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YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — Recent alcohol-related incidents prompted USS Blue Ridge leadership to enact temporary “Cinderella” liberty that has all E-4 and below sailors back on ship by midnight.

The move came Tuesday after a few junior sailors got in trouble for underage drinking on the Blue Ridge’s first night home on Monday, ship spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Greg Kuntz said Wednesday.

The restriction affects about 200 of the ship’s 700 sailors, Kuntz said, adding that the restriction does not affect sailors attached to the staff of Commander, 7th Fleet, which serves aboard the Blue Ridge.

Sailors will not lose their Homeport Ashore barracks rooms, and the restriction is temporary, Kuntz said.

“We have no intention of making this permanent,” he said.

During the restriction, sailors are undergoing training on topics such as alcohol and the responsibility of serving overseas, Kuntz said.

The training is similar to “port briefs” that sailors hear before visiting other cities, Kuntz said.

The ship’s leadership also is reviewing the Exceptional Sailor Program, which allows sailors to earn overnight liberty, to make sure no one was “accelerated” too quickly, he said.

Altogether, Kuntz called the latest liberty action “proactive.”

“Nothing happened that was really serious, but when we see things going the wrong direction we want to stop it,” Kuntz said, “rather than waiting around to let things add up or for something bad to happen.”

In recent weeks, a 19-year-old USS Gary sailor was taken into custody after allegedly stabbing a Japanese teenager and woman, and a USS Blue Ridge sailor was sentenced to 14 months in prison for punching a Yokohama taxi driver in September.

Although some sailors question the justice of punishing the group for the actions of a few, Kuntz said that “most sailors understand why, even if they don’t like it.”

“When we have an incident, it’s not reported as an individual — it’s reported as U.S. Navy and USS Blue Ridge,” Kuntz said. “We’re all one team, and we can succeed together or all fail together in many ways.”


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