ROK Drop

Avatar of GI KoreaBy on March 5th, 2013 at 3:33 am

Should USFK Consider Revising the Driving Policy?

Image from the KIA Flickr site.

Considering the exposure the Pellet Gun Bandits received from their idiotic actions in Seoul this past weekend it is likely that USFK will look at revising policies to address the situation.  Instead of doing things like tinkering with the curfew or banning servicemembers from own pellet guns to show the command is “doing something” they should instead look at a revising a policy that would instantly drop the USFK crime rate, the driving policy.

I was not a big fan of the driving policy change when it happened back in 2008 and history has pretty much proved my concerns correct.  I have shown in the past how many of the crimes committed by USFK personnel are traffic related, especially the DUI’s.  For example if the idiots involved in the pellet gun crime did not have a car the incident would not have escalated to the point that it did.  Also the DUI’s continue to be out of control and are in my opinion a ticking time bomb.  Can you imagine what would happen if a Sergeant Jerry Onken fatal DUI accident happens again?

That is why I believe the revising of the driving policy should be seriously looked at.  With the amount of mass transportation available a car is not a necessity in Korea like it is back in the US.  This fact combined with the drop in crime numbers should be more than enough of a rationale to highly restrict who can drive a car.

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  • Tomb Raider
    3:08 am on March 5th, 2013 1

    Knee jerk.

    Cars can contribute to the problems associated with the crime activity within USFK; they’re not the absolute problem.

    Lack of personal responsibility and accountability is the problem. In areas where adults act rationally, mature, and like they’re supposed to, you logically won’t get the number of crime problems compared to an area where some people act like complete animals.

    You’re way off the mark in advocating for this. In your world, there are no freedoms for service-members who are ordered to do their duty here. Ban cars, booze, and restrict people to base! Because all of those things are contributing to an overall IMMATURITY within the ranks. So you either ban none, or ban all.

    Then all Korean media would report on is illegal prostitution rings, pedophelia, high suicide rates, drug problems, and overt idiotic behavior (aka, sexual assaults) on subways. Oh and people shitting, spitting, and pissing everywhere.


  • Sprat
    5:25 am on March 5th, 2013 2

    So tomb raider, so you don’t want to lose your precious car. Dude we are four months into thr fiscal year and there have been..what eight or nine DUIs. I am a 30 yr SSG that cannot have a car . Does it suc not really . Does it piss me off when I see a PFC driving his family around , not really. The problem with the driving policy is too many people that are umaccompanied who happen to be of a certain.rank take advantage of their freedoms. Why does a 2LT with no responsibilities need a car? Also the curfew is not working. All it does is make people start drinking earlier and get wasted well before curfew but since there is a curfew they do not want to miss anything and end up missing curfew by a bit… i read on the blotter report where a Soldier got a curfew violation at 0101. Thats a little petty if you ask me but I only enforce the rules amd regulations before me.

  • jim
    6:33 am on March 5th, 2013 3

    in my five and a half years in korea, i’ve noticed one thing: usfk is horrible at just about everything it does. in their attempt to avoid international incidents (#1 priority), they set policy that has the unfortunate effect of centralizing all decision making at the top.

    i’ve seen the four-star himself involved in deciding whether or not a single platoon could resume training operations. i’ve seen colonels demand oversight of every penny spent within their brigade. no one gets to fail here. if one person fails, all have failed.

    consider the effect town patrols have on the actions of soldiers out in the ville. instead of being answerable to the knp for the most part, our courtesy patrols usher them on post if trouble starts. a slap on the wrist. instead, why not let soldiers hang out to dry? let them experience what a korean jail feels like. they’ll get the picture. instead of sweeping it under the rug, town patrols should escort offenders to the nearest korean police station. the smart ones already go where there is no command presence; doubling down on korean law would go a long ways towards showing this nation we care about their laws, and would keep the rest of the military population in check.

    instead, the answer is more curfew. more restriction. more command oversight. wrong answer, usfk.

  • Tom
    8:28 am on March 5th, 2013 4

    This topic is yet another example of a sneaky attempt by this site to excuse the latest incident, by suggesting that most of the crimes by USFK are just non serious traffic related offenses. :x Shooting dangerous weapons at passerby’s, wrecking through cars with high speed (and thus endangering the lives of the public), and attempting to kill a police officer are not just the old regular ‘traffic’ offense.

    Until the US military personnel are willing to take these crimes seriously, then no matter what you do, nothing will change. It starts with your attitude.

  • kushibo
    2:25 pm on March 5th, 2013 5

    excuse the latest incident, by suggesting that most of the crimes by USFK are just non serious traffic related offenses.

    GI Korea highlighted a drunk driving fatality and discussed other DUI committed by USFK personnel, so I don’t know how you’re coming up with that interpretation.

    Oh, wait. You’re agitprop. It doesn’t need to make sense.

