Troops in South Korea have 90 more days of curfew suspension
The curfew test for service members in South Korea is being extended for another 90 days, U.S. Forces Korea announced Tuesday.
The command previously instituted a curfew suspension assessment that began June 17 and was supposed to end Tuesday. The curfew suspension was intended to assess whether the command would maintain a USFK-wide curfew or not, based on troop behavior.
It was “an opportunity for USFK uniformed personnel to demonstrate their ability to maintain good order and discipline, at all times and under all conditions,” the command’s release reads.
The initial 90-day curfew suspension period is partially being extended on the recommendation of component level commanders.
“After consultation with USFK component commanders and input from Command Sergeant Major Tagalicud, I decided to extend the curfew suspension for an additional 90 days,” Gen. Robert B. Abrams, USFK commander, said in a statement.
“The vast majority of our personnel have conducted themselves appropriately, but I felt it was important to implement an additional 90 days to ensure we are making the correct decision regarding the curfew,” Abrams added.
At the end of the evaluation period, Abrams will decide whether the off-installation curfew is kept in place or rescinded based “on a number of factors including servicemember behavior, morale, and readiness factors,” the release reads.
In July, a U.S. soldier assigned to South Korea came under scrutiny after he allegedly attempted to steal a taxi and hit a Korean National Police officer. The soldier was out drinking with friends when he assaulted a taxi driver and attempted to steal the cab before hitting the KNP officer, and was ultimately tased, according to a message posted by U.S. Army WTF Moments.
USFK officials confirmed the soldier was handed over to U.S. authorities in accordance with the U.S.-South Korea Status of Forces Agreement, but would not comment on the exact details of what transpired. The Korean Broadcasting Service reported that the U.S. soldier was arrested on suspicion of assault and property damage before being handed over to the Americans.
After the incident was reported, Abrams retweeted U.S. Army WTF Moments’ warning after the event to behave themselves and not end up on the commander’s blotter. He added that soldiers should be watching their battle buddies during nights out.
That event did not appear to be the death knell for the curfew suspension test, as some feared.
“Your service here is professionally and personally rewarding, and we are all responsible for our on and off-post conduct – every minute, every hour, every day, anywhere in Korea,” Abrams said in his statement.
“We are ambassadors of USFK, the United States and the US-RoK Alliance to the Korean people,” he added. “Our professional behavior is equally important off-duty as it is on-duty.”
Normally, the curfew lasts from 1-5 a.m. and requires troops to remain on base, in their residences or hotel rooms during those hours, according to the General Order Regarding Off-Installation Curfew posted to the command’s website.
The curfew is sometimes referred to as a “readiness call,” as its restrictions are often framed as a way to ensure troops are able to conduct their duties on the peninsula each day.