Saturday, 16 March 2013

The New Rule on Ramstein

In my youth, while in the Air Force, I spent a number of years (between five and six) living in the dorm (barracks is a more appropriate word but the Air Force hates the term).  It ended up giving me a fairly different view on life.

The dorm room was simple.  You had a bunk, a locker, a desk, a chair and a night stand to yourself.  Typically, you had a refrigerator shared between you and your associate.

Over those years of life in the dorm, you got used to alcohol being around, and on rare occasions....some stupid events would occur.  I came to eventually realize that it was the same issues that you had in college dorms.

This past week, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany....the wing commander has decided to fix an ongoing problem at the base with alcohol incidents in the dorms.  He banned all alcohol  period.  No booze, no beer, no wine.  You can't bring it in.  You can't store it.  You can't drink it, within the dorm.

The logic of the commander?  He believes the dorms are merely an extension of the training atmosphere. The idea of the dorms being a living atmosphere?  Zero.

The issue in his mind is that alcohol consumption has triggered various cases that gone into the Air Force court room on base....throughout the last decade (I'm guessing).  Once his tactic has been demonstrated and he goes for sixty days without any alcohol incidents....he'll consider it a success.  It won't go away unless some General gets into the mess to toss the rule, or until this wing commander leaves the base and a new guy arrives to toss the rule.

What happens now?  I suspect most guys will simply store their booze, beer and their car trunk, and drink mostly in the parking lot.  The cops will report this and the commander will try to devise a policy of no booze stored in a private car....which base legal will laugh themselves into a fit and tell him that you can't really make up a rule like that.

Male and female banding together and just marrying for the heck of getting out of the barracks?  It was an odd tradition in South Korea for twenty-odd years and made it into several other countries where the Air Force had installations.  I could see twenty such arrangement occurring this spring as marriages are negotiated and just occur to get permission to move off-base.  It's silly, but it's a solution.

So out there tonight....are Airman Gus, Airman Charley, and Airman Chad.  The boys are all twenty years old and been on Ramstein for eight months.  They'd like to have a party in their dorm.....but the best they can arrange for refreshments is water, Tang, and Doctor Pepper.  The boys are wondering....if this is the way that things work in real life.

Down the street from our Airman on the German barracks.  I'm guessing....there's this wicked grin on the face of the German military youths.  The wing commander's authority doesn't affect them.  He can order just about anything he wants on Ramstein....but their barracks (notice, I didn't say dorm) is beyond his authority.  They've got plenty of beer piled up in their rooms.  Life goes on.

It's a bold new world out there.