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As typhoon approaches Okinawa, military readies alcohol ban

By STARS AND STRIPES Published: May 27, 2011

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Airmen and Marines on Okinawa are banned from drinking alcohol this weekend if and when incoming Super Typhoon Songda nears the island, according to both services.

The ban goes into effect when the storm is within 12 hours of making landfall and the military announces a Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 1 warning level, which was expected to occur sometime Saturday afternoon.

Songda has had wind gusts from 160 to 200 mph and is the first major storm to threaten Okinawa this year, though the official storm season does not begin until June 1.

In a prepared statement Thursday, the 18th Wing commander, Brig. Gen. Ken Wilsbach, said typhoons “can pose a significant challenge to military operations on Okinawa — a challenge that requires complete readiness of personnel to prepare for a storm’s arrival and to resume full operations after a storm passes.”

All active-duty servicemembers are covered by the alcohol ban, including those people on leave and those on TDY who are awaiting transportation.

Civilians are not covered but are “encouraged to refrain from alcohol consumption” during the storm.

The alcohol ban will remain in effect until Songda passes and the military declares the situation all clear, according to Wilsbach’s announcement.

Keep up-to-date on Songda by following Stars and Stripes' Pacific Storm Tracker.

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