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Avatar of GI KoreaBy on February 8th, 2007 at 5:33 pm

The New 2ID Alcohol Consumption Policy

The number of alcohol related incidents is on rise according to the Second Infantry Division Weekly Bulletin:

NEW ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION POLICY: New! Effective 8 FEB, the Division Commander issued a new policy on responsible alcohol consumption. It is our responsibility to assure that none of us are released from duty on 9 FEB until each of us fully understands this policy.

You won’t believe what the new policy is.  Soldiers even while off duty cannot have a blood alcohol content level above .10%.  What is behind the rise in alcohol related incidents that would cause such a drastic measure to be implemented?  Here is your answer:

DRINK RESPONSIBLY: In January 2ID passed the 100 mark for Soldiers involved in alcohol or drug-related blotters for this fiscal year. This puts us ahead of our FY06 pace, which was itself an increase over 2005. Underage drinking has been a significant contributor to this unfortunate trend. If you are under 21 — don’t drink! If you are of legal drinking age, then drink in moderation and don’t tolerate or encourage your buddy to drink who is not of legal drinking age. Every Soldier and leader has a part to play in preventing underage drinking and alcohol abuse.

So the policy to stop underage drinkers is “don’t drink!” while the strategy to stop the increase in alcohol related incidents due to the underage drinkers is to punish everyone.  Will soldiers have to carry breathalyzers with them to the ville now to test themselves after every drink?  How many good soldiers are going to get prosecuted under this policy and have their careers adversely effected because they blew a .12% BAC?  The soldiers that want to binge drink are now going to move out of the ville to avoid the breathalyzer bandits and stay out all night in other entertainment areas outside the ville where the breathalyzer bandits are not at and then just stay at hotel so the gate guards with breathalyzers don’t catch them.

Any bets if curfew violations will go up because of this policy?  I can see it now some soldier coming back from the ville worried about blowing over a .10% and instead of taking their chances with breathalyzer the soldier decides to go hide in a alley somewhere or find a hotel for the night.  In process of doing this he gets spotted by the MPs and picked up.

I have been saying this for a long time, but why do we allow underage drinkers into drinking establishments in the ville to begin with?  If it illegal for them to drink than why are underage drinkers allowed to go into a sleazy bar that pushes booze and scantily clad women on them all night?  This is a temptation that to many young soldiers cannot overcome.  If the command wants to solve the underage drinking problem all you have to do is deny the underage drinkers from entering the clubs in the ville and then anyone entering the gate underage you make them take a breathalyzer.  That prevents them from wandering to other entertainment areas outside the ville to drink and then trying to get back on post.  If the unit CQ is properly signing people out before they leave the barracks you can track if they went back into their room or not that night.  Knowing that soldiers are smarter than we give them credit for, they will try to get around this by having their buddy at CQ hook them up and sign them in for them so they can stay out all night and avoid the breathalyzer at the gate.  Do a few random 6AM formations on Friday and Saturday morning to account for everyone and you will be amazed how quickly this problem is rectified.

This leaves underage drinkers two options, drink in their rooms or get a pass from the First Sergeant to stay in a hotel for the weekend to escape the breathalyzer bandits.  If a soldier wants to drink in his room and play X-Box all night, personally I really don’t care.  A random barracks patrol roster with all your E-7s and up on it every weekend tends to keep them honest.  Something that also helps is to have designated underage rooms.  Don’t organize the barracks where you have underage and legal age drinkers mixed together.  This once again is shoving alcohol in the face of underage soldiers, especially when the legal age soldier has the fridge stocked with his beers.  I have busted underage drinkers before in the barracks by simply knocking on the door of a underage room.  The underage soldier opened the door holding a beer.  After you bust a few guys like this the underage soldiers learn to keep quiet and stay in their rooms if they are going to drink.  As far as underage guys going on pass this is where the First Sergeant needs to use a lot of discretion and only put underage people on pass that he/she trusts will not get into trouble.

