving in non-routine way

Senior Master Sgt. James Lambert, 153rd Airlift Wing Student Flight 
noncommissioned officer in charge, rides along side trainee Bailey Ammerman 
during a mock alcohol-impaired driving test Sept. 10, 2016, at the Wyoming Air 
National Guard Base in Cheyenne, Wyo. The training was intended for student 
flight trainees to experience, in a safe learning environment, what it might 
be like to drive while under the influence of alcohol. Students first drove 
the course with normal vision and then each donned beer goggles, which mimic 
the vision of an alcohol-impared driver. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by 
Master Sgt. Leisa Grant / Released)

Senior Master Sgt. James Lambert, 153rd Airlift Wing Student Flight noncommissioned officer in charge, rides along side trainee Bailey Ammerman during a mock alcohol-impaired driving test Sept. 10, 2016, at the Wyoming Air National Guard Base in Cheyenne, Wyo. The training was intended for student flight trainees to experience, in a safe learning environment, what it might be like to drive while under the influence of alcohol. Students first drove the course with normal vision and then each donned beer goggles, which mimic the vision of an alcohol-impared driver. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Leisa Grant / Released)

David Dunn (center), a 153rd Airlift Wing Student Flight trainee and future 
fire protection specialist, attempts to walk in a straight line during a mock 
sobriety test Sept. 10, 2016, at the Wyoming Air National Guard Base in 
Cheyenne, Wyo. Senior Master Sgt. James Lambert (foreground), student flight noncommissioned officer in charge, stands as a vocal guide during the test while Jenny Rigg, director of psychological health, walks along side students for to ensure they do not fall over. The training was intended for student flight trainees to learn about and experience the effects of alcohol-impaired driving in a fun, safe and effective way. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Leisa Grant / Released)

David Dunn (center), a 153rd Airlift Wing Student Flight trainee and future fire protection specialist, attempts to walk in a straight line during a mock sobriety test Sept. 10, 2016, at the Wyoming Air National Guard Base in Cheyenne, Wyo. Senior Master Sgt. James Lambert (foreground), student flight noncommissioned officer in charge, stands as a vocal guide during the test while Jenny Rigg, director of psychological health, walks along side students for to ensure they do not fall over. The training was intended for student flight trainees to learn about and experience the effects of alcohol-impaired driving in a fun, safe and effective way. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Leisa Grant / Released)

CHEYENNE, Wyo. -- Driving while impaired is not a permissible activity. However, 153rd Airlift Wing student flight trainees got to do this - drive a motorized vehicle, under close supervision, while under the influence of alcohol. Or at least that is what the beer goggles they wore simulated as they drove through a course dotted with orange cones.

"It was nerve racking already without the goggles, but it was terrifying with them," said trainee Bailey Ammerman, a future cyber transport specialist assigned to the 153rd Command and Control Squadron.

When airmen join the Guard they are accustomed to receiving regular briefings about the consequences of drunk driving, yet every year military members are killed in drunk driving incidents. Jenny Rigg, the director of psychological health, wanted airmen to learn what drinking and driving is like rather than just showing them a presentation on a screen.

The trainees drove without the beer goggles first, navigating the course and missing
cones. Then, when they put the goggles on, each driver ran over cones regularly.

"Having confidence in your driving [ability] doesn't help your vision if you're drunk," said trainee David Dunn, a future fire protection specialist assigned to the 153rd Civil Engineering Squadron.

It was mostly joking each time someone stumbled while walking the mock sobriety test line, or ran over the safety cones. The training was designed to be fun, but it was also intended to be impactful.

"I've been told a lot of this," said Ammerman. "But experiencing it makes it feel more real, and it scares me to even think about doing it."

Senior Master Sgt. James Lambert, student flight noncommissioned officer in charge, said knowledge like this is critical to jumpstarting their careers.

"I believe this fun training sets the foundation for the awareness of being under the influence of alcohol," he said, adding that good choices can affect people in positive ways, and bad choices can ruin careers.

This allows them to make a choice, Lambert said. These choices, he added, can have positive or negative effects on themselves, their careers and others.