Friendly reminders of Aviano curfew won't last
AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy — Master Sgt. Kevin Dooms has been in the Air Force for 20 years and he can’t recall going through a similar curfew — except for a stint in Korea.
Still, Dooms said he has no problems with Brig. Gen. Craig Franklin’s decision to keep airmen serving with the 31st Fighter Wing inside their homes from 1 a.m. to 4:30 a.m.
Citing too many alcohol-related incidents during those hours, Franklin directed all his commanders to let their troops know about the indefinite curfew — which began Sunday morning.
“I support the curfew wholeheartedly,” Dooms said.
Dooms, president of the base’s first sergeants council, is one of those who will be helping to enforce the curfew until it’s lifted. “I’m one of the bad guys,” he said, laughing.
The first night, he and fellow senior NCOs and commanders made the rounds to see if people were following orders.
“We just wanted to make sure the word got out,” he said.
He said he spotted a few airmen outside their dorms on base, but they quickly returned inside when counseled.
“We treat them like adults until they act like they can’t be treated like adults,” he said.
And he expects airmen to obey the rule until it’s lifted.
Supervisors and commanders won’t be issuing friendly reminders for long.
“When the one-star puts out a policy and everyone knows about it, I have no recourse but to take action against (violators),” he said. “They know that there’s only a small group of people out there doing things they shouldn’t. And (the curfew) has got their attention.”
That was the case with five airmen interviewed in front of the base exchange Tuesday.
“Personally, I don’t like it,” said Master Sgt. John George. “But it probably is for the better. That’s the time that everything seems to happen. Hopefully, they will learn their lesson and it will end pretty quickly.”
Like George, Staff Sgt. Jeannette Wackens said she wouldn’t be hit by the curfew personally.
“I’ll be home at like 10,” she said, adding that she’d rather that an action target those responsible more than the population as a whole.
Airman 1st Class Aaron Cysensky said it’s just normal for him.
“I just came from [South] Korea,” he said. “We had exactly the same thing there. So it really hasn’t made a difference for me. It did keep people out of trouble there, so maybe it’s a good thing.”
Senior Airman Robert Scire said he doesn’t go out late during the week because he works the night shift.
He said he did see a few incidents on a weekend after he arrived on base.
“I stopped hanging out with that group of people,” he said. “I think (the curfew) is necessary, because you don’t want confrontations and that’s when it happens.”
Franklin previously had nixed overnight alcohol sales on base. As a result, the shoppette on the flight line now closes at 11 p.m.
“Do I think it’s a good idea? Yeah,” said Master Sgt. Chuck Caley. “Because the commander went through all the other controls. Some people might think this is drastic, but it could be worse. He could cut off alcohol and make this a dry base.”