SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — Throughout August, the Morale, Welfare and Recreation department here intensified efforts to create engaging base activities as alternatives to drinking off post.

Leadership met with junior enlisted sailors early in the month to gather ideas, base spokesman Charles T. Howard said Wednesday.

“Some were recommended right away, such as extending the club hours and showing midnight movies,” he said. “Ideas like that hang on low branches so we could just go ahead and do those.”

The Galaxies club now will stay open until 4 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays and MWR is offering midnight movies Fridays and Saturdays at the Showboat Theater.

MWR also created a paintball range, continues bowling center renovations and arranged other cultural and recreational opportunities.

“This is partly a desire to prevent incidents off base,” MWR Director Scott Poluhowich said. “And, in part, we’re experimenting with some new ideas to see if they meet a need.

“Our objective has been to create options so if they drink, they drink on base. They won’t just be sitting at a table in a bar and pounding drinks,” Poluhowich said.

The MWR director said Navy leadership appears to be moving away from stressing punishment to deter off-base incidents.

“It seems there is a greater focus on alternative activities and education,” Poluhowich said, “especially [base commander Capt. Tilghman Payne’s] approach to the issue.”

For instance, those who enjoy paintball have had to drive almost five hours to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni to use that base’s range. So MWR located available space about three miles from base next to Sasebo’s detachment of Assault Craft Unit 5 at Sakibe.

“But it’s still a bit too early to point to evidence that shows how much difference all the efforts will make,” he said.

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