Marines, sailors to be tested for alcohol

Random testing to begin Jan. 1

SAN DIEGO - Beginning January 1, every Marine and sailor will be subjected to random testing for alcohol.

10News has confirmed that all Marines and sailors will be tested twice a year, with some tests being conducted after they report for work.

According to Marine leaders, the testing is aimed at curbing underage drinking and the negative effects of alcohol, including ties to suicide, DUIs and domestic violence.

One Camp Pendleton-based Marine, who didn't give 10News his name, believes the program could work.     

"They do the random drug tests and Marines never know it's coming. That actually does curb the drug use in the military," said the Marine.

For the alcohol test, a reading of .01 will trigger a positive test and can lead to more testing and counseling. The reading is far below the .08 deemed legally drunk in California.

Higher readings can lead to discipline, though Marine officials said the primary mission isn't punitive, but early intervention.

"How seriously are Marines going to take that counseling?" asked 10News reporter Michael Chen.

"Depends on the Marine," said Camp Pendleton-based Marine Sgt. Charles Limbo.

Limbo believes testing could lead to wakeup calls for some, but predicts other Marines will be out drinking the same night.

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