Military In Lockdown On Okinawa

February 19th, 2008 Posted By Pat Dollard.

TOKYO - The U.S. military imposed tight restrictions on all personnel in Okinawa on Wednesday, limiting troops to bases, places or work or off- base housing, amid a furor over the arrest of Marine on suspicion of rape.

The restriction, which tightens a midnight curfew for enlisted on the southern Japanese island, started early Wednesday and was indefinite, the U.S. Forces Japan said in a statement.

The arrest last week of 38-year-old Staff Sgt. Tyrone Luther Hadnott in the alleged rape of a 14-year-old girl in Okinawa has sparked outrage in Japan, which hosts some 50,000 U.S. troops under a security treaty.

Hadnott admitted to investigators that he forced the girl down and kissed her, but said he did not rape her, police said.

The tensions have been compounded in recent days by allegations of additional less serious crimes by American troops. Japanese leaders have deplored the behavior and accused the U.S. military of lax discipline.

The new restrictions bans military personnel from leaving their bases except for official business, work, worship or travel to and from off- base housing.

“This period of reflection will allow commanders and all service members an opportunity to further review procedures and orders that govern the discipline and conduct of all U.S. service members serving in Okinawa,” the military statement read.

On Tuesday, the U.S. military, which launched a review of anti-sexual assault guidelines following Hadnott’s arrest, said it had designated Friday as a “day of reflection” to urge troops to adhere to ideals of professionalism.

“USFJ has generated recommendations and reached a mutual agreement that all USFJ components will take additional actions to further reinforce and encourage the already high standards of professionalism among US Forces serving in Japan,” the military said in a separate statement on Tuesday.

Okinawa is considered a linchpin in U.S. military posture in Asia, and Washington is eager to quell rising sentiment against American troops. U.S. Ambassador Thomas Schieffer traveled to Okinawa last week to express his sadness over the alleged rape.

The Hadnott case has prompted comparisons with the 1995 rape of a 12- year-old Okinawan girl by three U.S. servicemen. The attack triggered massive protests against the American military, and the three were convicted and sentenced to prison.

24 Responses

  1. John G

    How NOT to impress the host nation…

  2. Steve

    Anyone know what ship that is? It looks like an LHA. I was on the Peleliu, LHA-5.

  3. Angie

    I’m a US military dependent on Okinawa and find this situation very frustrating. Does the action of the few have to reflect on the entire US military force? Unfortunately it does. It is important to keep in perspective that rape, DUI, trespassing, robberies… all occur in America between Americans and in Japan between Japanese. However, it has always been my belief that American military soldiers are supposed to be held to a higher standard and this standard is supposed to be drilled into the heads of these soldiers from the very beginning in boot camp. So, why do these crimes continue to happen on foreign soil, right after a briefing on what NOT to do? It is important to realize that this is not only a problem with Marines. Among the onslaught of recent criminal events, one was a beating and rape of an Okinawan woman by an Airforce dependent. Now, because of this lockdown that will last who knows how long, we can’t even walk to the beach right down the road from my house or use the family mart within walking distance. These few actions cause damage to thousands of people - the individuals involved, their families, the community, and the entirety of military service members on Okinawa. Service members who commit crimes, severe and minor, should be ridiculed and ostrocized by all on this island. It should be well known that there is no tolerance for criminal behavior by American soldiers in ANY foreign country. That way the rest of us can actually enjoy ourselves and see the world, instead of being punished for the behavior of a few individuals.

  4. devdok

    Steve - can’t tell, too fuzzy. Embarked 95-96 & 97-98.

    This type of conduct is completely unacceptable, made worse by the fact that it is a SNCO. But before he is drawn and quartered maybe an investigation should be completed (without political bias.)

