Mass Punishment of U.S. Sailors on Okinawa Japan

by Major Van Harl

Anti-American Japanese Protesters
Anti-American Japanese Protesters
Major Van Harl USAF Ret
Major Van Harl USAF Ret

United States -( Sailors in the United States Navy cannot be trusted.

We train them, we equip them, we give them nice uniforms to wear, and we even pay them for their efforts and how do they repay such a generous nation as America?

They run amok on the island of Okinawa, Japan. They get drunk and go off the military reservation or ship they are assigned to, and terrorize the local indigenous natives of Okinawa. If you believe the over reaction of the senior Navy leadership at the U.S. 7th Fleet you would get the idea that the Japanese had never seen a drunk person or ever had any interaction with alcohol in their society until the devil American Navy showed up on their shores.

First off why did we show up on their shores and then why did we land and stay for the past 71 years? We were at war with them, because they were an aggressive hostile nation that attacked us? By the way we buried Edward Block this past Saturday, 4 June 2016. Ed was a Pearl Harbor survivor I knew who later had a second ship shot out from under him by the Imperial Japanese Navy. Ed spent almost a year and a half in Great Lakes Naval hospital recovering from his wounds. That is why we are in Japan.

No matter how you sugarcoat it we, the US, are still a nation of occupation when it comes to Japan.

At first the Japanese resented it, but then they figured out we would do all the heavy lifting for them, and they would not have to pay for their own defense.

If we are going to project power in the Pacific Rim area of the world and Japan is not going to help, we are forced to have a large number of American military on Japanese soil. Did you know approximately one third of the US Marine Corps can be on, or floating around Japan depending on training and deployment exercises at any given time. You cannot have a career as a Marine without doing a tour in Okinawa.

Let us get back to the drunken sailors allegedly running amok. Japan has a spiraling out of control alcoholism problem. Japan is rated 6th in the world for beer consumption. I have been to Japan and interfaced with Japanese military personal. Drinking is not about consuming an adult beverage while interacting in a calm and polite social way. Drinking for the Japanese is about consuming alcohol hard and fast with lots of liquid going down in a hurry.

You know the saying “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas?” This is how you would observe alcohol being consumed if you drank with the Japanese. Drink hard, in many cases to a falling down state, make a fool of yourself to include drunken women throwing up on themselves while lying on the floor of the commuter train they take home from work. The Japanese public sees what is going on, but like Las Vegas, the public drunkenness stays in the last place you threw up, and is never brought up at work the next day.

In an effort of full disclosure I do not drink at all. Whenever asked about whether I drink I always reply “tool of the devil.” I am however not the norm. You have a constitutional right to drink alcohol—no joke you do. (Twenty-first Amendment to the United States Constitution)

Where does the Commander of the 7th Fleet get the authority to deny a member of the U.S. Navy his/her constitutional right? I know they get away with it on board ship based on safety of operation, but on dry land why do they think they can suspend a “right.”

What this is really about is mass punishment of our own people, and trying to appease the very people we occupy.

The Japanese want us to still do all the heavy military lifting, so they can spend their budgets on making more cars to ship out to their worldwide customers. Why pay for Pop the night watchman when you have the US Navy to do that for you for free?

18,600 sailors are prohibited from drinking any alcohol and restricted to the base on Okinawa, because a tiny bit of sailors screwed up. They committed crimes and should be punished, perhaps punished very harshly, but you do not lock up (against their will) all the innocent members of the U.S. Navy in Japan for the acts of a few. Leadership of the U.S. Navy in Japan is very suspect and lacking in good judgment.

The anti-American Japanese protesters are having a field day with this mess. Perhaps it is time the US did shrink their footprint in Japan. Send all the dependents home. Shorten all assignments in Japan to one year. Get rid of most of the family base housing, to include the contract housing we have with Japanese national landlords. Restrict American military from using Japanese goods and services. Do not allow American military to buy and bring home Japanese products to include cars. Demand the Nation of Japan to reimburse the U.S. military for every dime we spend to defend their home islands. Remove Japanese nationals who work for the U.S. military from the bases and bring in contract civilian employees.

