New leaders briefed on misconduct, preventive measures at Camp Casey
CAMP CASEY, South Korea — One in 10 2nd Infantry Division soldiers received nonjudicial punishment for misconduct last year, sergeants, staff sergeants and lieutenants heard here Tuesday.
At the camp theater, the newly arrived sergeants and officers were briefed on discipline, alcohol awareness, suicide prevention, sexual harassment, KATUSAs (Koreans attached to the U.S. Army) and care of others.
Capt. Jacqueline Emmanuel, who heads up the 2nd ID’s Division Support Command legal center, gave the leaders a rundown of misconduct within the division and Army-wide in recent years.
“In 2ID, which has 13,000 soldiers, there were 1,459 Article 15 actions last year,” she said, referring to nonjudicial punishment under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. “So 10 percent of soldiers coming through here are getting Article 15s.
“Primarily, these are junior soldiers, but some have been NCOs. That is a lot of rank taken away from soldiers and dollars out of soldiers’ pockets.”
There were 26 Chapter 10s (administrative discharges in lieu of court action) in 2003 within the division. No statistics were available on the number of courts-martial, Emmanuel said.
Army-wide misconduct in several areas has increased significantly in recent years, she said.
Soldiers absent without leave shot up from 247 in 1999 to 583 in 2002; drug cases went from 368 in 2001 to 490 in 2002; failures to obey orders went from 223 in 2001 to 279 in 2002 and assaults went from 161 in 2001 to 209 in 2002, Emmanuel said.
In the 2nd ID, unauthorized absences are a big problem but drug use is minimal, she added.
“People tend to not have as much access to drugs here, although there have been cases of soldiers going down to Seoul and going to raves and having ecstasy there. The other day, I got a call from a soldier who saw another soldier smoking marijuana,” Emmanuel said.
Army-wide rape incidents have decreased by 60 percent since 1999, down from 177 cases to 70.
However, Emmanuel said, the Army is focusing on the problem of sexual assault after a number of recent cases were reported.
Because South Korea is an unaccompanied tour, few domestic violence cases involve 2nd ID soldiers, she said. However, there have been incidents involving “former drinky girls.”
“The prospect of a year away from good lovin’ is enough to get people involved in relationships where they don’t really know the people well,” Emmanuel warned the soldiers.
Factors present in misconduct cases include fraternization off-post, alcohol abuse and curfew violations. Soldiers victimizing other troops is another common theme, she said.
“It is stealing a roommate’s ATM card, stealing stuff from the barracks or the usual getting into a fight at one of the clubs in the Ville [Dongduchoen],” she said.
Misconduct by 2nd ID leaders occurs more than it should, Emmanuel said.
“Officers and senior NCOs who should be looking out for soldiers are sometimes looking after themselves. We have way more people doing the right thing than the wrong thing, but it is sometimes discouraging to hear Sgt. 1st Class So-and-So or 1st Sgt. So-and-So did this. When an NCO, and particularly a senior NCO, does something wrong, a pretty bad message is sent,” she said.
The sergeants and lieutenants got a recap of the Army’s fraternization rules.
Emmanuel told them officers and enlisted soldiers cannot date, do business, gamble, live together or have intimate relationships. Relationships between soldiers of different ranks are allowed but can be barred for a host of reasons to be determined by a commander, she said.
Soldiers should be warned about the consequences of off-post misconduct, she said.
A typical example, she said, entails a soldier punching a cab driver during a fare dispute. “It is a scary thing for a 19-year-old to be in a Korean court where it is very victim-focused,” she said. “They say: ‘How much are you going to pay this guy to compensate them for the pain from the punch they received?’”
Homosexual contact isn’t a big problem within the 2nd ID, she said. “‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ is in effect. Sometimes, people say: ‘I am gayer than the Mardi Gras’ because they want to go home … [however] if someone attempts to marry a person of the same gender, that would be a reason for discharge.”
Leaders are not on a mission to seek out homosexuals in the ranks, Emmanuel said. “Some soldiers are a little more effeminate. It is not up to you to investigate. It is up to the commander. Make sure folks are not harassing people who they suspect, for whatever reason, might be gay.”
Lt. Col. Ed Daly, commander of the 702nd Main Support Battalion, reminded the NCOs and lieutenants to live by the Soldier’s Creed.
“You are the examples, the teachers and the coaches for the junior soldiers of this division. Focus on leading by example,” he said, adding that soldiers should not leave their standards on the plane when they come to South Korea.
“There is a real threat. We are 13 kilometers from the border and in artillery range. Who knows what tomorrow may bring to the Korean Peninsula?”
But soldiers shouldn’t limit their focus to South Korea, Daly added.
“If you stay in the Army a few years, chances are you will find yourself in an area of conflict. Sitting on the plane is not the time to think about ‘Fight Tonight,’” he said.
Daly asked how many soldiers didn’t want to come to South Korea. Most raised their hands.
“You can say: ‘I didn’t want to come here but I have got a great unit and I’m going to train them to the best of my ability,’” he said.