Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Army Chief Blasts Alcohol Abuse

The Australian
EXCESSIVE alcohol consumption by soldiers is resulting in "near daily reports'" of officers and enlisted men being killed, injured or maimed for preventable behaviour, chief of the army, Lieutenant General Ken Gillespie has warned.

In a strongly worded admonition carried in the latest edition of the Army newspaper, a copy of which was received by The Australian today, an angry General Gillespie ordered officers to take punitive measures if necessary to restore order and discipline in the ranks.

The blast from the chief of army was prompted by a spate of recent arrests by police linked to 12-alcohol-related incidents over one weekend resulting in seven drink driving offences and five drunk and disorderly charges being laid.The actual dates were not given.

"I'm ashamed to say that this was not an atypical weekend.

"To be quite frank, I am sick of seeing the near daily reports which tell me of officers and soldiers killed, injured or arrested for behaviour that could have been avoided," General Gillespie said.

"I am tired of seeing the reputation of the army undermined by the irresponsible actions of some who cannot responsibly consume alcohol," he added. The army chief then proceeded to warn his officers to take more responsible and "proactive" steps to curb alcohol abuse."Written correspondence can only do so much.

"While I am directing you to take specific action now, you should be quite clear in your minds that I expect all commanders to proactively, and if necessary, punitively apply measures and alcohol rehab to reduce the incidence of alcohol misuse.

"I will take an interest in hearing what commanders have done during my visits in the future," General Gillespie  warned.

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