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General lifts off-base drinking restrictions

Date Posted: 2008-04-13

The daily midnight-to-5 a.m. curfew remains, but the senior military leader on Okinawa has rescinded the ban on off-base consumption of alcohol.
Lieutenant General Richard Zilmer Friday gave the green light for soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines based in Okinawa, Iwakuni and Camp Fuji to consume alcohol off military bases. He had imposed the ban, along with a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew, in the aftermath of a string of incidents involving military personnel. Zilmer modified the curfew last month, permitting GI’s to be on the streets until midnight.
Marine Colonel Charles S. Dunston, Zilmer’s chief of staff at III Marine Expeditionary Force, said the decision was made after the military had coordinated closely with bar owners in a “cooperative effort to promote responsible drinking in off-base establishments.” Bar owners agreed to allow uniformed U.S. military courtesy patrols to enter local establishments frequented by service members.
Zilmer, in making the decision to permit off-base drinking, reminded service members that “the lifting of the alcohol restriction can and will be reconsidered if future incidents or events indicate that such action is warranted.” There are no curfew or alcohol restrictions on family members or civilians. He said the curfew will be reassessed periodically by senior service leaders.
The midnight-to-5 a.m. curfew prohibits service members from being off-base, except while in transit between U.S. military installations or off-base residences of SOFA personnel. Travel may be by privately owned vehicle, military supported transportation, or commercial taxi.

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