Missile brigade at Osan giving time off to incident-free units
OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea — The Army’s Patriot missile brigade in South Korea has moved to curb accidents and misconduct through a program that rewards incident-free units with a plaque and a day off for soldiers.
The 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, headquartered at Osan Air Base, maintains 14 batteries in South Korea, some of which fire Patriot missiles.
Under the brigade’s “Good Order, Discipline and Safety” program, batteries must go for 90 consecutive days without blemishes in any of three categories: accidents, alcohol/drugs and serious reportable incidents.
Brigade commander Col. John G. Rossi created the program in October to “motivate those soldiers who respond better to incentives and positive reinforcement,” said Capt. Brian Northup, a brigade spokesman.
The brigade’s program puts a special emphasis on curfew violations and alcohol because they “are involved in well over three quarters of all” the incidents that affect brigade order and discipline, he said.
As part of the program, the brigade recently displayed signboards outside each battery headquarters updated daily to show the number of days without an incident in the three categories.
If a unit hits the 90-day goal, brigade headquarters staff members verify the claim, said Master Sgt. Paul Knoblich, brigade safety director.
Backing a Patriot missile launcher into a Humvee in the battery motor pool, for example, would fall within the accident category, Knoblich said. A soldier caught for underage drinking would count in the alcohol/drugs category.
The serious reportable incidents category takes in a wide array of possible occurrences, including curfew violations, fistfights, disobedience to orders and sexual assault, for example.
Rossi has final say whether any given occurrence counts as an incident, Northup said.
“We’ve put the program in place but everything is obviously at the brigade commander’s discretion,” he said. “It’s his program and he’s the commander.”
On Friday, the brigade awarded its first plaque since the program began.
Troops from the Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, looked on as Rossi handed the plaque to battery commander Capt. Brian Moore and 1st Sgt. Michael Hudson.
The battery also now is eligible for a training holiday, or day off.
As of Friday, three brigade batteries stationed at Suwon Air Base were closing in on a possible award, Northup said. The units were Battery B (five days to go), Headquarters and Headquarters Battery (11 days) and Battery A (14 days). All are units of the 1st Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery.
Knoblich had 14 plaques made up, one for each battery.
“So my goal is to get rid of all fourteen plaques,” he said.