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Being a good ambassador: Curfew violation

(U.S. Air Force graphic by Naoko Shimoji/Released)

(U.S. Air Force graphic by Naoko Shimoji/Released)

07/13/2015 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan - -- Service members are ambassadors to the local Okinawan people and as such, are responsible for maintaining a good relationship with the community.

Having a curfew is currently a fact of life here in Okinawa and it's service members responsibility to abide by that curfew policy.

"I think some people end up violating curfew because they think they won't get caught," said Capt. Whitney Howe-Mendoza, 18th Wing Legal chief of adverse actions. "I think other people don't give themselves enough time to make it back on to base and the gate guards take note of what time you come through the gates."

Kadena's 18th Security Forces Squadron is ever vigilant at the gates surrounding the base, stopping and checking every vehicle that wants to gain entrance.

"Security Forces operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year," said Tech. Sgt. Ronald Young, NCO in charge of police services. "No matter what day it is, Security Forces will be at the gate."

Those who violate the curfew are recorded and the information is sent to the Legal office.

Although these incidents don't happen very often, those that choose to ignore the curfew policy are subject to consequences.

"When people come back onto base between 1 and 5 a.m., the 18th SFS personnel at the gate take notes on their curfew violation logs, no matter the reason, and they are sent to the Legal office," Howe-Mendoza said. "The Legal office and unit leadership then work together to determine if the person is in violation of the curfew or if they had a legitimate reason for coming onto base between those hours, such as a night shift."

Those service members that have broken the set curfew policy can look forward to a not-so-fun and lengthy process.

"If a person is found to be in violation of the curfew policy, the member is usually offered an Article 15 under the Uniform Code of Military Justice," Howe-Mendoza said. "If they are found to have committed the offense, punishment can include up to forfeitures of one-half month's pay per month for two months, 60 days restriction, 45 days extra duty, reduction in grade and a reprimand.  Ultimately, punishment is determined on a case-by-case basis."

To avoid unwanted punishments, maintain a good ambassadorship and ensure the future of your career simply avoid being in a situation where violating the curfew policy becomes a possibility.