Seventh AF commander addresses incident near Osan AB
7/11/2012 - OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea (AFNS) -- The 7th Air Force commander held a press conference here July 8, 2012, regarding an incident between Osan Air Base's town patrol and Korean citizens in the Songtan entertainment district.
"I want to express my regret and offer a sincere apology to the individuals affected by the actions of a small group of Airmen who were involved in the unfortunate incident on July 5 outside the Osan gate," said Lt. Gen. Jan-Marc Jouas.
Seventh Air Force officials and Korean National Police investigators are looking into the altercation between several Korean citizens and members of the 51st Security Forces Squadron town patrol. A video showing a portion of the conflict appeared on Korean TV news, prompting national interest. Jouas called the press conference to address the media's questions.
"The individuals involved have been suspended, and will not perform their normal duties until the investigation is completed," he said. "We are working closely with the Korean National Police and have provided witness statements as they requested."
According to the general, U.S. security forces personnel outside the base perimeter have jurisdiction over members of the armed forces, their families and others covered by the Status of Forces Agreement. Beyond that, Jouas said, situations should be turned over to the KNP whenever possible.
However, in accordance with U.S. Forces Korea regulations, security forces personnel outside the base perimeter who believe they, or someone else, are in danger may use the appropriate level of restraint to respond to the danger.
"I want our investigation to find out if that was the case in this particular incident," Jouas said.
The general said that this incident was an isolated event; the town patrol has a long record of assisting Americans and Koreans, maintaining order, and providing the initial response and first aid in emergency situations. Osan AB will maintain close relationships with the Songtan community, business leaders and the KNP as the investigation continues.
"I assure you that we are taking this incident very seriously, and are profoundly committed to conducting ourselves within the parameters established by USFK and the SOFA, with complete respect for the laws of the Republic of Korea and the rights of its citizens," the general said.
No additional Songtan curfew or off-limits restrictions are being contemplated, Jouas said.