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New airmen in Korea banned from drinking alcohol for 1st 30 days

All active-duty airmen newly assigned to the Korean peninsula are prohibited from buying or consuming alcohol for 30 days from the day of their arrival, the 7th Air Force announced earlier this month.

The new policy, which took effect July 1, 2014, was instituted as part of additions to the orientation program for airmen arriving in Korea.

The alcohol ban, and “associated restrictions,” may be extended beyond 30 days in certain circumstances until an airman’s initial feedback session is finished, a statement by the 51st Fighter Wing said. Unit commanders can extend the restrictions. The Defense Biometric Identification System records the 30-day timeline.

“We are guests here and not only do our actions matter, they have strategic implications,” 7th Air Force commander Lt. Gen. Jan-Marc Jouas said in a wing news release. “This is a fresh start to change the tone in Korea and leave a culture that is better than how we found it.”

The 30-day alcohol ban took effect less than two weeks after Jouas, citing an increase in alcohol-related incidents involving airmen, instituted a weekend-long alcohol ban for all Korea-based airmen June 20-23. More than 100 Osan Air Base personnel, mostly airmen, had sought treatment in emergency rooms for alcohol-related incidents in the past year. Three were near-fatalities, Jouas wrote in an editorial published in the command newspaper.

“Over the past few months, the number of alcohol-related incidents resulting in serious injury reached the point where this action became necessary,” Jouas wrote about the weekend ban.

The 7th Air Force deemed the weekend-long ban a “success” after no incidents were reported.

limonjr.armando@stripes.com

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