    All USFK members would have to drive drunk every day and every night for years and years before it would approach the number of Koreans killed by the Chinese or by the Chinese puppets in the North.

  • Flyingsword
    2:33 pm on March 5th, 2013 6

    4…”shooting dangerous weapons…” Yeah, just like the movie, you’ll shoot your eye out. My daughter and I have soft air gun shoot outs (with eye protection). Hardly dangerous.

    But yes, those invovled in this incident are idiots and belong in jail….wish it was a real jail and not the SOFA jail.

  • Flyingsword
    2:37 pm on March 5th, 2013 7

    The typical military response to any incident is a perverted law of physics…

    For every action there is an equal and opposite over reacation.

    Do Soldiers drive cars in Germany and in the US? Yes, so why not here. In Europe there is lots of public transportation too. Your logic is silly. Also, have you been to camp humphreys? You need a car just to get from family housing to the front gate….

    Or I guess we just cancell the Korea is an assigment of choise experiment and make it a hardship tour for all, 1 year deployment, no alchol, 24/7 combat gear, manning the watch towers, no contact with the Korean community. That will work too.

  • Tom
    3:29 pm on March 5th, 2013 8


    United Products Safety Commission says that BB guns kill 4 people a year in the United States. They say it could be a dangerous weapon if improperly used. They are used for hunting in Korea. They are dangerous weapons especially when the pedestrians who are getting shot don’t have eye protection.

  • kushibo
    3:30 pm on March 5th, 2013 9

    Hardly dangerous.

    Public health databases report an average several deaths each year and perhaps hundreds of serious injuries (particularly eye injuries), usually accidents.

    They shoot a high-speed projectile that is usually aimed at something. At close range, as in an accident or in stupid behavior, a shot projectile can kill.

    So “hardly dangerous” downplays the potential danger when guys like these were indiscriminately aiming their weapon at different people. It would be unlikely to kill someone, but it is certainly possible when there is such reckless behavior.

    Furthermore, as others have noticed, the cops and much of the public wouldn’t know immediately that the gun is an air gun and not a regular one, and their response might reasonably be as if it were the latter. Someone with an air gun is probably easier to disarm than someone with a regular gun, but in a real world situation, the cops would respond as if it’s the second one.

  • kushibo
    3:33 pm on March 5th, 2013 10

    There is great public transportation in Seoul and other Korean cities, but (at least in Yongsan) it is very lousy within the military base.

    The shuttle buses should run every fifteen minutes and run until curfew. If people didn’t feel they needed a car just to get around base, then maybe they’d be less likely to buy one at all.

  • Leon LaPorte
    3:55 pm on March 5th, 2013 11

    10. This is true. With consolidated DFAC’s etc, many facilities on post are much more spread out than they would have been in years past. There are also stations where there are no commissaries and little or no support structure.

    It is also worth noting that many of the better houses are located further from the bases. Where I live there is no public transportation. If we are going to have families here, they are at a great disadvantage without a vehicle.

  • Flyingsword
    4:49 pm on March 5th, 2013 12

    Getting off topic but….

    Is it a BB gun, ie copper jacketed BBs; a pellet gun usuall .177 caliber projectile with a bullet nose and mad of lead; or is it a soft air gun, plastic pellet. Big difference.

    Knowing what is easily available in Korea (sold at many vendors in Itaewon), believe it was a soft air gun.

    Also, I want to know what you are hunting with a soft air gun? Styrofoam deer? That is about all a soft air gun projectile will penetrate.

  • Flyingsword
    4:50 pm on March 5th, 2013 13


  • Son_of_Anarchy
    5:02 pm on March 5th, 2013 14

    I got here in 2003 with my wife(non-command sponsered). I had no car and I had no problems! I got a car two years ago, just so that we could travel around the ROK. No, I don’t think that anyone below the rank of E-7 should be able to own a car or obtain a SOFA DL here in Korea. There were none to minimal DWI’s, Hit and Runs, or Drive Bys, back in the day and that is the way it should be today! I don’t really care if anyone disagrees with me or not, because that is my opinion! Catch a on or off Post Bus, a taxi, or a train if you want to go somewhere or better yet WALK! Save The Planet!

  • Sprat
    5:21 pm on March 5th, 2013 15

    #14, Lets look at the blotter report for vehicle incidents. Suprise, suprise it mainly E-7 and above. With the except of a few lower than E-7

  • Mulisha
    5:22 pm on March 5th, 2013 16

    @ #14- You, sir (if in fact you have a set), are a dumbass. Take a look at the monthly blotter reports. I would hazard a guess that in excess of 85% of the DUI’s here in Kroea are perpetrated by those of “senior” rank… Meaning, E-7 and higher… This includes Officers. So your comment of “I don’t think that anyone below the rank of E-7 should be able to own a car or obtain a SOFA DL here in Korea” really has no merit or justification.

