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Airmen challenged to make better choices

By Staff Sgt. C. Todd Lopez

WASHINGTON (Dec. 13, 2006) -- "Work hard and play smart" may soon be a new mantra for Airmen after duty hours.

In February, the Air Force kicked off a new program titled "Culture of Responsible Choices." The program, called CoRC for short, is more of a change in mindset than an actual new formal program. It is a mindset where all Airmen and people in AF organizations are asked to rethink how they do business and conduct their lives to ensure their decisions lead to safe and healthy outcomes. Responsible choices are an integral part of Air Force culture, and CoRC emphasizes personal responsibility and accountability for decision-making and behavior on and off duty.

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Air Force senior leaders would like Airmen to help each other make better choices in their leisure activities and personal lives, said Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force Lt. Gen. Arthur Lichte.

"We have Airmen who sometimes make poor decisions and (engage in) high-risk behavior, which results in mission impairment and many other problems that impact good morale and discipline in the unit," he said. "With this program we call CoRC -- if you can think of it as a mindset of how people should be thinking when it comes to making risky behavior decisions -- we want individuals to make the right choice."

The Air Force-level CoRC program is cousin to a successful program at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo. called "0-0-1-3." That stands for "zero underage drinking, zero driving under the influence, one drink an hour, and never more than three drinks at an event."

The 0-0-1-3 program significantly reduced alcohol related incidents at F.E. Warren AFB, and Air Force senior leaders wanted to transplant that success throughout the service, but chose to broaden the scope of the program when doing so.

With CoRC, Air Force leaders hope to change the way Airmen think about the whole specturm of issues, from drinking and drug use on the one hand to healthy fitness behavior; sound financial management; vigorous suicide prevention; effective sexual assault response and prevention; and safe practices at work, at home, and on vacation. The idea is to help Airmen stay healthy, safe, and in uniform, General Lichte said.

"I want that 18 to 25 year old Airmen to be a 45-year-old chief (master sergeant) some day," he said. "But when you make bad choices, sometimes you are not going to get that opportunity. And the same for the young officers."

Implementation of the CoRC program involves, in part, having commanders use their services squadrons to create more opportunities for Airmen to engage in non-alcohol centered activities. In addition, some activities would be planned later at night, from 9:30 at night into the morning, for instance, times when young Airmen who stay up late on the weekend are looking for something to do.

"When you look at the base in particular, bases on Friday night may not have a lot to offer to that young Airmen who is now pumped up and ready to go party," General Lichte said. "This CoRC kind of tries to give that individual Airman alternatives and other things to do."

Ideas could include midnight basketball, late-night movies at the base theater, or inter-installation video game competitions. Alcohol may or may not be part of an event, but if it is, it will not be the focus or the center of the event.

While an emphasis on finding alternatives to alcohol use plays a large part in the CoRC program, the program really is about helping Airmen make better decisions in all the things they do, said General Lichte.

"There are a lot of times when you are young (you feel) you're going to live forever," he said. "You feel very strong, and (that) you can do anything, and nothing is going to harm you. Then all of the sudden you make a bad choice and find out you are not invincible. What we want to do is make sure all our young Airmen understand that they can be hurt. And so we want to make sure we take care of them. It goes back to the wingman concept."

Airmen and commanders can find out more about the CoRC program at the program Web site:

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