2ID eases up on drinking restrictions in South Korea
SEOUL – The commander of the 2nd Infantry Division has empowered his subordinate leaders to lift previously issued restrictions on drinking alcohol and weekend passes “based on their assessment of their units’ readiness and training.”
Maj. Gen. Edward Cardon had slapped those and other restrictions on the 10,000 soldiers in his division on March 18 in the wake of several highly publicized confrontations between U.S. soldiers and Koreans here.
“As the only permanently deployed division in the U.S. Army, readiness is the foundation of the division’s mission, as part of the [South Korea]-U.S alliance, especially during this period of time with heightened tensions,” a 2ID release said.
“Equally important is maintaining the trust and respect of the Korean people,” it said.
The 2ID accounts for more than a third of the 28,500 U.S. servicemembers in South Korea, with most of them stationed between Seoul and the Demilitarized Zone.
Cardon banned alcohol consumption, suspended the issuance of three- and four-day weekend passes and directed that everyone in the 2ID be given “responsible-conduct training” after a St. Patrick’s Day weekend that saw five U.S.soldiers involved in an early morning brawl involving a knife outside a Dongducheon night club, and two others involved in separate altercations with Korean police officers in Seoul.
Those and a few other incidents in recent weeks prompted South Korean government officials and media outlets to call for a crackdown on the behavior of American troops stationed here.
“In addition to the validation of readiness standards, the division conducted a full review of all division policies with respect to discipline and its relationship to readiness,” the 2ID release said.
With help from Geyonggi Province officials, the division revised its cultural awareness program which, “reinforces the significance of every soldier’s role in maintaining and building the strength of the [South Korea]-U.S. alliance,” according to the 2ID.