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“Seek psychiatric help, Camp Humphreys commander!” is the message on this sign protesting Col. Michael J. Taliento Jr. and his policies concerning access to some off-base establishments.

“Seek psychiatric help, Camp Humphreys commander!” is the message on this sign protesting Col. Michael J. Taliento Jr. and his policies concerning access to some off-base establishments. (T.D. Flack / S&S)

“Seek psychiatric help, Camp Humphreys commander!” is the message on this sign protesting Col. Michael J. Taliento Jr. and his policies concerning access to some off-base establishments.

“Seek psychiatric help, Camp Humphreys commander!” is the message on this sign protesting Col. Michael J. Taliento Jr. and his policies concerning access to some off-base establishments. (T.D. Flack / S&S)

Yi Hun-hui, president of the Korea Foreigner Tourist Facility Association, has his head shaved to protest Col. Michael Taliento Jr. during a protest outside of Camp Humphreys on Tuesday.

Yi Hun-hui, president of the Korea Foreigner Tourist Facility Association, has his head shaved to protest Col. Michael Taliento Jr. during a protest outside of Camp Humphreys on Tuesday. (T.D. Flack / S&S)

ANJUNG-RI, South Korea — Tucked into a small office above Anjung-ri’s main shopping drag outside Camp Humphreys, Yi Hun-hui sat dressed for his father’s funeral.

Clad in black, with white armband and hat, Yi explained that he wasn’t mourning his own father. Instead, Yi said, he was mourning the loss of Col. Michael J. Taliento Jr.

As commander of Area III, which includes Camp Humphreys, Taliento is “like a father” to the members of local South Korean community, Yi said. Yi is the president of the Korea Foreigner Tourist Facility Association.

But Yi said Taliento’s policies have “ruined the economy” outside of the gates and locals now “regard their father as dead.”

Yi spoke to Stars and Stripes following a 30-minute demonstration outside the base gates Tuesday afternoon. About 200 people, mainly women who work the bars frequented by U.S. soldiers during off-duty hours, called for Taliento’s resignation.

Yi, sitting with an entourage of local business leaders, claims Taliento isn’t working with the bars in enforcing a policy that sets the drinking age for servicemembers at 21. In South Korea, the legal age is 20.

Local bar owners say they’d rather ban underage soldiers from entering drinking establishments, but they claim the U.S. military won’t support that request.

Taliento, reached via cell phone Tuesday afternoon, said he is aware of the request but there is “not an easy answer to that question.”

It’s part of an “ongoing discussion that has yet to be studied and fully analyzed,” he said.

But Taliento pointed out that underage troops are allowed into on-base clubs.

“There’s nothing to say these guys can’t go and drink Pepsi” and enjoy the camaraderie of being around other soldiers in the base clubs, Taliento said.

But Yi said Taliento should take a closer look at on-base problems before cracking down on Anjung-ri. Underage soldiers are already drunk when they’re leaving the base, Yi said.

He said he’s not really sure the local people can cause Taliento to resign, but he said they’ll continue trying. And if Taliento doesn’t resign, the group will take increasingly extreme measures, like joining anti-American groups who have protested, sometimes violently, in opposition to the U.S. expansion in the Pyeongtaek area.

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