Is this plan full proof and will stop all incidents?  No it won’t, but I am certain my suggestions would bring down the number of underage drinkers and it focuses solely on the group that is causing the problems, the underage drinkers.  No where in my suggestions are all the soldiers in the division punished for the actions of a few.  It is easy just to implement a blanket policy on everyone and be done it, especially with all the outside pressure I’m sure the 2ID Commanding General is getting hit with right now to cut down alcohol related incidents, but soldiers appreciate creative leadership that focuses on solving a problem with minimum impact on everyone else.

In the years I have been following USFK issues it seems like every time a new general comes in they face the same problem the commander before them faced and the new general issues blanket policies similar to the last guy that didn’t solve the problem then and won’t solve the problem now.  Former 2ID commanders General Honore, Wood, Higgins, and now Coggin have all had their fair share of alcohol related incidents and underage drinkers.  Mass punishment policies that have a short term impact that looks good on Powerpoint slides are always implemented, but in the long run the same issues will persist and rise again at the expense of the morale of all the soldiers in Korea.

Any bets that the next 2ID commander will be facing these same problems when he takes over?  It seems nothing ever changes except the name of the commanding general.

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  • USFK Off Limits Areas (As of 9FEB07) at ROK Drop
    3:35 pm on February 9th, 2007 1

    [...] Before going out this weekend make sure you review the latest off limits areas.  I have them broken down for you by Area.  You can download your own copy of the off limits areas from 2ID website by clicking here.  Have fun over the weekend, but obey the regulations and stay out of trouble.  There is already the new blood alcohol policy in effect, follow the off limits and curfew regulations before someone gets the bright idea to implement a new policy putting tracking devices around everyone’s ankles.  [...]

  • Bob Walsh
    3:53 am on February 9th, 2007 2

    This policy takes the fucking cake! I would now go as far as to actively discourage anyone under the age of 21 from even joining the Army. Or anyone, period. Enough freedoms are voluntarily surrendered upon enlistment, but to take away even more -and to do so in a garrison environment, is tantamount to tyranny.

    -And in 2ID, no less.

    Okay, maybe Romney (if elected) will go the extra step, and every troop will have to convert to his church. Ideal: troops won't drink, smoke, screw, -and you'll be able to put away the coffee pots in the messhall.

    Hank ("The Gunfighter") Emerson will shake his head in disgust. And if Gary Luck finds out about this, I can guarantee the current CG of 2ID will become a laughingstock among old brown-boot Army generals.

    Now let's get this straight:

    1. Outlaw drinking for under-21 year-olds.

    2. Strictly enforce the policy.

    3. Inevitably, under-21's drink and get caught, and each time this happens, it is called "an alcohol-related incident" (ARI).

    4. The number of ARI's rises, convincing the CG he has a serious discipline problem.

    5. He issues a new hard, fast, rule: Nobody, regardless of age, will have a BAC above .10%.

    6. Inevitably, if this is enforced, many more soldiers, -of all ages-, will be caught and punished.

    7. So in fact, the number of ARI's will rise, instead of go down.

    8. The CG is frustrated, and issues even more ludicrous regulations.

    9. The voluntary reenlistment rate at 2ID plummets, -and of course those soldiers guilty of ARI's have a stained record, and may in fact not be eligible for reenlistment.

    10. The CG finds himself with both a high rate of ARI's, and an unacceptably low rate of reenlistments; both career-damaging. And his peers (some of whom will move up the ladder ahead of him) think he's a total tool.

    11. CG's next (and probably terminal) assignment is as a Guard advisor.

    I just have to ask, but what in hell is the CSM who advises the CG on policies like this thinking? Is he a total fucking idiot? Is he that in love with his career that he'd fuck over the troops to make the CG happy?

    And your idea of organizing the barracks so that under-21 soldiers won't bunk with their buddies who can legally drink. What will that do to cohesion of the squad, -the single most important unit in the Army? That you would even suggest it is proof enough for me that you, too, have had a helping of the Koolaid.

    If the Army is suddenly concerned about under-21 troops drinking, then it ought to get equally concerned about under-21 troops getting their shit blown away in Iraq.

    I don't see any policies intending to prevent THAT.