  • Tom
    5:50 pm on March 5th, 2013 17

    #12 it was a lead tipped projectile.

  • Leon LaPorte
    6:07 pm on March 5th, 2013 18

    17. And I bet it was a semiautomatic BB gun as well!

    /an assault BB gun, if you will.
    /where’s Piers Morgan?

  • Eric
    6:20 pm on March 5th, 2013 19


    Police would not say if he actually shot at passers-by, but South Korea’s Yonhap News, citing police sources, said plastic BB bullets were recovered at the scene and matched some that were found inside the soldier’s car. Police did not find the car until early Monday, Yonhap said.

  • Leon LaPorte
    6:53 pm on March 5th, 2013 20

    The BB gun incident which precipitated this (although inexcusable) is relatively small potatoes compared to the aftermath which involved a high speed police pursuit, these soldiers intentionally using their car as a deadly weapon against a police office, which subsequently resulted in the officer being left no choice but to use deadly force.

    Let’s not lose sight of the serious crimes committed by these individuals rather than the precursor.

  • Son_of_Anarchy
    7:33 pm on March 5th, 2013 21

    OK #14 & #15 since you are obviously both PRIVATES, let me dumb this down for you. No one was talking about officers since they have ALWAYS BEEN ALLOWED TO HAVE CARS HERE IN KOREA!!! Some of the officers just chose not to have them back in the day, due to the fact that they were only going to be here for a short time and did not want the headache of getting rid of them. No back to the E-7s and above. They only had “seven” traffic violations in 2012, not counting Dec. 2012. The E-6s and below had “19″ traffic violations in 2012, not counting Dec. 2012. Last time I checked “19″ was more than seven, Right??? So why don’t you shut your chernyi-a$$ up Moesha and look at the facts before you let your “dumbass” mouth get ahead of that pea sized brain of yours!!!

  • Mooseknuckle
    8:23 pm on March 5th, 2013 22

    GI Korea, I think you are a very insightful and intelligent individual who obviously does his homework and puts a lot of time into his blog entries, but I think too much time on the peninsula has warped your sense of discipline. You need to get away from the “Let’s give Soldiers X (not the drug). Soldiers use X. Handful of Soldiers screw up using X. Let’s take X away from EVERYONE and that’ll solve everything” mentality that seems to permeate the leadership there. I was there from 04-06 and unfortunately I’m returning there in May. I’ve kept up with the affairs there mostly through your blog so I’ve watched the Clown College School of Discipline come full circle. Having spent some time in the real Army you know you are always going to have your share of issues in your unit, but a better “solution” to the problems in Korea is not more childish draconian rules. What USFK needs is a better mission. Not the sit and wait until something happens and pretend we’re going to do something about it mission. We need more training. We need BETTER training. Conduct more live joint operations with ROK units. Bring in Australian, Thai, or others for more joint training. Establish 1/2 HBCT as a QRF for not just an impending war with North Korea but as somewhat of a response to any incident in the global region. I believe the leadership will take the mission seriously and the men will actually take pride in what they do on the peninsula.

  • Smokes
    8:41 pm on March 5th, 2013 23

    #14, #15, and #21: Using only raw numbers to support a claim is flawed. It’s like back when the cutoff was E-5′s and up, the #1 “statistic” used in supporting the change to E-7′s and up was that more E-5′s and 6′s were involved in vehicle incidents. Well no kiiding when there were more E-5′s and 6′s driving than anyone else. If you’re insistent on using rank or pay-grade as a worthwhile qualifier for a perosn’s level of maturity (which by the way is retahded <-Boston southie usage added for effect) at least use sensible math like the percentages of each.

  • Sprat
    8:43 pm on March 5th, 2013 24

    #21, Maybe you failed a math class or three but I ran your numbers and could not come up with 19 violations for E-6s and below and seven violations for E-7s and above. Just counting DUIs, I could do the others if you would like. E-7s and above accounted for 10 DUIs from January 2012 till November 2012. In that same time frame E-6s and below accounted for 9. Granted I only took from the Korean courts and not USFK court maritals because really do those matter?The differences are not that great one way or another. Since you have mistaken me for a private I will make a mistake (hopefully not). Since you have one of those O-4 Egos I will concede defeat oh wise one.

  • Sprat
    8:53 pm on March 5th, 2013 25

    Smokes you are completely right but my main point to begin this was not everyone needs a car. Does an E-3 with a family need a car? Yes he does. Does an 0-2 without a family need a car? No he does not. Granting someone the privilege of having a car should be on a case by case basis if the person does not have their family. It should not be a right. Korea is one of those weird countries where you don’t need a car to get around. Don’t know where you gentlemen reside but traffic on Yongsan is horrible. Maybe less cars would be a good thing.

