Welch: Curfew, dress codes under review in S. Korea
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — Army officials in South Korea are looking at ways to standardize dress codes and modify curfew provisions for soldiers who live off-post but want to use on-post facilities, the peninsula’s top enlisted leader said Wednesday on his radio call-in show.
Command Sgt. Major Troy Welch took to the airwaves for his hourlong “From the Top” program, fielding calls from soldiers and civilians throughout South Korea.
One caller wondered why the dress code in Area I, known as the “Warrior Standard,” was different from Area II’s dress code.
“We are looking at how to track that and make sure [dress codes] are user-friendly across the peninsula,” he said. “We are looking at some sort of way to standardize dress codes.”
Another caller wanted to know how soldiers living off-post could take advantage of 24-hour on- base services without breaking curfew. Some base clubs do not close at the 1 a.m. weekend off-post curfew, the caller said, and officials are touting new 24-hour weekend food service at some base eateries. If a soldier goes to an off-post home after curfew, that individual could still be punished.
Welch said he had just spoken with the 8th Army chief of staff about that issue.
“We are looking for ways to accommodate those who live off-post,” he said. “We certainly don’t want them driving. So does that mean a taxi or bus service to Hannam Village? We are looking at it.”
Welch said the options are under review. He also had two messages for noncommissioned officers: Make sure your soldiers are following the rules and being cared for during the holidays.
As part of his message, Welch reminded leaders that regulations should not be selectively enforced, pointing to seemingly minor examples such as talking on cell phones while walking across bases.
He asked leaders to remind soldiers about holiday opportunities. Dozens of families and business groups host dinners for single soldiers during Thanksgiving and Christmas, as well as on-base events for soldiers.
“The holidays are a heightened time for suicide gestures and suicides,” Welch said, asking leaders to be mindful of the emotional state of soldiers who are a “long ways away from home.”