    "Underage drinking has been a significant contributor to this unfortunate trend"

    Let's make a policy against underage getting whacked in combat. If we did that, then I'm sure our casualty figures would look dandy, because I'm absolutely certain from where I sit that underage dying has been a significant contributor to this unfortunate trend.

  • Mark
    6:43 am on February 9th, 2007 3

    Excellent post, GIK. I hope you don't get stupid when you make E9 and forget all these suggestions you just brought up. :roll:

  • lcgrant
    7:29 am on February 9th, 2007 4

    Hold the NCO support channel responsible for fixing the problem will and I will bet you $100 the problem will be fixed. I ran a company as the 1SG here in the 90's and had only a handfull of alchol related incidents for the two years I was in charge. I was in the ville with my CDR, along with the PSGs and PLs, at high risk times and got the potential trouble makers back to the compound before they got out of control. School of the soldiers works wonders when the NCO leadership takes time to do that training. I still say that you cannot tell the LTs and PVTs appart these days and that is not becaues of their age either. And, there's a lot of gangsters in the enlisted ranks no matter what the PR schrills say.

  • Bob Walsh
    7:27 pm on February 9th, 2007 5

    I got a chance to read through the policy letter in question, and it's a very revealing document. It's posted at : http://www-2id.korea.army.mil/documents/policy_le… Letter 8, Responsible Alcohol Consumption Readiness.pdf

    …for one, it puts a huge burden all the way down through the chain of command and insures that the only way a commander will keep his nose clean is to conduct frequent witch-hunts. That having been said, in Para 7.(B)8, MG Coggins states that enforecement of the BAC is not to be used as a means of harassment of soldiers! Unfortunately, this pronouncement is given the lie by the remainder of the policy letter, in which it is abundantly clear that every leader, as well as the CQ have a sworn duty to hunt out that which might be alcohol abuse, both in & out of the barracks, and at any hour of the day.

    Easily the most ludicrous thing is Para 8, describing the alcohol discipline award program. Yet another lever on commanders. I suspect that if a unit aces its ARTEP, has 100% of its soldiers max'ing the PT test, and everybody fires expert, has no vehicles on deadline…the commander will still get shafted if his company isn't flying the coveted "NO ARBI's" guidon streamer.

    Back in the day, we had a similar streamer. It proudly proclaimed the unit flying it to be one that had a "LOW VD RATE". As I ran the BN aid station, I can't tell you how many times a worried 1SG or even a company commander pressured me to re-write a diagnosis of gonnorhea into the vague but not STD category of "Non-specific Urethritis"…simply because they were afraid of what might happen if they lost that treasured guidon.

    But most telling of all, while leafing through the outstanding 2ID policy letters, although I see plenty addressing sexual harrassment and assault, alchohol, and prostitution and human trafficking, I see nothing that would seem to indicate that the CG is concerned about gay and lesbian sexual activity. Maybe he doesn't see it as activity he should discourage.

    Another very gaping hole in this policy letter: Para 6, enforcement. By exclusion, the letter specifically exempts KATUSA's from this policy. They are not under UCMJ! So: GI Joe gets trashed and brought up on charges for exceeding BAC, but PFC Hong cannot be touched.

  • 2ID Alcohol Consumption Policy Letter Posted at ROK Drop
    6:44 pm on February 10th, 2007 6

    [...] the 2ID webpage the new alcohol consumption policy letter can be downloaded from here (HT: reader). Here are some of the key excerpts from the policy [...]

  • Mark
    7:17 am on February 10th, 2007 7

    But most telling of all, while leafing through the outstanding 2ID policy letters, although I see plenty addressing sexual harrassment and assault, alchohol, and prostitution and human trafficking, I see nothing that would seem to indicate that the CG is concerned about gay and lesbian sexual activity. Maybe he doesn’t see it as activity he should discourage.

    You can get caught with someone else's cock in your hand nowadays without so much as a scolding, but heaven forbid a 20-year-old get caught with a Russian on his lap and a Budweiser in his hand.