  • Smokes
    9:02 pm on March 5th, 2013 26

    Sprat @ 25: agreed on all points mentioned. It’s laziness and buddy hook-ups that brought about this system of who gets a vehicle and who doesn’t. Personally I think it should be based on:
    Type of Housing (On/Off Post)
    Family Size
    Length of Tour

    If you’re a 1 year tourist living on installation you have no requirement for a vehicle regardsless of the symbol on your chest.

  • someotherguy
    10:08 pm on March 5th, 2013 27


    GI you might want to look over the “policy changes”, they didn’t authorize E5/E6 to drive only changed the requirement from “exception to policy” to “authorization”.

    Prior you needed an ETP to drive meaning a battalion / brigade commander has gotta sign off that you have a good reason. Now it’s the same guy/gal doing the same signing only the removed the good reason part and replaced it with them saying your competent and have good judgement. E7+ and all Officers are automatically afforded driving privileges. All command sponsored people are also afforded driving privileges. If you have a family but are not command sponsored you still need an ETP but those are damn near automatically approved. I think 2ID is the only place that doesn’t automatically approve those.

    Now who’s willing to bet the owner of that car has a family and is either command sponsored or has an ETP for their family?

    So no GI, the aforementioned policy changes would have absolutely ZERO effect on this incident. He’s till have a car and it would of played out exactly the same way.

  • Son_of_Anarchy
    10:44 pm on March 5th, 2013 28

    #24 Maybe you failed Basic English! If you refer to my second post I was talking about ALL traffic violations for E-7 and below. I believe that Retired GI said the phrase “Traffic Related”. What about that do you not understand? So I guess that you are from a state that the only traffic infraction is a DUI? Well in the rest of the greater “49″ and all territories when a man or women with a badge pulls you over and gives you a little piece of paper that you need to sign, we call that a “Traffic Violation”. Oh ya O-4, please you have me confused with a Staff Officer! One other thing if you are a active E-6 with 30 years I got some ocean front property in Oklahoma that you can buy dirt cheap! The RCP on a E-6 is 20 years and I know your not in the Army Band and I know you are not promotable! Now who is the Math failure? :lol: :twisted:

  • someotherguy
    10:50 pm on March 5th, 2013 29


    … did you forget to take your medication today?

    Nothing you said makes any sense at all… like your having a make believe conversation with yourself.

  • Hume's Bastard
    10:55 pm on March 5th, 2013 30

    It’s time to consider again a full USFK withdrawal.

  • Leon LaPorte
    11:00 pm on March 5th, 2013 31

    30. Why is that again? Because a couple off duty soldiers act like dumbasses? That’s a good reason to scrap our international diplomacy. Yeah! You’re a real deep thinker.

    -1/10 if it was an intentional troll

  • CurfewViolator
    11:01 pm on March 5th, 2013 32

    Good lord! Is Ron Paul posting on this board now?

  • Son_of_Anarchy
    11:22 pm on March 5th, 2013 33

    @28 like balls Tom Jr.! :twisted:

  • Tom
    11:24 pm on March 5th, 2013 34

    @33 Hey I resent that!

  • Son_of_Anarchy
    11:26 pm on March 5th, 2013 35

    If the shoe fits wear it, Tom!

  • Baek In-je
    1:16 am on March 6th, 2013 36

    I’ll tell you what part of the driving policy should be changed; it is the SOFA license plates that are different from Korean civilian license plates. I always felt like I was a target, with the target bullseye securely on the front and back of the vehicle. Also, I got my car keyed an awful lot parked out on Seoul streets.

  • guitard
    1:50 am on March 6th, 2013 37

    Baek In-je wrote:

    I’ll tell you what part of the driving policy should be changed; it is the SOFA license plates that are different from Korean civilian license plates. I always felt like I was a target, with the target bullseye securely on the front and back of the vehicle. Also, I got my car keyed an awful lot parked out on Seoul streets.


    They got rid of SOFA plates at least ten years ago.

  • tbonetylr
    2:09 am on March 6th, 2013 38

    Yes, but they should do more than “consider” it. Bring on the army of
    S-H-U-T-T-L-E busses :cool:

  • Avatar of GI KoreaGI Korea
    4:41 am on March 6th, 2013 39

    @27- I know the driving policy quite well since I blogged about it on the site many times. I am not advocating for a complete removal of driving privledges. I am just saying that it should be highly restricted who should drive. Just becuase someone has his wife here like this E6 who got in trouble, why should he have a car? His wife obviously does not have mobility problems since she can go out party and create havoc in Itaewon with her husband. It looks like she is perfectly capable of taking a bus and walking as needed to do things she needs to do. So yes a driving policy change may have prevented the incident from escalating if they had no car.

    Like #25 said, why does a single LT need a car? However, if an E4 for example has a spouse and three kids that attend school and the school is not within walking distance than that E4 may need the car. Who is allowed to drive a car should be more highly scrutinized than it is today is all I am saying. I think there is a lot of people driving cars that do not need that car to perform their duties and live in Korea. It is more of a convenience issue to where they do not want to walk and take the bus. Who can drive in USFK should not be about convenience but instead by necessity.

