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U.S. soldiers reprimanded for violating curfew

The commanding general of the U.S. Forces Korea has called out officers and non-commissioned officers for violating an off-base curfew, a report said Friday.

The Stars and Stripes, a U.S. military newspaper, said Gen. James D. Thurman issued a memo last month titled “Leader Discipline.” In it, Thurman wrote that 168 U.S. service members were apprehended for curfew violations between October and December last year, more than 50 of whom were NCOs or officers.

“These violations from leaders, who are responsible for the enforcement of the curfew they are violating, are unacceptable,” Thurman wrote. “I cannot and will not tolerate the actions of the officers and NCOs who lack self-discipline and choose to intentionally disregard an existing lawful military order that is their duty to uphold.”

The USFK’s curfew is in effect from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m., seven days a week.

On Oct. 7 last year, Thurman imposed the curfew for 30 days, and extended it again in November. It had been withdrawn in July 2010 after being in place for nine years. It was then modified and extended indefinitely in January.

Enforcing the new curfew was largely in response to a series of criminal charges brought against U.S. soldiers since last fall.

They have come under investigation for allegations such as sexual assault, arson, drug smuggling and robbery. One soldier has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for raping a South Korean teenager.

The USFK has said the curfew applies to all U.S. service members in Korea, whether permanently or temporarily assigned here.

It doesn’t cover military officials at the U.S. embassy in Seoul, but military family members of civilians working on base will be “encouraged to abide by this policy.”

About 28,500 U.S. soldiers serve in South Korea. Their presence is a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended in an armistice rather than a peace treaty and left the two Koreas technically at war. 

(Yonhap News)
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