Most of all let us take a hard look at our senior leadership in Japan and back in Pearl Harbor where many of these ideas are hatched. Let us try to get them to remember they are there first, to defend US security issues in the Pacific, and second to take care of those who volunteered to meet and if need be enforce these security issues with their lives.

Perhaps to show solidarity for the sailors and officers in the U.S. 7th Fleet (do not forgot the Marines) having their “rights” illegally suspended by Rear Admiral Matthew Carter, the Commander of the Fleet, the Admiral should ask Pearl Harbor to order all senior Naval officers and their spouses throughout the Pacific to consume no alcohol, nor buy any, nor serve any at any public or private functions. Let them show all of our sea bound boys and girls that the Admiral really feels their pain. Shut down the bar at the Officers Club while you are at it—again that solidarity thing.

As my father the old Navy Master Chief is known to say, “Talk is cheap?” How about it Admiral Carter, will you support the troops?

You do not lock up all the good guys because the sheriff cannot figure out how to deal with the town drunk.

About Major Van Harl USAF Ret.:

Major Van E. Harl USAF Ret., a career Police Officer in the U.S. Air Force was born in Burlington, Iowa, USA, in 1955. He was the Deputy Chief of police at two Air Force Bases and the Commander of Law Enforcement Operations at another. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army Infantry School. A retired Colorado Ranger and currently is an Auxiliary Police Officer with the Cudahy PD in Milwaukee County, WI. His efforts now are directed at church campus safely and security training. He believes “evil hates organization.” [email protected]

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If the protesters are UNHAPPY with the US Military presence, I DO BELIEVE there is a cliff they can jump from.


Misbehaviour by US military got a base closed near Manila, PI some years back. The “men” could not behave off base, so the country said Buh Bye. My Dad, who had been in the Navy in the Second German War, was living near Manila at the time… he was appalled at the scandalous conduct of our “boys” and felt closing the base was the right thing to do. Can’t behave, can’t trreat the locals like humans, then go away.

It worked.. the men stopped their abuse of the Filipinos.


Normally I would defend the US military, however the current situation of the US military in Okinawa is unacceptable and not morally defendable in accordance with both American values and international laws. Why are we still here after 71 years, Its time for the marines to produce a more compelling reason then “we won the war and the land was bought for and paid for with American blood.” If this was the case then why did we hand the Japanese 90% of their land back and why are allowing the Japanese to use the Okinawans as a scapegoat. I’m not… Read more »

Mike McAllister

Pussy boy Obama has gutted the military command so I don’t believe anything coming out of the mouths he’s lackies! This country had better wake up and understand that once the military is gone, so is the country. There will be nothing to stop whoever wants to get into the country from doing so and you will have the liberals to thank for it!!!


Major Van E. Harl, As a former Navy Corpsman, who served with the 31 MEU in Okinawa. I am a reasonable person who likes to see from both sides of the argument. Let me ask you a question do you know that Japanese and Okinawans are two completely different races with two completely different cultures. Before WW2, Okinawa was actually an occupied colony of Japan and pretty much still is today. The Japanese only want the security because the Okinawans pay the price for it. I have been here for almost 15 years now, you need to take a much… Read more »

Jessie Pittman

I agree with the alcohol,,,OFF BASE. However ,i do not drink and would be pissed off if I WAS CONFINED TO BASE. Having committed no crimes or offenses . You would punish me for doing my service, I definitely would not re-up. USN VP-11 P-3 Orion Flt.Eng. Vet.


Why was Okinawa not offered independence instead of being handed back to the Japanese?


Under the Cairo Agreement, it was originally intended for Ryukyu (Okinawa) to be granted independence. Not sure exactly why they were not.