  • Jinro Dukkohbi
    4:50 am on March 6th, 2013 40

    @37 – they got rid of the 2- (dash) plates over 10 years ago, but they only sort-of took away the ability to tell which plates belong to SOFA vehicles. When they changed over and started issuing all the big-number green plates, EVERY 16다 plate was issued by some USFK vehicle reg. office so having a 16다 plate still makes you an automatic target, at least around the area where they are recognized (i.e. local residents, shopkeepers, cops, etc. in Yongsan-gu know those are SOFA plates). When you get out in the boonies, away from any posts, you can blend-in with the rest of the natives some. Now that they’re issuing those white plates, I quit paying attention to any patterns so I’m not sure if the USFK vehicle reg. offices are still given a certain numbered-series of plates to issue to SOFA vehicles…

  • Hume's Bastard
    3:22 pm on March 6th, 2013 41

    #32: I do recall Ron Paul had significant support in the last Republican primaries.

    #31: I guess sequestration is a better way to determine how US forces will be deployed around the world. Perhaps you’ve missed the debate over “shapers v. restrainers” ( Or, Stephen Walt ( Or Doug Bandow ( And, my “deep” favorite – whatever that condescending snark means – Victor D. Cha (

    I don’t mind the insult. I do, as a veteran, with family still in the Marines and Army, that you so blithely decide that fellow citizens are sacrificed for designs that are an insult to their commitment and also strain the economy and defense of the United States. Your snark is Exhibit #999 why I refuse to comment on expat blogs like this one or Marmot’s. That GI Korea hasn’t closed comments speaks to his magnanimity.

  • Hume's Bastard
    3:23 pm on March 6th, 2013 42

    “I do, as a veteran, with family still in the Marines and Army, that you so blithely decide that fellow citizens are sacrificed for designs that are an insult to their commitment and also strain the economy and defense of the United States.”

    Should read:

    I do mind, as a veteran, with family still in the Marines and Army, that you so blithely decide that fellow citizens are sacrificed for designs that are an insult to their commitment and also support straining the economy and defense of the United States.

  • A couple of morning links on thuggish GIs | The Marmot's Hole
    5:26 pm on March 6th, 2013 43

    [...] in Korea says, and I’m guessing a substantial amount of the increase in crime comes from USFK’s relaxation of driving restrictions in 2008. That said, yeah, it seems that angry Koreans=fewer GI crimes, which suggests USFK can improve [...]

  • guitard
    1:01 am on March 7th, 2013 44

    Jinro Dukkohbi wrote:

    Now that they’re issuing those white plates, I quit paying attention to any patterns so I’m not sure if the USFK vehicle reg. offices are still given a certain numbered-series of plates to issue to SOFA vehicles . . .

    There are so many different 2-digit (followed by hangul syllable) plates issued to USFK now – that it’s hard to tell anymore which ones are SOFA and which ones aren’t. And that’s a good thing IMO.

  • Mulisha
    6:46 pm on March 7th, 2013 45

    @28- Yo Sons, try taking a frikin’ English course or something because Sprat CLEARLY said that he is a 30 year old SSG… NOT a 30 yr SSG… Bet you are oe of those wannabe ex-pat, I did my 4 years and got out types aren’t you?

  • jim
    9:10 pm on March 7th, 2013 46


    42라 and 60다 prefixes as well, to name a few more off the top of my head. shoot, just go into your local dbids office and read their file cabinet labels.

  • Jinro Dukkohbi
    9:10 pm on March 7th, 2013 47

    @45 – ummm, after that wandering, nearly unintelligible mini-rant, are you sure you should be giving advice on who needs English lessons :?:

  • jim
    9:13 pm on March 7th, 2013 48


    i see, a refusal to comment due to general snarkiness, with the exception of pointing out such snarkiness. makes sense.

  • someotherguy
    9:53 pm on March 7th, 2013 49


    Your post specifically talked about the adjustment to the driving regulations which did not authorize more driving privileges, it only adjusted the tone of the authorization procedures. Before it was “only command sponsored, everything else is an exception”, now it’s “command sponsored any those the brigade commander believes should drive”. Exact same person deciding who does and does not drive, only the tone and language are changed which in turn changes the nature of the justifications.

    Also part of Command Sponsorship includes access to a vehicle, this is non-negotiable and is standard in any normalized overseas assignment. They do not differentiate between family size, if your CS then your CS END.OF.STORY. Their normalizing tours in SK not turning it into a rotation in the sand box. It’s been identified as a QoL issue with families.

    So now we’re back to the original non-argument, your proposed implementations would do jack sh!t to prevent this situation. It’s asking for a non-existent fix to an imagined non-existent problem. What we have is simply a failure to exercise personal responsibility and good judgement. Disincline that failure and hold it as an example of what happens when people do the wrong thing. Then move on.

