Like I predicted since the curfew idea didn’t work, USFJ would likely pull the mandatory battle buddy policy out of the USFK bag of leadership tricks that will not stop incidents, but makes it appear leadership is doing something:
The U.S. military instituted a “buddy program” Friday for all servicemembers in Japan going to off-base bars and other places that serve liquor.
Lt. Gen. Sam Angelella, commander of U.S. Forces Japan, directed each of the services to begin implementing the program, which would require servicemembers to pair up to go out. A detailed policy is expected to be issued next week.
The policy is the latest initiative aimed at ending a series of criminal acts by servicemembers. Last month, two U.S. sailors were charged with gang-raping a woman on Okinawa.
Angelella then instituted an 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew for all U.S. servicemembers in Japan. But a number of servicemembers have still been arrested for alcohol-fueled misconduct.
Each base and post is producing its own interim policy, according to USFJ spokesman Lt. Col. David Honchul. USFJ expects to “finalize a more measured, consistent approach” to the buddy program sometime next week, Honchul said in an email.
As such, details such as who must be accompanied by a buddy and what hours the policy will be in effect will vary for the time being, he said. [Stars & Stripes]
No word yet if mandatory battle buddy cards will be needed as well. What is absolutely ridiculous about this policy is that servicemembers would need to bring a battle buddy with them to go out on a date or hang out with local nationals because they are not considered battle buddies. So basically this is a policy that will do nothing to create zero incidents as USFJ’s stated goal is and attempts to keep servicemembers segregated from local nationals.
According to the article in Yokota they have an exception to the policy that an O5 commander can authorize you to have a local national as a battle buddy. So now a servicemember will have to have a battalion or squadron level commander to approve of who their friends and significant others are in country. Unless this policy changes the way it is currently written a servicemember could get UCMJ action taken against them for having dinner with a local national that was not approved by their battalion commander. Absolutely ridiculous.