    Another very gaping hole in this policy letter: Para 6, enforcement. By exclusion, the letter specifically exempts KATUSA’s from this policy. They are not under UCMJ! So: GI Joe gets trashed and brought up on charges for exceeding BAC, but PFC Hong cannot be touched.

    Don't forget the Korean-Americans. They never get carded.

  • usinkorea
    7:19 am on February 10th, 2007 8

    This does sound like an incredibly stupid idea.

    I didn't read all the post or comments completely, but I don't see where this rule will do much more than make things worse.

    I believe I can safely guess it isn't going to inspire self-enforcement.

    I can picture easily as some said above that it will encourage more skirting of the rules.

    It will also stoke bad-blood among the ranks (I'm guessing).

    And it will do nothing to influence Korean society.

    Alcohol related incidents will continue to happen that make the news. If you immediately shot every soldier even accused of such an incident in the head, you would not scare off all of the idiots, and one of these events would happen no matter what.

    And if you pointed to the large pile of dead GIs who were shot in the head for blowing above the legal limit, how many Koreans do you think would applaud you for the effort and forgive the isolated rape of a middle-aged woman???

    If USFK wants to ease the pain of alcohol related incidents in South Korean society, it should keep plugging away 12 months out of every year trying ways and retrying ways and coming up with new ways to publicize the reality of GI related crime and its proper focus in the spotlight.

    In short, USFK should try to combat the myths – rather than create ineffectual policies that will just encourage, as GI Korea said, breaking of rules by those who can live quiet easily within reasonable ones without becoming front page news in Korea.

  • Bob Walsh
    8:23 am on February 10th, 2007 9

    The thing I always hated as a squad leader, platoon sergeant, and later as a 1SG was the lack of control I had over KATUSA's. Eighth Army reg 600-2 was my problem. I could never punish or award Katusa's on par with GI's.

    If there was an incident involving a KATUSA, the BN ROK liaison (usually a worthlees CPT who's only function was to spy on what was going on in the BN) -if he deigned to do so would only intercede to fuck everything up.

    ROK Army regs were kept a deep, dark secret from normal GI leaders who had KATUSA's in their units. We repeatedly saw baffling applications of those reg's applied to KATUSA miscreants in ways that defied understanding. And KATUSA's fucked up on roughly the same degree/frequency as GI's.

    By the same token, it was a rough row to hoe to get a KATUSA recognized on par with GI's. Pissed me off enormously to have a KATUSA fire team or squad leader go out and do amazing work on the DMZ during a rotation, and come to find out that the BN ROK liaison refused to forward the award recommendation through ROK channels…because he was not being recommended for a similar award for sitting on his ass in garrison.

  • Avatar of GI KoreaGI Korea
    10:36 am on February 10th, 2007 10

    Bob,

    There are ROK Sergeant Majors that work with the BNs and most of the SGMs I have worked with have been no nonsense real ROK Army types. If I had a problem with a KATUSA I got with the ROK Army SGM right away about it and he tightened that KATUSA up real quick. The KATUSAs were always intimidated by the ROK SGM because he could send them to the real ROK Army if they pissed him off to much. Having a great Senior KATUSA is good also. KATUSAs don't fall under US PT and weight standards thus my unit had a few out of shape, overweight KATUSAs come to the unit. My senior KATUSA who was a PT stud would at night have them do extra PT with them. While that guy was the senior KATUSA my KATUSAs on average had higher PT scores than the rest of the company.

    Rewarding KATUSAs is also easy now. They are eligible for US awards. I made sure my stud KATUSAs left the unit with a PCS ARCOM and the lesser KATUSAs with a AAM. If they were a turd they would leave with a COA. They are also elgible for impact AAMs as well. Another great way to reward them is give them a pass to go home on. I don't see disciplining and rewarding KATUSA really being a problem as long as you have a good relationship with the ROK SGM.

