Checkpoint Asia

US Forces in Korea Only Made It a Month Without a Curfew Before a Soldier Got Drunk and Hijacked a Taxi

Tasered in a brawl with South Korean police after hitting a driver and stealing his taxi

The midnight curfew was temporarily suspended last month for 90 days for evaluation purposes

A soldier stationed in South Korea has landed himself exactly where every soldier in South Korea doesn’t want to be — on the commanding general of U.S. Forces Korea’s radar.

A messaged posted by U.S. Army WTF Moments on July 20th says that an “underage soldier” assaulted a taxi driver and stole the vehicle after a night of drinking, resulting in him getting tased. Per the message, the soldier is facing “charges of Assault, Robbery, DUI, and underage drinking,” but public affairs officer for the 2nd Infantry Division, Lt. Col. Martyn Crighton, told Task & Purpose it is still under investigation.

“We are aware of the incident involving a U.S. Soldier and Korean National Police in Itaewon last weekend and are cooperating fully with all legal authorities,” Crighton said. “We take this matter very seriously. We are committed to ensuring our Soldiers obey Korean laws, U.S. military regulations and remain good neighbors with the Korean community.”

Gen. Robert Abrams tweeted on Sunday that U.S. troops in Korea are “Ambassadors who represent our country on and off duty,” reminding the soldiers under his command that they are “guests here.”

This comes just weeks after Gen. Robert Abrams decided to temporarily lift troops’ curfew in Korea.

Things had been going smoothly, according to Brig. Gen. Patrick Donahoe, who told Task & Purpose in a previous interview earlier this month that it had thus far been a “pleasant surprise” with the curfew lifted.

Leadership in Korea has been on a mission to improve the quality of life for soldiers by cutting through the bureaucratic red tape so often installed by the U.S. military — one of those steps was suspending the curfew.

So in other words: Don’t fuck it up for everyone else.

Source: Task and Purpose

The June article announcing the change in policy:

U.S. troops rejoice — the midnight curfew for service members in South Korea has been temporarily suspended, as command evaluates if you can be trusted to not act like wild animals in the streets of Pyeongtaek.

  • The suspension of the curfew will last 90 days, starting Monday and going until September 17th. At the end of those 90 days, U.S. Forces Korea commander Gen. Robert Abrams will evaluate to decide if the suspension should be continued, rescinded, or made permanent, USFK said in the announcement.
  • According to USFK, the assessment “will focus on service member behavior, morale, and readiness factors.”
  • The curfew had previously been rescinded in 2010, Stars and Stripes reports, but it was reimposed after “two high-profile rape cases involving American soldiers.” The decision to suspend the curfew again aims to make South Korea a “more attractive assignment.”
  • “I actually didn’t believe it,” Sgt. Akeyla Richardson, with the 563rd Medical Logistics Company, told Stars and Stripes. “When I first heard, I thought there is no way, people out here are too crazy. Now that is has finally happened, I just hope no one messes it up for the rest of us.”