  5. Militant Bibliophile

    What is it with Jarheads and underage Japanese girls? I was there in 2000 when a guy from my company got drunk and was found passed out in (another) fourteen year old girl’s bed. After the furor died down, I heard that they’d not only known each other but had possibly been dating. I never got the whole story, but as the kid who did it was a young boot, it really wouldn’t surprise me. A SSgt, on the other hand, should know better.

    I shudder when I think of how bad this COULD get and I pray, both for the girl and for my Corps that this somehow works itself out to the benefit of all sided. What a situation!

  6. everett

    Stepped off the Nimitz in Sasebo the day that story broke on CNN. Great. A small group of us went to get the famed “Sasebo burger” we’d heard about. Got blown off in two different places by the locals who suddenly “went on break,” despite one of us being fluent in Japanese, including the various nuances that change the meaning of a sentence entirely.

    Gotta love it when a couple of numbnuts screw it up for the rest of us.

  7. Mikoto

    some of these marines either need to control their immiture horomones, or they need to grow up. Some of us here on okinawa are japanese in an american family, and WE can’t go out off base either. And some of us try to earn the japanese’s respect by being polite to them little by little everyday, and then some idiot does something like this. They should get kicked off force for doing something like this.

  8. unlucky

    Im a civi contractor here in Oki and have been here for about eight years. I’m married to an Okinawa woman and have three kids. I don’t plan on moving back to the US because I love it here so much and think this is the greatest place on earth. Don’t get me wrong the US is an amazing place filled with real freedom and wonderful people however for my situation this is home for me. With that said, my wife and kids fall under the sofa status here and also have to abide by this restriction as i will be barred from base and loose my job if she is caught off base with her Y plate (american tag) vehicle. Keep in mind, she is fully Japaneses and this is her home yet she cannot leave the house for anything personal or recreational. Imagine three small kids in an Okinawa sized apartment for as long as this thing lasts. Needless to say she is furious and I understand this as well. The retard that did this regardless of weather or not rape was truly the case needs to be put out in public and flogged. He admitted to holding her down and kissing here. Let me ask you this, if the roles were reversed and this was happening in the US, the American people would have gone haywire, yet this kind of activity happens here regularly. So there is both sides, the Japaneses are sick of the US servicemen raising hell here and are demanding a leash be used on these dogs and on the other side you have the vast majority of the upstanding wonderful servicemen here who work hard as true ambassadors in a foreign county and be polite, respectful and make a positive difference in their host country. My solution, absolute and total public humiliation after a guilty verdict is reached, then hand them over to the Japaneses, and when the Japaneses are finished running them through, uncle Sam gets his hand on them and throws the entire book at them.

  9. Cintronikus

    Well let’s just say that all the efforts that we have done to be on the “good side” of the japanese has all gone to waste thanks to this…

    I’ve seen many of the people I work with here in the NAVY volunteer to help clean up the beaches, streets, and help out in the orphanages and what not. It just sucks to even think about having to go out in town and now see more of the japanese reject us due to this. (That’s if we ever do get out of this damn lockdown…)

    I’m almost done with my tour here in Okinawa Japan, but I totally feel bad for the people that just got here and will not be able to enjoy the awesome, safe, and friendly culture that is okinawa.

    I totally dislike the fact that we allshould be punished as a whole due to the negative actions of the very few, but in the bigh picture we’re all here representing america and this was placed to prevent any more chaos and wrong doing… Atleast that’s what my perception of a “refelction” is… It’s like mom grounding you for a week with no TV. I’m sure this will end…

    stay strong everyone, we are better than this!

  10. KP

    This is “typical marine” behavior. I’m not saying all marines are like this, but alot of marines are medically found mentally unstable due to high aggression. Who else would agree to jump in front of a bullet anyway…

  11. Lee Howard

    kp (who is full of ..)- “Who else would agree to jump in front of a bullet anyway…”

    me- Um, US Secret Service?

