I prefer to stay positive in this space, but recent headlines compel a departure.
The Marine Corps commandant has cracked down of late on Marines behaving badly (what he calls “jackassery”). Embarrassing news headlines (often in Afghanistan) don’t do the “winning hearts and minds” campaign any favors.
Okinawa has experienced its share of incidents over the years, leading to protests and bad feelings amongst the locals. And now, it has happened again…..twice.
About a month ago, two sailors traveling through Okinawa allegedly raped a Japanese woman; they’re now in custody awaiting a hearing. The incident justifiably generated outrage, and the commander of all 26,000 troops on Oki quickly instituted one of the toughest restrictions yet: an 11:00 pm curfew for all troops (regardless of service or rank), “whether they live in, are deployed to or traveling through Japan.”
And last week, I read news of another assault (an airman allegedly broke into a Japanese home and assaulted a 13-year-old).
It appears that this airman broke the curfew order, and that alone will land him in a whole heap of trouble.
CNN quoted US ambassador to Japan John Roos as saying that commanders are “undergoing a complete review of the liberty policies and other policies that will minimize, if not eliminate, any such incident in the future.” Unless no one is allowed off-base (except for official business), I don’t see how “elimination” of such incidents is possible. Do they plan to post MPs at all the gates?
The III MEF commander made the rounds of Marine bases on Okinawa for all-hands meetings to reinforce core values and expectations. All incoming Marines and sailors receive cultural awareness training soon after arrival. During one of the recent “all-hands period of reflection” meetings, Glueck said, “Demonstrate that we are good stewards, neighbors and ambassadors and that we respect the customs, traditions, and the people of Japan.”
It frustrates me no end that the actions of a (very) few young men, whose parents obviously failed to provide adequate instructions in manners and respect, can affect the lives of my son and the others on the island. Everyone suffers from the consequences due to the actions of the very few. Totally not fair.
The Pentagon announced that many Okinawa troops will relocate to Guam, but the facilities on Guam aren’t ready to accommodate such a surge. Some troops will remain on Okinawa. I hope that the military soon figures out a workable way (i.e., not overly restrictive to everyone) to control their “bad eggs” so as not to further abuse the hospitality of their hosts.
Posted on November 6, 2012, in III MEF, Military Parent, Okinawa, US Marine Corps and tagged bad eggs, curfew, Glueck, Guam, jackassery, liberty, manners, Pentagon, respect, restrictions, scuba. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.