Yokota personnel caught at Bar Row after hours
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — Several Yokota servicemembers were found in violation of the nightly 1 a.m.-6 a.m. “Bar Row” restriction during a random sweep of the area conducted recently by first sergeants and other senior noncommissioned officers, 374th Airlift Wing officials said.
However, they did not identify the individuals or say exactly how many people were involved.
“Less than 15 personnel assigned to Yokota Air Base were discovered violating the Bar Row restriction during a random check from 1 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. on [Oct. 2],” said Chief Master Sgt. Cathy Barker, the wing’s command chief master sergeant. “The individuals were spoken to and then escorted back to the base.”
Capt. Warren Comer, a wing spokesman, declined to say whether officers or civilians were among those found, adding only that most were senior airmen and below in rank. None were placed into custody.
“Bar Row,” an entertainment district in nearby Fussa, is a popular hangout for U.S. troops and base personnel.
Col. Mark Schissler, the former wing commander, issued the restriction last May following a string of incidents linked to the base’s airmen. It prohibits all Yokota servicemembers from being within a block of Akasen-dori — which lies near Honcho-dori and Fujimi-dori between the base and Fussa train station — for five hours each morning.
Base officials did not say where specifically on “Bar Row” the personnel were encountered.
Maj. Brandon Hart, the 374th Legal Office’s deputy staff judge advocate, said individual commanders have taken various administrative actions against the culprits, though stiffer penalties remain possible under Article 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
“The individuals were in violation of a direct order given by the installation commander prohibiting airmen from Bar Row between the hours of 1 a.m. to 6 a.m.,” he said. “Punishment could range from trial by courts-martial to a verbal counseling or no punishment at all based on the circumstances.”
Base officials have touted the restriction’s effectiveness, citing positive feedback from local residents and no major incidents or injuries involving Yokota community members in the area since it took effect.
Despite the recent episode, officials added, there are no plans to tighten the restriction.
“The Bar Row restriction was implemented to ensure the safety and welfare of personnel assigned to Yokota Air Base,” Barker said.