Curfew on Okinawa airmen to be lifted
KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa — The liberty stand-down affecting U.S. airmen on Okinawa is to end Friday.
The temporary curfew began Jan. 27 in response to a number of off-base, alcohol-related safety and disciplinary incidents involving Kadena airmen. It imposed a midnight-to-5 a.m. curfew on all active-duty Air Force personnel assigned to the air base.
In lifting the curfew, the command announced the base liberty card program implemented in July will remain in effect.
“The temporary curfew gave us an opportunity to re-emphasize the importance of personal accountability among both our junior airmen and their supervisors as well as the importance of being good neighbors on Okinawa,” Brig. Gen. Harold Moulton, 18th Wing commander, was quoted in a news release as saying.
The curfew was imposed by Col. Jeff Kennedy, who was interim wing commander for 10 days before Moulton arrived on Okinawa.
Under the Liberty Card program, all airmen are issued silver or blue liberty cards. Silver card holders are granted unrestricted liberty. Blue cards restrict airmen to the base or any military member’s off-base residence from 1 to 5 a.m. Saturday and Sunday and midnight to 5 a.m. Monday through Friday. The program doesn’t apply to civilian and contract employees, family members or members of other services.
“Lifting the curfew restriction at this time is the right thing to do for our professional airmen and for those in our local communities that benefit from the responsible patronage of the U.S. military community,” Moulton was quoted in the news release as saying.
The curfew had drawn the understanding, if not the support, of Okinawa City businesses that cater to servicemembers.
At the time the curfew was imposed, Yoshio Kuba, director of the Gate 2 Street Business Association, said he hoped it ended quickly.
“It does hurt our business,” he said. “No question about it.”
Okinawa City Mayor Masakazu Nakasone also had hoped the curfew would be short-lived, noting that a lengthy curfew period could seriously affect the local economy.
An 18th Wing public affairs spokesman said base officials were to make courtesy calls and visits to local government offices Thursday to inform them of the lifting of the curfew.