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Junior enlisteds get new passes; Liberty standdown this weekend

Date Posted: 2004-06-10

Young marines and sailors begin a new era this weekend as they must possess liberty cards in order to go off the bases into the local communities.

Red or gold liberty cards will be issued to all sailors and marines assigned to Marine Corps Bases Japan, according to Lt. Gen. Robert R. Blackman, the commanding general.

Blackman says he’s implementing the new liberty plan as “just one more tool that will control and reduce the number of incidents we have on Okinawa.” Off-base incidents have been increasing in recent years. He says the new cards are “not a form of punishment or a form of restricting liberty.”

The most junior enlisted personnel, E-1 – E-3, will receive red liberty passes, meaning they must be on their bases between midnight and 5am. E-4 and E-5 personnel will be eligible for gold liberty cards, when their commanders certify they’ve demonstrated “core Values” and exceptional personnel.

All marines and sailors will actually be required to have a liberty pass in their possession. However, all in ranks E-6 and above will normally be issued the gold liberty cards, which allow them to be off base during the midnight to 5am period.

Quiet Weekend

All marines and sailors will be restricted to their bases this weekend, as a “Liberty Standdown” is conducted. No troops will be allowed off base from 4:30pm Friday until 5am Monday, June 14.

The standdown, officials say, is to increase awareness of proper conduct and behavior required while on liberty. Special sensitivity classes will be conducted Friday. All Marine Expeditionary Force and Marine Corps Bases Japan personnel will be required to remain on base, or in their off-base quarters, throughout the weekend.

Blackman says “it wasn’t one incident” that led to the changes, “but a general trend that needs reversing. We owe it to the Okinawa community.”

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