Liberty policies across the Pacific
All U.S. Forces Korea servicemembers must be in their on- or off-base quarters by midnight on weekdays and 1 a.m. on weekends and official holidays.
Seoul’s Hongdae neighborhood, as well as several bars and restaurants in South Korea, have been put off-limits by USFK.
Servicemembers are encouraged by commands to go out with a battle buddy while off post, but it is not required.
USFK does not use a liberty card system.
Sailors assigned to U.S. Navy bases throughout Japan fall under the Commander, Naval Forces Japan liberty policy. New arrivals ranks E-4 and below must carry a white card during a probation period that can last up to 90 days.
White-card holders must be back on base by midnight each day. Blue cards carry overnight liberty privileges.
To earn a blue card, junior sailors during their probation period must complete Navy drug abuse and alcohol prevention training, meet proper grooming and uniform standards and receive no nonjudicial punishments.
CNFJ also has an alcohol consumption policy that applies to all Navy pay grades throughout Japan, including visiting sailors. The policy prohibits drinking alcohol in public places from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. daily. It doesn’t prohibit alcohol consumption in private or government quarters.
CNFJ doesn’t require sailors to have liberty buddies, but they are encouraged, officials said.
Misawa Air Base
Airmen at Misawa adhere to a liberty card program implemented last fall.
Noncommissioned officers and officers hold green cards, allowing off-base access at any time. Airmen ranked E-4 and below generally have red cards.
Red-card holders living on base are restricted to the installation from midnight to 5 a.m. weekdays and 1-5 a.m. weekends. Off-base residents are restricted to their quarters during the same times.
Commanders can issue green cards to junior airmen or revoke them at their discretion.
Yokota Air Base
Yokota has a 1-6 a.m. restriction for “Bar Row,” the entertainment district in nearby Fussa city that’s a popular hangout for U.S. servicemembers and civilians. The restriction, issued in May 2005, prohibits all Yokota servicemembers from being within a block of Akasen-dori — which lies near Honcho-dori and Fujimi-dori between the base and Fussa train station — for five hours each night.
Kadena Air Base
Airmen at Kadena Air Base on Okinawa must follow General Order 1, which in its current version took effect Jan. 9, 2006.
Blue liberty cards, issued to all airmen E-3 and below, restrict airmen to quarters from 1-5 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights and midnight to 5 a.m. Sunday through Thursday nights.
E-3s and below “who demonstrate integrity, maturity, reliability, adherence to ‘Core Values’ and exceptional performance of a sufficient length of time as to develop a proven track record,” according to the order, can be upgraded to a restriction-free silver card by squadron commanders with their group commander’s approval. The memorandum suggests 12 months as a sufficient observation time.
E-4 airmen also are issued a blue card; however, squadron commanders can issue silver cards to the E-4s at their discretion.
Airmen E-5 and above are issued the silver card, unless a squadron commander deems them unworthy.
Airmen on Okinawa have no type of official “buddy” program. However, leaders highly recommend that airmen use the wingman concept and take a buddy with them during off-base liberty, according to an air base spokesman.
Airmen who stay on the island for leave remain subject to the provisions of the memorandum.
Marines assigned to Okinawa and mainland Japan must follow the Liberty Buddy Order.
Marines E-3 and below receive a red liberty card, which requires them to be on base between midnight and 5 a.m. each day. Liberty buddies are required to be together at all times while off base and must sign back in together. E-4s and E-5s can earn an unrestricted liberty gold card for good behavior after a 30-day observation period. E-3s and below also can be awarded a gold liberty card at their commander’s discretion, but the observation period is longer.
Marines in ranks E-6 and above automatically get gold cards unless commanders determine otherwise.
Stars and Stripes reporters Erik Slavin, David Allen, Cindy Fisher, Jennifer Svan, Allison Batdorff and Vince Little contributed to this report.