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PYEONGTAEK, South Korea — Buses at Camp Humphreys will begin running until 1:30 a.m. on weekends to get soldiers back to barracks after a night out, but officer-sergeant teams will be aboard to deter fistfights or other problems, officials said Monday.

And teams also will be positioned at key spots on post for late-night “crowd control” as troops filter back to post around curfew time, said Camp Humphreys spokeswoman Susan Barkley.

The “command presence” teams will be equipped with radios for summoning military police when warranted, Barkley said.

Until September, weekend on-post bus service had run until 1:30 a.m. But Area III commander Army Col. Michael J. Taliento Jr. stopped the weekend runs at midnight because of disorder that had included fistfights.

Local merchants claimed that the curtailed bus service prevented troops from staying out until their 1 a.m. curfew. Taliento, in a recent memorandum of understanding with merchants who were upset about U.S. Forces Korea’s enforcement of its underage drinking policy and curfew, had promised to restart the bus service by Aug. 1.

The later bus runs and the teams are part of a new “Command Presence Program” that starts Saturday night, said Barkley.

Taliento is instituting the program to deter violent weekend incidents and other disorderly behavior, Barkley said.

Officers on each team can range in rank from second lieutenant to colonel; the rank of a noncommissioned officer can range from Army staff sergeant to command sergeant major, or the equivalent Air Force ranks, Barkley said.

The Air Force’s 607th Combat Communications Squadron is stationed at Camp Humphreys, Barkley said, and Air Force personnel could therefore be members of the teams.

Barkley said Taliento has characterized the new program as “a coordinated command response to violent activity” and saw it as “a command mission, not an MP mission.”

On the buses, the role of the teams “is to deter any situation that might escalate,” Barkley said. “And they will do that with communication skills. But if the situation continues to escalate they will stop the bus and call for military police to respond.

“Then another component will be personnel who will be at specifically the Tommy D’s and the Pedestrian Gate, but who will also be moving through the installation,” said Barkley.

Under the new bus schedule, two buses each will make seven runs between midnight and 1:30 a.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.

The buses will run in opposite directions, starting from the post’s pedestrian gate along routes that are designed to bring soldiers no fewer than 200 yards from their barracks, Barkley said.

“It’s really specifically targeted to getting soldiers to their barracks or their living areas,” said Barkley.

However, anyone on post may use the buses, Barkley said.

And they’ll take about 15 minutes — half the time of the normal Camp Humphreys shuttle bus run — because they’ll skip many of the stops on the day’s regular route, Barkley said.

“We’re eliminating a lot of the downtown area where things are closed after midnight,” she said.

Humphreys’ bus schedule

Beginning early Sunday, late-night shuttle buses at Camp Humphreys will operate from midnight until 1:30 a.m. every Saturday, Sunday and holiday.

One of two buses will make the stops in this order: Pedestrian Gate, Freedom Chapel, Tommy D’s, 301st Signal Battalion, MP Hill, Zoeckler Station.

A second bus traveling in the opposite direction will make the same stops in reverse order.

The two buses will depart from the Pedestrian Gate at the following times: Midnight, 12:15 a.m., 12:30 a.m., 12:45 a.m., 1 a.m., 1:15 a.m. and 1:30 a.m.

— Franklin Fisher

Stripes in 7

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