Wednesday, July 30, 2008

More on the USFK Curfew...

Here's the actual link to the official policies on Curfew & Driving

So here's a little more of what we do here at AFN Korea. Our folks cut this within a few hours yesterday, after the USFK Commander and Command Sergeant Major came in to talk about the new policy.

I don't feel the command is going to make a decision in the next 6 months based on a certain cut-off point. By that I mean, I don't think that "X" number of incidents will result in the policy being rescinded, OR that "only a few" will mean that the policy will be continued or expanded.

If it were me, I'd certainly be making my decision based on how serious any incidents were, did they involve local nationals, etc. etc. A couple of GIs beating each other up at 0230 isn't going to make me think this is a bad policy...beating up an old Korean woman is a different story.

That's one major difference between the American & Korean cultures: the Koreans are more likely to see you as a rep for your entire culture. Americans found it hard to understand, for example, why Koreans apologized for the VA tech shooting.

I don't think Americans in general, and younger Americans in particular, understand that part of the culture and why things that we do here are "different" than the same stuff at, say, Fort Bragg.

Of course, maybe they do, and they just think it's unfair and shouldn't be that way.

Your thoughts?


15 Aug means later curfews and easier rules for cars.

Today the USFK Commander, GEN Walter Sharp, and CSM Robert Winzenried, made the announcement about the new USFK policies on driving and curfew.

The best part is that the command’s attitude is that, while they recognize that any one Soldier has the ability to affect the reputation of the command, we shouldn’t keep punishing everyone for the actions of a very few…

In GEN Sharp’s own words…

…we have great service members in our military; the great, great majority of them will always do the right thing. I do not believe we should punish these great service members for the acts a very few. We must also understand the acts a one or two can effect the strength of the ROK-US Alliance. Korean culture believes the acts of each individual reflect on the character of all.

CURFEW POLICY: the curfew restrictions on Friday night, Saturday, Sunday morning and U.S.-observed holidays will change from 0100-0500 to 0300-0500 but if you are on leave, you are exempt from curfew entirely, except the night before you are scheduled to report back to work.

POV POLICY: Basically, now if you are a command sponsored service member, you no longer have to get permission from the 1st Lt. Col. In your change of command to own a car. Also, ALL service members may take the drivers license test and be licensed with the approval of the first O5 in their chain of command.

My call on the curfew issue? We’ll see absolutely no difference for 30-45 days, because no one wants their unit to have the first guy (or gal) busted at 0245 in the morning…after a while, we’ll see a small spike with a few incidents, but they will be similar to the usual nonsense and at about the 4 month-mark, it will level off to about what it is now.

I am going to have faith that 1st line NCOs are going to do what they have always done for the most part…keep their service members out of trouble.

As for AFN, we'll have coverage on the radio and we have made 2 spots, which I will post here...

Monday, July 28, 2008

And it's just now let up...

Well here it is 10 days later and the rain has just now let up. Which isn't necessarily a good thing, because the rain -- while hot -- is nothing compared to the stifling heat that rolls in after the rain lets out.

Go know you want to toss in, "Hey, I'll bet it's hotter in Iraq" and you'd be right. But you know, that's the answer to everything when you're in Korea.

Speaking of being in Korea, our higher headquarters -- The Soldiers Media Center -- puts out "SOLDIERS" magazine, and the August issue, seen here, is all about Korea. Our Command Sergeant Major, John Brenci, wrote the article about AFN Korea.


Friday, July 18, 2008

Back in Korea...

and just in time for monsoon season!

Here's a picture from my back porch during this morning's monsoon. The rain is extremely warm and just sets the tone for the rest of the day. But no matter -- I've got plenty to do today. I just rescued my dogs from the kennel yesterday. After 12 days, they were ready to come home. And since the wife and kids are back in Indiana right now, both of them were able to sleep in the bed with me... I think all of us were pretty happy about that.

That haze in the background isn't a problem of really can't see very far because of the incredible humidity.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Tony Snow -- an amazing man

I am in San Francisco right now, and late last night I found out that Tony Snow had passed away. I called my wife right away, and we talked about it for several minutes. You see, I had had the extremely good fortune to have worked at the Tony Snow show during the last week than it actually WAS the Tony Snow show.

It was while I was in the Army’s Training with Industry program at Fox News. I spent a week down in Washington, DC. It was incredible. Every morning we would come in at 5:30 a.m., grab a cup of coffee, and meet in Tony’s office to discuss the news of the day.

This was of course, the week that Tony was making his decision about becoming the White House press secretary. Tony asked for everyone’s opinion, including mine.

That was the thing that I noticed immediately about Tony – everybody was an equally respected part of the team.

The first day I was there for his radio show, we were getting worried because we were 30 seconds from the star of the show and Tony was still in the restroom.

I will never forget what happened next.

Literally, at four seconds before we went on the air, Tony walks in from the other room holding a cup of coffee. The music was playing, and he sent his cup of coffee down, picked up his headphones, and started talking right on time. He talked nonstop for 18 ½ minutes – I know because I kept track. He spoke intelligently, he never stumbled or stuttered and his thoughts were well-organized and eloquent.

I was amazed.

Tony Snow – an incredible human being.