Pacific edition, Sunday, March 9, 2008

Starting Monday, the minimum age to drink alcohol on U.S. Navy bases on Guam will be 21.

The change comes for U.S. Naval Forces Marianas to comply with Navy rules that set the drinking age at all U.S.-based facilities at 21, according to Navy spokesman Lt. Donnell Evans.

In the past, Guam’s U.S. Naval Forces Marianas had deferred to the island’s law that makes 18 the legal drinking age.

An Air Force official at Andersen Air Force Base said Friday its facilities would continue to sell alcohol on base to people 18 and older. That complies with a Pentagon-wide rule that allows military bases to follow local laws when determining the on-base drinking age, spokesman Capt. Joel Stark said.

Navy personnel ages 18 to 20 may still purchase and consume alcohol outside naval facilities, Evans said in an e-mail last week in response to questions.

“If sailors choose to drink, it is their duty to conduct themselves responsibly and within the bounds of Navy policy and local law,” Evans wrote.

Salespeople at all Navy restaurants and shopping outlets will now ask for identification from customers who appear to be 25 or younger, according to Evans.

Evans also wrote that the Navy will bolster its current programs that provide transportation to sailors who have been drinking and need a ride home. The Navy is also working with the G

Guam Chamber of Commerce to supply proprietors with designated phone numbers to call in case a sailor needs a ride home.

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