Club’s conduct prompts warning from Kadena commander
The commander of Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, is telling senior leaders there to stress appropriate off-duty conduct following the court-martial of a Marine lieutenant involved with an all-ranks, military and civilian running club on the island.
The Feb. 14 letter, issued by Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Remington, was no Valentine’s Day love message for the Okinawa Hash House Harriers club, which advertises itself as a “drinking club with a running problem.”
Hash members, who have requested not to be named, said the military is conducting a “witch hunt” after Marine 1st Lt. Nathan Daniels was found guilty of conduct unbecoming an officer. Daniels admitted to adultery with a married staff sergeant. He also admitted to running and swimming nude, performing mock sex acts and fraternizing with enlisted members in public during off-base club meetings. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail and was kicked out of the Marine Corps.
Okinawa’s club consists of all ranks and services, as well as American and Japanese civilians. Similar clubs exist on or near several Pacific-area bases and are part of more than 1,600 mostly-civilian clubs, with tens of thousands of members, worldwide.
“The recent court-martial conviction of a USMC lieutenant, as well as a joint service (look) regarding the activities of the … ‘Hash House Harriers,’ makes clear to me that I need to re-communicate my views on the appropriate off-duty behavior by all AF personnel,” Remington wrote in his memo to 18th Wing and tenant unit commanders. A copy of the memo was provided to Stripes and a base spokesman confirmed its validity Wednesday.
“Taking off our uniforms at the end of a long day or weekend does not mean setting aside our oaths, our ranks, our core values, our standards, or our readiness,” he said. “It is a break from — not in — service.”
Remington’s message isn’t limited to the troops; he wrote that civilian base employees are also expected to avoid activity “that undermines their stature or effectiveness, or otherwise reflects unfavorably on the Air Force.”
He said the close look at the Okinawa Hash club “disclosed inappropriate and sometimes lewd conduct between personnel of various ranks, including officers, enlisted and civilian equivalents.”
“In addition, personnel were found to be linking their profane/obscene club ‘nicknames’ to their official government e-mail addresses on the club’s Internet Web site,” he wrote. “All of the above conduct is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
“In short, our conduct outside the gates of this installation affects not only our readiness, but it reflects our values as Americans,” he wrote. “And it impacts — for better or worse — our bilateral relationship with our stalwart ally and host country.”
Marine officials have said they’re looking closely at possible misbehavior with the club.
“The Hash House Harriers is not a command-sponsored organization and we are in the process of reviewing the conduct of some Marine members,” Col. Richard C. Dunn, chief of staff, Marine Corps Base Camp Butler, has told Stripes.
A Marine gunnery sergeant who was Okinawa’s Hash president said he was given a recent competency hearing for his involvement in the club. Marine officials would not release details on the hearing.