  12. JIO

    Kneejerk reaction which is typical of USFJ and PACOM in General. It’s not the first time the masses in Okinawa have been punished for the offenses of the few. The other minor offenses (DUI, Assault, Drunk in Public, etc) happen every weekend on Okinawa and seems they are only noteworthy when they can be tied to a bigger incident. If they addressed the small issues maybe the big ones would never happen….

  13. mv

    Unlucky. Check with base legal and your command first but the military can not restrict the movements of Japanese nationals in their own country. An FAQ was released on Kadena Air Base outlining what can and can not be done during the restrictions. The first questions was on the restrictions on Japanese nationals and the answer was that the base can not place movement restrictions of Japanese nationals in their own country, regardless of their SOFA status.

  14. mv

    My big problem with the lockdown is that it will not fix the problem. You can not stop stupid people from being stupid people. I guarantee that there are people right now out breaking the lockdown rules and it is only a matter of time before someone gets caught. Also the longer you lock people down the more likely they are to go crazy and do stupid stuff once the lockdown is over or to break the rules and go out during the lockdown. That is just human nature.

  15. Charles P.

    Retired from the military after 23 years and I’m here as a dependent with my active duty wife. I have to say that many that have published on this website have the right opinions. The lockdown really is a knee jerk reaction by the General involved-there is a much better way to take care of situations before this sort thing becomes mandatory-it’s called tighter discipline and teaching people how to behave and to think before they do stupid things in a country that is not their turf. This of course, seems to be in short supply among the Marines as of late.

    Apparently, the accused individual did not rape the girl, she went willingly with him. He has not confessed to holding her down and kissing her, he just kissed her goodnight in front of her house. Witnesses have stated that the young woman got on his motorcycle and told him to “get it on”. He said he was going home and asked if she wanted a ride to his house-she agreed. He then brought her back to her house in his car where he supposedly gave her a quick kiss. No one knows who called the police, a girlfriend of this woman has stated that it was probably one of her friends, and of course…the police knew exactly where to go. This statement was not only from an eyewitness but one of her friends who says the entire story is a fabrication, but no one is listening.

    Unfortunately, as questionable as this whole case is, there is another REAL accusation of rape that happened this past weekend. When this hits the press, some of the Japanese population will be furious and this will lead to more confrontations such as the assault on a military husband and wife in Naha also this past weekend.

    The lockdown, while tough to take, is probably a smart thing to do given this latest information. It can prevent contact between extremist, trouble causing elements that have come into this area to cause problems and innocent Americans, which can further inflame passions.

    However, I also fault the Japanese system, the Japanese in general and the Japanese police for allowing such things to get out of control. Certainly, less knee jerk reaction from them would be appreciated so that the many don’t have to suffer for the few. After-all, all we want to do is enjoy the best qualities of this community.

    I have been to Japan many times and have traveled over a large part of this country and the world for that matter, including working for the State Department. No matter where I’ve been, once the veneer of the culture is removed, people are always people-they do the same things, react the same way (sometimes without thinking things thru), have the same vices and the same faults. Men are always men and women are always women. The Japanese, despite a culture that is sometimes described, by them, as more ancient and better than ours (this is patently not true!) have the same faults and problems that we have in America, they are just covered up better and certainly, as one writer so eloquently put it-in America, assaults are generally American vs American.

    Then again, I was once assaulted in San Francisco by a Japanese tourist (I was assigned as Staff, COMNAVBASE Treasure Island), he disappeared before the police arrived. Then again, just two weeks ago, a Japanese caused me to crash on my bicycle and I was severly injured, in fact, she left me semi-conscious laying in the street. Fortunately for me, some nearby construction workers got me up and off the road before I was run over by a car. The woman was not seen again and they didn’t know who she was. So much for honor and apologies.

  16. Cintronikus

    I honestly think that Human nature is the same everywhere you go. As stated above by Charles P., there are witnesses stating that it was just a simple kiss and nothing more, but since we are visitors in this country they have the power to turn inoccent events into outrageous events such as this.

