October 25, 2012
By Staff Sgt. Ken Melton |
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION FUTENMA, Okinawa, Japan — Lt. Gen. Kenneth J. Glueck Jr. conducted an all-hands reflection brief with Marines at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma Oct. 24 in response to recent alleged incidents by service members on Okinawa.
Although the latest high-profile incident does not involve Marines, Glueck, the III Marine Expeditionary Force commanding general, is using it as an opportunity to visit all Marine Corps installations on Okinawa to personally emphasize the importance of upholding the Marine Corps’ high moral standards at all times.
“The bottom line is that we are all under a magnifying glass,” said Glueck. “We can talk about how our incident rates are down, but what I need you to do is to go out there and prove it. Prove that we have a good liberty campaign, that we are good neighbors in Okinawa, and that we respect the people of Okinawa.”
Alleged incidents over the past few months have garnered significant local, national and international attention. Glueck made clear to the Marines that these alleged incidents are not taken lightly and that service members are held to a higher standard and must understand that they are representing the United States while in the Asia-Pacific region.
Lt. Gen. Sam Angelella, commander, U.S. Forces Japan, issued a general order stipulating that all members of the U.S. military in Japan, including those in a temporary duty, permanent change of station or leave status, must be on the military installation where they reside, in their off-installation private residence or in their hotel or place of lodging for temporary duty from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily.
“I want to personally apologize for the grief and trauma the victim has endured and the anger it has caused among people in Okinawa,” said Angelella. “In addition to the curfew, core value retraining for military personnel and status of forces agreement civilians will be conducted by subordinate commanders and we will review the USFJ liberty policy.”
Violations of the curfew are punishable under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Component commands are responsible for informing inbound units and individuals participating in exercises or other temporary duty on the curfew policy prior to initiation of their travel to Japan.
“We are showing the Japanese people that we are very serious about these incidents, and we are using this period as a time of reflection,” said Glueck. “Think about your actions and demonstrate that we are good stewards, neighbors and ambassadors and that we respect the customs, traditions and the people of Japan.”
Other leaders agree with Glueck that Marines should understand their unique role when serving in a foreign country.
“As service members on Okinawa, we represent the military and America,” said Sgt. Maj. Brent L. Cook, sergeant major, MCAS Futenma, Marine Corps Installations Pacific. “When someone meets you for the first time, your conduct sets a precedent on how they view all service members and Americans. One individual’s actions speak for all of us, so we all have to consider the impression we make to our hosts and neighbors.”
Glueck hopes that these briefs will reinforce the Marine Corps’ high standards of conduct and inspire Marines to improve the relationship with the local community.
“I have all the trust and confidence that we will overcome this period and continue to move forward,” said Glueck. “Every Marine on Okinawa became a diplomat the moment they landed on Okinawa. Conduct yourselves accordingly when interacting with our hosts and be the best diplomat you can be for our country and service.”