CAMP FOSTER, OKINAWA, Japan --
Lt. Gen. Kenneth J. Glueck, III Marine Expeditionary Force commanding general and Marine Corps Bases Japan commander, signed into effect MCBJ/III MEF Order 1050.7A Liberty Campaign Order Thursday, applicable to all Marines and sailors in Japan assigned to III MEF or MCBJ.
While the previous order was effective, the leadership of III MEF reviewed the policy to re-evaluate its relevancy and introduce proposed changes. The changes to the policy are the result of recommendations made to Glueck by commanders and senior staff noncommissioned officers from around the MEF.
The new liberty campaign order has introduced a number of changes to how Marines and sailors earn liberty privileges. It ensures they are held to the highest standards of conduct before partaking in liberty on Okinawa.
The changes to the liberty campaign order do not allow for more service members to be granted liberty privileges.
The major changes include a review of the character and conduct of every Marine and sailor attached to MCBJ or III MEF before being afforded the opportunity to obtain a gold card.
The new policy makes it possible for lance corporals and seamen to earn gold cards by virtue of exemplary merit, eliminates alcohol consumption at all off-base establishments after midnight and institutes mandatory Okinawa cultural awareness training.
“Liberty is not something that should be awarded based upon rank, but rather upon the service member’s ability to make sound and responsible decisions at all times,” said Glueck. “Marines and sailors of the highest caliber will be eligible to obtain a gold liberty card and must not only demonstrate honorable behavior and a dedication to duty, but must encompass all of the qualities of a good neighbor.”
A team appointed by Col. Craig Q. Timberlake, commanding officer of 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade and III MEF deputy commander, met for several weeks and discussed the pros and cons of the current policy, said Sgt. Maj. Richard D. Thresher, sergeant major of Headquarters Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, III MEF.
“Another big ticket item was developing an opportunity for lance corporals to obtain a gold card,” said Thresher. “There are some outstanding lance corporals out there, and they now have a chance to earn full liberty privileges.”
Additionally, current gold-card holders will be reviewed to ensure they have demonstrated and will continue to demonstrate their ability to conduct themselves honorably at all times, said Thresher.
The other change that will affect all Marines and sailors is the elimination of the consumption of alcohol in off-base establishments after midnight, said Thresher.
“Marines need to keep in mind that we are in a foreign country where their actions may have significant political ramifications,” said Thresher. “The decision to stop drinking off-base after midnight was unanimous. Nothing good happens after midnight.”
“Two important things will come from the policy changes,” said Thresher. “That the policy maintains the necessary liberty restrictions for good order and discipline and has created a path for the best lance corporals who are significant performers to have the opportunity to get a gold card.”
The U.S. military and its commanders take very seriously all incidents and allegations of misconduct by service members, especially those that affect our host nation neighbors, said Thresher.
The current revisions are directed at ensuring those who have full liberty privileges have demonstrated not only exceptional performance as a Marine or sailor, but have also conveyed an increased knowledge of Okinawan history, culture and language.
“In order to ensure the policy works better, we have done a systematic review of all gold-card holders, so that only Marines and sailors who understand Okinawan culture will have the opportunity for overnight liberty,” said Timberlake. “While the previous policy worked as intended, the improvements will ensure that all our service members display appropriate respect for the Okinawan culture and represent our country well.”
The MCBJ/III MEF Order 1050.7A Liberty Campaign Order can be accessed with a current common acces card, or CAC, online at the Camp Butler adjutant SharePoint homepage at https://wss.mcbbutler.nmci.usmc.mil/G1/Adjutant/default.aspx. Look under “Announcements” for a link to the Liberty Campaign Order.