Base addresses misconduct with new program
November 9, 2008
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Dependents and civilians who do wrong on Ramstein Air Base now have a way to pay for their crimes without being banned from the base.
Col. Gus Green, the 435th Air Base Wing vice commander, launched a program called the Beautification Detail about a month ago. It permits family members and other civilians with base access to regain any privileges lost because of misconduct by raking leaves, picking up trash or performing other community service around the installation from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
"We want to find a way to send a message that we want to keep good order and discipline on the installation," Green said. "It is a rehabilitative tool in a way. They don’t have to do this, but if they want to remain on base and have full rights and privileges, this is one way to work back and show you want to be a good community member.
"This is another mechanism to keep Ramstein the jewel that it is."
Before the detail got going, the base did not have a way other than banishment to hold people not bound by the Uniform Code of Military Justice accountable for their misconduct, Green added.
Green said he remembered that Aviano Air Base, Italy, had a similar program when he was based there several years ago and he has seen it at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa. Repeat offenders in those bases’ programs were rare, he said.
The amount of required service with the Beautification Detail depends on the severity of the offense and whether that person is a repeat offender. Adults who commit to the program are supervised by a noncommissioned officer. Children are supervised by one of their parents.
"It will make it clear to [minors] that actions influence their parents, since their parents have to be out there with them," said Heidi Porter, Ramstein’s community misconduct specialist who helps coordinate the detail.
"They have to wear a reflective vest. I don’t think there is any stigma. It’s voluntary."
Not every misdeed can be offset by a little beautification work. The Army and Air Force Exchange Service is not part of the detail program, and anyone caught shoplifting from an AAFES facility must pay a $200 administrative fee and compensation for stolen items and face a ban of at least six months from the exchange.
Aviano Air Base has a similar program that lets civilians and dependents guilty of misconduct regain base privileges by volunteering for details around the installation.
"It’s a case-by-case basis that may be an option for the offender," said Air Force Tech. Sgt. Michael O’Connor of the base public affairs office. "They may not offer that option to every individual it is based on the offense."
Officials with the Army’s Installation Management Command said they have not heard of any garrisons in Europe with a similar program. Navy officials could not be reached for comment.