USFK curfew decision due in July
June 21, 2008
CAMP RED CLOUD, South Korea — Expect a decision on the future of the U.S. Forces Korea curfew by the end of July, USFK commander Gen. Walter Sharp told soldiers Thursday.
Sharp took questions from soldiers during lunch at the Commanding General’s Mess and told them he was carefully evaluating the curfew and vehicle ownership, which is restricted in some areas and not allowed for most servicemembers north of Seoul.
"At the end of July, Sergeant Major [Bob Winzenried] and I will have made a decision on them," Sharp told an audience of about 100 people.
Servicemembers in South Korea must return to post or their off-post homes by midnight on weekdays and 1 a.m. on weekends.
Sharp said in an earlier interview with Stars and Stripes that he is weighing servicemembers’ arguments for more personal freedom versus those who say the curfew keeps servicemembers ready for work and out of trouble.
Sharp toured 2nd Infantry Division headquarters Thursday and received a briefing from division leaders. He also toured barracks and talked to soldiers about quality-of-life issues.
Sharp told soldiers that the Camp Humphreys expansion, slated for 2012, would promote a better life for families and for the many non-command-sponsored soldiers in South Korea.
When asked by Stripes what he could do for hundreds of non-command-sponsored families now in South Korea, he targeted three items: ensuring safe housing and enough housing money; providing proper medical care; and making school available and affordable to families in Area I.
"[The schooling issue] is the most difficult task we’re working with now," Sharp said.
Since there are no schools in Area I, which covers the bases north of Seoul, both command- and non-command-sponsored families must either send their children to Yongsan Garrison or use expensive private schools in Uijeongbu. Those families can incur significant out-of-pocket expenses, soldiers said Thursday.