  • goout
    12:05 am on February 11th, 2007 11

    As a non-drinker, even I agree this is a stupid policy and impossible to enforce. If the command was really interested in correcting the alcohol related incidents (ARI) and curbing alcohol abuse, they would impose a lot harsher punishment on those that have an ARI. Quit giving suspended sentences when giving article 15 punishment. Go for the jugular on the idiots and leave alone the people that are not causing problems. Also, if they were really concerned with the well-being of the troops, they would be increasing the size of the rehab unit at 121 exponentially. You can't convince me or any thinking man that out of 30,000 troops on the peninsula, you only have 10 alcohol dependent troops per month (only 10 beds per month available at 121 for rehab) requiring rehab. Hell in a city this size in the US, you get at least 1500 per year referred to or seek for themselves some type of inpatient rehab. C'mon leaders, pull your heads out of yur asses!!!!!!

  • Bill USMC Ret
    2:37 am on February 11th, 2007 12

    Unfrickin believable. Mr. Walsh, I aggre with the bit about Gary Luck. One of the best damned Generals I ever had the privy to work for. What ever happened to "A solder that won't fuck, won't fight"? As a retired Marine, I just have to scratch my head, what is the Army up to?

    Fight for the U.S., possibly get killed for the U.S., yet if you drink, we're gonna hammer you!

  • Mark
    10:45 am on February 11th, 2007 13

    You know what, this is going to drive even more of them down to my neck of the woods and now I'll have to deal with them Friday night on CP.

    Thanks a lot, guys! :x

  • Los Angeles Alcohol Rehabs Nannyism: It’s for the Military, too «
    4:17 pm on February 14th, 2007 14

    [...] Wrong. [...]

  • Harvey
    1:32 am on March 14th, 2007 15

    what is 2 id policy on the road guard vest are they authorised to have name tape on it.

  • GI Korea
    1:54 am on March 14th, 2007 16

    I was in 2ID a little over a year ago and their was no regulations in regards to name tapes on PT vests. Usually sergeant majors had them on just to identify themselves during PT. I looked through the current warrior standard book in regards to PT and there is nothing in it that addresses name tapes on road guard vests. You can view the whole standard book at this link:

    http://www-2id.korea.army.mil/

    Look on the right sidebar for US Army in Korea Standards Handbook and you can download the entire manual.

  • I’m speechless at Lost Nomad
    3:09 pm on April 10th, 2007 17

    [...] already put up two excellent posts on the subject (and I agree with him 100%), which you can read here and [...]

  • Far East Cynic: February 2007
    12:15 pm on June 18th, 2007 18

    [...] and living…….. Will get you in trouble.I don’t have time to write a long post on this, but the link will take you to some good words on [...]

  • Dave Shoemaker
    6:36 am on February 7th, 2008 19

    I don't believe it. Somebody remembered the Gunfighter. I was googling "Henry Emerson" and up popped this website. He was the CG during my tour at Camp Casey, 33 years ago. ( 122 Signal ). The Gunfighter had this "Pro Life" program, which is completely unrelated to the political issue of today. Pro Life involved lots of PT, lots of recreational programs, anything to get us off the racial divide. We had some really serious racial problems right after Vietnam. The problem was we kind of lost sight of readiness in all the pro-lifing. Anyway, even the Gunfighter let us drink ourselves silly. At any age. You fellas really are in a different environment today. All I can say is, you will only remember the honor of your service. You kind of forget the loss of control over your life. How many people can say they served 9 miles short of the DMZ, in the 2nd ID?

  • Bones
    7:36 am on February 7th, 2008 20

    GI, you are spot on about the ROK SGM they were no joke

    1SG Walsh I was there when GEN. Luck was the Division Commander, you worked hard and played hard, It was like, If you got your ass kicked oh well duck next time.

    Mr. Shoemaker I was at CP. Edwards anybody know Yong Ju Gol

  • 2ID Handbook - Dogpile Web Search
    4:50 pm on April 21st, 2008 21

    [...] and 1000s of Other Items Sponsored by: http://www.priorservice.com/ [Found on Ads by Google] 2. The New 2ID Alcohol Consumption Policy http://www-2id.korea.army.mil/. Look on the right sidebar for US Army in Korea Standards Handbook [...]

 

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