  • someotherguy
    9:55 pm on March 7th, 2013 50


    You can easily tell who’s operating a vehicle under SOFA registration by their license plates. ROK reserves a series of numbers just for SOFA registrations, in Daegu it’s 24, and in Seoul I think it’s 16. Needless to say it’s very easy to tell USFK vehicles from LN vehicles and it does paint a huge target on peoples back.

  • CurfewViolator
    11:02 pm on March 7th, 2013 51

    50. Are you sure. Looking out in the parking lot now and seeing 50, 35, 72, 38. Mine is is a 25 and there is even a 27 and 14 sitting in the lot.

  • someotherguy
    11:16 pm on March 7th, 2013 52


    And who owns / registered those cars? LN’s get the normal Korean numbers, if someone’s wife is a LN and they register the car under their name then it gets a regular number. Obviously Seoul has many more numbers then Deagu, but there still a set block.

  • someotherguy
    11:19 pm on March 7th, 2013 53


    Actually a better way to describe it is that the number you get depends on where you registered it at. SOFA people will register their vehicles on-base and thus get the series assigned to the on-base office. If you can somehow get your vehicle registered off-base then it will get a number from that registration office.

  • CurfewViolator
    11:42 pm on March 7th, 2013 54

    Tracking. Guess 25 is the new series for Yongsan then. I don’t think the plate number really is the issue though on telling a SOFA vehicle. How many people really pay attention to that stuff. Think the more obvious give away is the Chevy Tahoe parked at E-Mart with Airborne Wings on it or the 15 year old Sonota with TA-50 in the back seat. Not disagreeing with what your saying, just think it is other things that are dead giveaway’s then the plate number.

  • Leon LaPorte
    2:52 am on March 8th, 2013 55

    I think everyone is overlooking the most obvious sign: The D-BIDS sticker on the windshield. :roll:

  • Smokes
    2:57 am on March 8th, 2013 56

    I was waiting for someone to bring that up. :P

    I would still think the easiest way to spot the USFK-Mobiles would be the big foreign driver behind the wheel.

  • Leon LaPorte
    4:21 am on March 8th, 2013 57

    56. Nose size IS a giveaway, isn’t it? :razz:

  • guitard
    5:02 am on March 8th, 2013 58

    someotherguy wrote:

    You can easily tell who’s operating a vehicle under SOFA registration by their license plates. ROK reserves a series of numbers just for SOFA registrations, in Daegu it’s 24, and in Seoul I think it’s 16. Needless to say it’s very easy to tell USFK vehicles from LN vehicles and it does paint a huge target on peoples back.

    In 2004 when they started issuing plates that excluded the city/province name at the top, and replaced it with a two digit number followed by a hangul syllable and a 4-digit number in the middle of the plate – USFK plates in Seoul were all 16-da. They continued issuing 16-da plates when they changed over to the black-on-white color scheme plates in 2006 where all the information was switched to being written on a single line. However, since that time, they have issued several other series of plates.

    If someone sat on the platform of Ichon Station with a digital camera and videotaped the gate during morning rush hour traffic – they could review the tape and it wouldn’t take too long for them to begin seeing a pattern and they would easily be able to figure out the half dozen or so series of plates that are issued to USFK members in Seoul. This would also be true if there were a dozen series issued. And it would be true even if there were two dozen series issued (it would just take a little more time).

    As far as a target being painted on the backs of USFK employees because of a limited number of plate series being issued . . . it doesn’t matter how many series are issued. If someone is serious about targeting a a member of USFK – they can just hang out in the general vicinity of a US base and the “targets” will come to them. For around 75% of them – the bad guy wouldn’t have to bother looking at the license plates – because their white faces and big noses will give them away.

  • William
    9:18 pm on March 9th, 2013 59

    GI Korea and ROKHEADS, I would be very interested to hear a proposed proposal of how to revamp the driving policy to achieve your desired endstate of a reduction or elimination of driving offenses. Would really like to see the exact qualifiers of rank, family, distance or whatever.

    GI Korea has NOT said such and suck rank needs to lose the ability to drive here, but many will asume this would be a part of the “solution”.

    In some cases, a family needs 2 cars. Husband goes to PT and work that is not close to camp and wife has school, medical business, work, or all the above.

    Taking away cars is not a help.

    Look at the case of people living in Area I which is composed of CRC, Stanley, Casey/Hovey hub of northern camps. MANY of the families assigned to area I rent an apartment in YANGJU. Why in those fast growing boonies? They have the best luxury apartments with the best ammenities in the whole area that fit in at or below what Soldiers are authorized to spend. Any Soldier wanting to give the spouse and family less than the best available for the same money is not a good husband or wife.

    Let’s examine what a Soldier WITHOUT a daycare need must do. Keep in mind someone with a daycare need and a spouse who has to drive/bus/train to work at 0600 AM is up teh creek without a car or two.

