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MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan — Concerned by a recent spike in "alcohol-fueled stupidity," the 35th Fighter Wing commander broadcast a special radio and TV show Friday morning to warn his community to knock it off.

"This … is to inform and encourage you — all of you — not to be ‘that guy,’ and also when you see ‘that guy’ doing his thing, we need you to intervene and stop him … because his actions will affect you," Col. David Stilwell said. "We’re going to make sure that it impacts everyone on this base."

He ran through a list of incidents, noting the property damage the Japanese community suffered when base personnel — both civilian and military — have caused drinking-and-driving accidents.

Stilwell announced offenders will now face him — not their squadron commanders — for punishment.

Stilwell said he’ll take further action if the problem continues. He’s considering reinstating the liberty card program, creating a basewide curfew or simply taking away driving privileges.

"Nothing is off the table," he said. "If things don’t get better here, then one of those options is going to be executed."

Stilwell rescinded the liberty card program — which kept troops E-4 and below on the base between midnight and 5 a.m. on weekdays and between 1 and 5 a.m. on weekends — in November, a few months after taking command. The program had been implemented in 2006 after five Misawa-based troops were busted for drunken driving in one weekend.

"I like giving people responsibility and seeing what they do with it," he said when interviewed last year after making the change.

During Friday’s broadcast, he said people seemed to act responsibly until the recent spate of incidents, both on and off the base.

"These things are not getting better. They’re getting worse, and it’s time to get the word out," he said. "There’s a lot of alcohol-fueled stupidity we’re having right now, and the folks in Misawa City are honestly getting tired of dealing with it."

He said one problem is communication: People in the base community aren’t hearing about the incidents.

He also shared two personal experiences, including one that happened in his own home.

An extremely drunken "staff sergeant walked into my house one night. … He pushed my son out of bed and took his spot and curled up," he said. "And some people laugh about that."

But Stilwell said he’s not laughing.

"I have no sense of humor about that," he said. "There’s no excuse. If you drink yourself into that condition, I got no time for you."

Base officials said the staff sergeant faced nonjudicial punishment but declined to provide more details.

Stilwell said he was at work at about 6 a.m. a couple of weeks ago when he saw "an airman puking on the headquarters building right outside my window after a night of drinking."

He said friends, supervisors and "a whole slew of people" could be helping prevent these issues.

"Every time one of these things happens, it kills our ability to do our mission," he said.

He showed a Japanese news clip reporting on his visit to apologize to the mayor last week following an alleged drunken driving incident. Japanese police said a 19-year-old servicemember hit a Japanese house and left the scene July 11. He remains in Japanese custody while the incident is investigated.

"Here the mayor is telling me that there’s something wrong with American culture," Stilwell said. "He thinks that maybe you guys are somehow defective or you don’t fit into Japan properly."

When asked for comment Friday afternoon, Misawa City officials said they were unaware that Stilwell addressed his troops via the broadcast.

Two troops interviewed at the base seemed to support Stilwell’s warning, saying there’s absolutely no excuse for drinking and driving.

Airman 1st Class Frank Dominguez and Airman 1st Class Arthur Augustynek encouraged Stilwell to take even stronger measures.

"Ban alcohol," Augustynek said. "Lock down the base."

"We need a curfew," Dominguez said. "Take away the alcohol and see how it goes. We’re looking bad in Japan."

Stilwell concluded Friday’s broadcast with a strong warning.

"I got to tell you, don’t be the next alcohol-fueled incident," he said.


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