The 39th Logistics Readiness Squadron at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey has temporarily barred its airmen from drinking alcohol after a series of booze-related incidents that its commander said “put the mission at risk.”
In a memo, a copy of which was posted Wednesday on the unofficial Air Force amn/nco/snco Facebook page, Squadron Commander Maj. June Chung said the alcohol ban would take effect Wednesday evening. Chung said the squadron will reconsider the ban Jan. 4 and decide if it should be lifted, continued or modified.
“In recent weeks, the squadron’s relationship with alcohol has put the mission at risk and resulted in our airmen acting counter to our mission and priorities,” Chung said in the memo. “These incidents have demonstrated how alcohol use can have a direct impact on our unit’s ability to support U.S. service members and coalition partners and maintain a safe and effective environment, in which our members are ready on a moment’s notice.”
Chung said that the squadron’s high operations tempo, and the often-hazardous duties faced by service members and Defense Department civilians in the region, means it is best to restrict the use of alcohol to maintain good order and discipline and ensure the force is ready.
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“Due to this decrease in mission readiness coupled with current tensions in the region, the option to consume alcohol is a privilege which can no longer be provided at this time,” Chung said. “We owe our very best performance and professionalism to those we support daily.”
Airmen who defy the ban and drink anyway could be punished under Article 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which punishes service members who fail to follow orders, Chung said.
An email from Chung to the squadron members included a photograph labeled “Vehicle Incident,” which shows the aftermath of a car crash in which a red car hopped a curb. The amn/nco/snco page said the driver of the car had been drinking.
In an email Thursday, 39th Air Base Wing spokeswoman 1st Lt. Kaila Bryant said the limitation applies only to the 39th Logistics Readiness Squadron.
“This restriction is narrowly tailored to that squadron’s personnel for a limited period to ensure mission capabilities at Incirlik Air Base in support of U.S. and NATO operations,” Bryant said.
In a follow-up email Friday morning, Incirlik said the car accident in the photo is still under investigation, and its cause has not yet been officially determined.