    Soldier living in Yangju wants to get to Camp CRC without a car. (why would they choose to live in Yangju when SK/Hillstate/GumGwang are AMOST as luxurious and modern and right next to CRC?) Lets say they try to get to CRC from Yangju. 90% of the luxury apartments are not anywhere near the Deokjeung or Deokgye stations, many 1-3 km to the east of these stations. Soldier rides a bycycle for 5-15 minutes to get to train station. the FIRST and only train in the 0500 hour timeframe going south is 0549 at Deokgye. That train arrives at Ganung station at around 0600. takes a couple minutes to hustle down the stairs and get to where bike is parked. Soldier would have to have another bicycle staged at Ganung station to ride 5-10 minutes to CRC front gate to arrive there by 0615-0620 if they are lucky, then another 5-10 minutes minimum to get thru the gate check and to PT formation to 0630 formation at 0620+ to 0630 when 1SG is ready to slap leather and shoot your azz for being late to formation, especially if you are an NCO.

    Yangju to CRC commute for PT will not work for 0630 PT formation by any measure. Some units might still have 0600 formation and that certainly will not work.

    Lets look at getting to Casey from Yangju. 1st Northbound train is 0550 and gets to Bosan stn at 0608 if it isn’t running late. Takes a few minutes to get to your bike and another few minutes to get to Casey front gate and a few minutes to clear ID card check, so you are looking at 0615 minimum clearing the gate, prolly longer. Tat leaves you a scant 5 minutes to get to 0630 formation 10 minutes early before PSG/1SG hang Ur azz for being later than 10 minutes early.

    Not going to work there either, God forbid you are trying to get to a BN deeper in Casey, like the Field Artillery or whatever, or God forbid HOVEY.

    One would NEVER make it camp on time.

    One would be forced to take a taxi to front gate and bike it from there. Anyone tried to ride a taxi from middle of Yangju boonies to casey front gate? That is not a cheap ride by any measure and multiply that by the number of PT days in a week and you get a tidy sum indeed. Would any soldier in their right mind endure this when their Commanders and Officers and SENIOR NCOs get to have a car to avoid this hassle and expense? NO. That is a form of harrassment simple and plain. Any policy making a Soldier and SR Officiers/SR NCOs is blatantly against our current Command Policy of favoritism and fair/equal treatment.

    One could make their way to Highway 3, lock up teh bike and take bus 39 north for a total commute time of around an hour to get to the gate near 0600 ish and ride bike like a bat outta hell to get to PT formation 10 minutes early.

    That case is even worse to the Soldier trying to get by without a car.

    One might say, let’s restrict command Sponsored Soldiers to live within3-5 KM of the gate and let them bike ride or short taxi ride to front gate. That would REALLY be declaring war against Soldiers as they know their SR NCOs and Officers have a completely different standard. The Soldiers need to get up an hour earlier and hustle to work worrying about being late for 10 minutes early while the SR NCOs and Officers go to work in COMFORT? Oh no that would not fly, any unit doing business like that would have their Soldiers commit some serious fratricide whe stuff gets real.

    What if the Soldier works at Stanley and lives at Yangju? Won’t work. Maybe they could catch an early bus 39 and change to bus 1 and get off at front gate of Stanley to hike it up the hill to formation with their rucksack. Good PT just to gett to PT and it would require rising around 0430 to get ready and out of the apt to ride bike to hwy 3 to wait for bus 39. Miss the first southbound bus and kiss your chances of gettign to formation on time out the window/

    Wouldn’t work in Seoul either, everyone simply lives far away. Are we going to make Soldiers living near Hanam ride a bike in congested city risking killing themselves? Nope, wouldn’t fly.

    Anyone been down to Humphreys lately? Busses on Post run every 25 minutes with a “PT bus” early. One has to get to teh walk-in gate by 0545 to make sure they are in time. Is it practical to make Soldiers wake up at 0500 to get to a bus stop to get on Bus 20 to get off at teh walk-in gate, tehn another period of waiting fro 1st post shuttle bus and ruck around with everything while Sr NCOs and Officers can comfortable get up later and carry everything they need in their cars and not have to shower in the motor pool like they are basic training recruits showering in public?

    Daegu anyone? If a Servicemeber has a spouse of Korean heritage, that spouse would kill teh servicemember if they did NOT live in teh big city where everything for them is happening. the spouse is authorized a car for crying loud. Nope, try getting from anywhere in Daegu proper to Camp Carrol using public transportation front gate by 0600 to ensure a Soldier can make it to 0630 PT formation 10 minutes early? even if they COULD, it requires another bike to be staged. Is it our policy to make everyone buy a bike? What if it is pouring down cats and dogs rain typhoon or it is snowing and roads slippery, we are inviting needless accidents operating like this with Soldiers rushing to get to PT on time riding a bike in hours of darkness rushing in bad conditions with other cars on teh same roads. An incident waiting to happen as well. Unacceptable risk.