    This lock down is not a bad Idea in my opinion. Some people seem to take liberty off base as a right when it’s trully just a privilidge. We are here but that doesn’t mean that we should not respect the Japanese, since this is their land and all…

    I just hope that real justice is brought dow and the innocent need to stay innocent because this is just ridiculous how things ger blown out of proportion…

    But yes, stay strong everyone, we are better than this!

  17. Charles P.

    I respect what you have stated citronikus, but would like to amplify this somewhat. We have to define the word “liberty”. There is “liberty” that is a privilege granted to military personnel when the job is done-you are on liberty at the end of the working day, and it MAY NOT be curtailed without good reason. There is also “Liberty” as defined by the US Constitution. As American citizens we do not give up our Liberty by being members of the US military, nor do we give up any of our rights under the US Constitution. Liberty, in the military sense, may not be curtailed by a Commanding Officer unless it is in response to several situations: 1) the individual concerned is a danger to himself, 2) the individual will bring discredit upon his/her military service, 3) the individual may flee to prevent prosecution for a crime and 4) to prevent injury to others. That is deprivation of liberty for the good of the service. The authority of the Commanding Officer is strictly limited by the Articles of the UCMJ. In this case, by locking down all 45,000 members of the US community on Okinawa the Gen has, in fact, deprived us of our Conditionally guaranteed right of Liberty without due process. As such, he is in violation of the US Constitution and the UCMJ. I don’t know about you, but being a 60 year old retired Naval Officer and diplomat, I haven’t violated any of the above Articles of the UCMJ by living in my apartment next to the water, or eating Sushi once a week or going to Starbucks, riding my bicycle or jogging. In short, I didn’t commit the crime and am being punished for it.

    This information is from a NAVADMIN more than 20 years ago, that came about as a result of over zealous ship lock downs of the crew and deprivations of liberty. In fact, it is clearly spelled out, that CO’s cannot require people to work during normal liberty hours-unless there is a good reason for this, such as jobs that need to be finished by a certain time.

    Considering this, I’m framing a letter to my US Senator to advise that I have been deprived of my Constitutionally guaranteed right of Liberty by being ” Locked Down” and restricted indefinitely to my apartment. In effect, I’m being punished for the crime, even though I did not commit it and couldn’t have prevented it.

    The actions of the Gen concerned are certainly extraordinary and without precedence, and most certainly a violation of the UCMJ and the US Constitution.


  18. Charles P.

    Something is bothering me about my earlier postings. I should have said this but didn’t. In both postings it appears that I either sympathize with this guy or that I believe he is innocent of everything. That is not my true opinion. I think what he did was reprehensible. Doubt the true story will ever come out, but that doesn’t matter. The bottom line is that he picked up a 14 year old girl, took her to his house and kissed her during this time. Doesn’t matter how he kissed her or for what reason-his behavior was inappropriate.

    If I were this guy’s Commanding Officer and he were released to me, he would be busted, fined, shipped back to the US and if possible…administratively discharged from the military.

    Hang in there everyone. I’m really hungry for a good Starbucks and some Sushi.

  19. VoXman

    Many of us are observing these events from the Mainland Japan here in Yokosuka, and frankly, as a civilian the actions of this Gen are setting a bad precedent. Left unchecked by our judicial system his order will erode some of are most basic rights. As former military, I know that a 3 star is not stupid, I am sure that he ran this by staff legal, and surely they reminded him of the incident with Gen Laporte in Korea in 2003 where he pulled the curfew thing on all civilians as well. It died when attention was brought up in Congress, and (boom), the Pentagon and PACCOM as reported, stepped in and forced a toning down of the order. So this Gen must be thinking he can just get away with this long enough for some higher authority to come along and so stop, you’ve gone too far. The he saves face and looks like a hero to the JCS. The scary thing is if the police or a local city official in the US pulled this, it would die exactly 5 minutes after the report hit the news. Given that, I am thinking that our elected officials don’t know that this effects all of us, (Sorry active duty, but you’ll understand when your done and out. You don’t want the mil to still be bossing you around after you get your DD-214) So we need to step up the letter writing campaign and let or representatives know….

