What happened to discipline?Sailors who should have been on guard were instead enjoying chicken and beer, according to findings by the Navy after an investigation into a cover-up made by superiors. During the night shift on May 14, two guards at a guard post of the ammunition depot at the Naval Education and Training Command in Jinhae, South Gyeongsang, had chicken and beer delivered to their post using mobile phones that were supposed to be handed in while they were on duty.
They invited two other guards and enjoyed the meal together. The rear door guard post stayed empty for 90 minutes. Their mischief was discovered by their superior because they had recorded video with their phones. The affair was kept concealed although it had been reported to the lieutenant. Under military rules, a soldier leaving his post or found drinking while on guard could face a maximum of two years in military prison.
It is appalling to learn of the erosion of the strength of our military and security sectors. There have been a series of misdeeds from the military. A soldier left his post in a naval fleet to buy a drink and had another guard take the blame. The Army proposed canceling its 20-kilometer (12-mile) marching drill for recruits due to complaints. An Army first lieutenant was reported for assaulting his girlfriend in a motel earlier this month. In June, there was an online petition on the Blue House homepage asking the military to dismiss a commander for his stringent training style.
The public have become anxious and doubtful of the military’s role and mission. The pitiful sight of the South Korean military brings a huge disappointment to the people. Its fall was foreseeable under the current government and military command. The military has allowed the use of mobile phones for soldiers and no longer defines North Korea as the enemy, although its threat has become more menacing than ever.
The Blue House has remained silent despite saber-rattling and missile launches from North Korea. Soldiers and military leadership may have lost their spirit and reason to hold guard and weapons. If national security comes down, the country has no future. The military must restore discipline. The Blue House and Ministry of Defense must set clear guidelines on national security. This is an order from the people.
JoongAng Ilbo, Aug. 14, Page 30
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