    Nope, I keep my lunch bet on getting to PT formation on time using public transportation in for camp carroll if you do not live near the front gate.

    Any change to the policy that doesn’t apply equally to SR NCOs and Officers will not be a fair or effective way to do business.

    Will Sr NCOs be willing to get up an hour or more earlier and ruck everything around rushing to get to PT on time? Maybe some, but dmned few. Officers? You gotta be kidding me. Less for sure.

    To make stuff work fairly, we would have to majorly shift PT and work hours, or get rid of morning PT altogether. How likely is it that USFK would get rid of unit PT? Not likely, especially considering how many out of shape Soldiers, NCOs and Officers we have in our ranks. PT going away is not likely to happen anytime soon. That is too entrenched.

    Is it right to limit certain Soldiers to live right next to the gate and deprive them of the opportunity to live in the same conditions as their SR NCOs and Officers? $1400 in Humphreys area can get you a NICE luxury apartment, ditto for the $1600ish authorized in Area I. What servicemember is not going to try to get the best for his/her family within the authorized ammount?

    Someone please tell me details of a comprehensive POV, work, and housing solution to our issues that would make sense?

    Not a dig at GI Korea or the website. Contrary, it is a great site to read about and discuss issues and that is what is so great about this site.

    I just want to hear from him or anyone what a decent solution is.

    Simply banning certain rank groups from driving is not going to work on many levels given our current great public transportation system, non-existent or shytty systems on post, and what time we have formations. Solving the problem by banning certain ranks from driving will cause more serious issues.

    I am of course assuming that revising the driving policy means stopping certain ranks from driving or at least stopping those who live a certain distance from camp from driving.

    GI Korea did not say that or anything else in his article, he simply said it merits a look at revision. I agree that not only the driving policy needs to be examined, but also how our infastructure is setup.

    I would recommend that we eliminate post shuttle and replace it with G-Bus on post and let everyone use their T-money card to get around, but have the busses run every 5 minutes like they do in Korean cities. we already let in a lot of Korean drivers on post, why not certify the bus drivers for G-Bus. we have Korean drivers already hired for hte slow, infrequent shuttle bus system.

    On another note, teh public transpotation system and one-lane roads around the airstrip are killing things in Humphreys. USFK would have to blow up the fence and buildings around the airstrip to make a better infastructure. that is NOT underway right now, except at a small portion of the NW fenceline. All the motor pools and every thing else along the road going by the gas staion and circling the airstrip would have to get blown up.

  • Avatar of GI KoreaGI Korea
    8:30 am on March 10th, 2013 60

    William, thank you for your thoughtful comment. What I am recommending is that commanders show more discretion on who they give a car to. It should not be ranked based. A single LT does not need a car just like a single PVT does not need one. Also it should not be command sponsored based either. It should be need based. I will expand on this thought when I have more time.

  • Glans
    9:45 am on March 10th, 2013 61

    Why use cars at all? The command could transport all personnel wherever they need to go on the versatile deuce and a half.

  • Obama's Speech Coach
    11:29 am on March 10th, 2013 62

    Glans should stop trying to think with either head. It just lowers the IQ of the hemisphere…

  • Obama's Speech Coach
    11:37 am on March 10th, 2013 63

    I agree with GI Korea that most GIs do not need to drive. There are many taxis for those who do not wish to take the many buses or the trains/subways.

    And it could be part of a “Go Green” campaign. Lower pollution and less chance for “touble”. It’s cheaper to ride mass transit than drive in Korea. And parking isn’t a lot of fun, either.

    It might exen give them a better opportunity to meet nicer Koreans…

  • Obama's Speech Coach
    11:46 am on March 10th, 2013 64

    Not to ignore William, I agree with all of his points; but question one thing: Does he think soldiers in Korea are just there doing a job like working in a Walmart or a corperate office? How much time would they need to get to work if the norKs attacked? WTF are they doing putting any of their families north of Seoul?

  • Glans
    12:00 pm on March 10th, 2013 65

    Aw, Coach. I make a constructive suggestion, and you hurt my fee-fees.

  • William
    7:49 am on March 11th, 2013 66

    OS Coach, Soldiers assigned to Area I north of Seoul are forced to live north of Seoul in Area I and do not get teh Secretarial Planal Authority memo approved to have their family live in or around Seoul. it costs too much to do that and USFK stopped doing this late 2009. Everyone who get hooked up before then was good, everyone else after that had to live in Area I.

    Now only people originally assigned to yongsan who later take over somewhere in Area I can keep a family in Seoul.

    Since everyone assigned to area I wants the best for their family if they do not choose convenience of close proximity to camp… Many choose Yangju which has HUGE apartments that cost at or under the authorized ammount.


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