  20. VoXman

    Here’s a quick way to find your representative.

    Take a look at these sites really, you can email your Senator or congressmen. Truly if enough say something, then they will have to listen. Also, send these stories to your hometown newspapers. Send them to CNN and others. Why? try looking those news bureaus! They’re reporting a thing about this lockdown or than the press release the mil sends out…

  21. Charles P

    It just keeps getting worse! It has just hit the news that the Marine accused of raping the 14 year old girl has been released to his command with all charges dropped. The Army guy that has been accused of raping the Philippino lady will probably have the charges dropped as well. It seems that she was paid some money and had sex when it was that time of the month and she was bleeding-she said she was abused (my conjecture here) in order to scam more money from the individual.

    Problem is, just read a press release and the LTGEN in question has stated he has no intention of stopping the restrictions.

    Ok, I’ve been patient enough with this guy. It is time to call both of my US Senators, and yes…I already have the phone numbers and have written an email ready to be posted.

    I agree with Voxman, this guy will get away with enforcing this hardship on us, till people start complaining. I for one am going to complain. The LTGEN has been too heavy handed.

    I wonder if the Japanese will apologise to us? For that matter, it has been reported in the local Okinawan press that two Okinawans were arrested for separate “sexual abuses” of children. Apparently, this is not an uncommon crime here.


  22. Proud Marine Wife, Former Marine

    Well after reading all these comments I have a lot to say, but I’ll try to keep it short. There are so many of other comments that I’d like to respond to individually, but I’ll get carried away. Quite obviously many of these people have never known an upstanding Marine (which the vast majority of Marines are). My husband is going on 18 years in the Marine Corps and he’s a damn good Marine. We met while both serving. We spent around 2 years in Okinawa and absoutley loved every minute of it. The local nationals were so gracious, the land was beautiful and there was so much to do. I had even said at one time that I would love to live there if it had not been for being so far away from my family. What has happened is very unfortunate, BUT when the sexually charged crimes like this happen everyday in the US do we see what the man does for a living and say that’s the reason he did it? Quit blaming the Marine Corps already! Don’t be so damn unintelligent. You really make yourself sound like an ignorant person. I agree with several people on here, I think if a US service member is guilty, he should be punished by the Japanese, then the US court system. So quit blaming the Marine Corps, if you know ANYTHING about it or the training these fine men and women go through, you’d know that Marines are about HONOR, COURAGE and COMMITMENT!!! If there’s a couple rotten apples from time to time, it’s not the WHOLE TREE…

  23. Charles P

    Proud Marine Wife, Former Marine,

    What makes you so perfect, and you don’t even live here!? I did a check on the Internet, Marine Enlisted caused around 50% of the reported crimes on Okinawa, and it is the suspected rape of a 14 year old, by a Marine that has caused the latest difficulties. Even if he was released without Japanese charges, he still “picked up” a 14 year old and apparently admitted to forcibly kissing her-the girl in question is just that…A GIRL. Hello, she is UNDERAGE!!!! It is still rape.

    The Marine in question, seems to have a history of picking up locals and taking them home-his neighbors testified to that on record. Certainly not against the law, but it does show that this guy’s behavior is questionable, and this latest incident is just one more of the same. Only this time, he got all of us restricted to quarters. I say let the chips fall where they may, and the Marine Corps should be looking to the moral and training of its people. Let’s also not forget that it is a Marine Corps LT General that restricted everyone to their quarters, and what he did is most certainly unconstitutional. I hope he is relieved of duty and think he is a disgrace to the uniform.

    Have a wonderful day, I know that I did for two solid weeks locked into my apartment.

  24. okinawa marine

    Well, the long-lasting curfew that is in place should help this from happening again.

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