News: Off-limits policies protect service members
Story by Lance Cpl. Justin Rodriguez
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - Marines are accustomed to following rules, but sometimes need reminding of why it’s important to abide by them. Restrictions such as the off-limits establishments and locations list are in place to protect service members.
Off-limits areas include more than two dozen local establishments published in Marine Corps Installations East, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune Bulletin 1620, which include auto body and repair shops and retail tobacco stores.
Service members frequenting establishments on the list are punishable under article 92 of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice, said Michael Archer, retired major and Marine Corps Installations East legal assistance director.
The bulletin is released to keep service members safe, and it should be taken as a warning from the base staff, said Archer.
Base personnel are prohibited from conducting business or entering the premises of the selected establishments.
“The off-limits list keeps base personnel from visiting a potentially dangerous or fraudulent place of business or area,” said Michael Archer, retired major and Marine Corps Installations East legal assistance director. “When someone comes to us with a problem with a certain establishment, we ask for more information so we can take the steps to either fix the problem or pursue further discipline, even if it is putting it on the off-limits list.”
The legal assistance office approaches the business with the problem to inform them of the complaints being registered against them.
The base inspector and NCIS have the ability to investigate any business which they believe to be doing illegal activities.
“I document the complaints and send them to the Armed Forces Disciplinary Control Board,” said Archer. “They make the recommendations to the installation commander, who usually concurs with them, but the commanding general has the ability to immediately place an establishment off-limits.”
The mission of the Armed Forces Disciplinary Control Board is to make recommendations to the commanding general regarding the correction of problems any establishment may have.
Deeming an establishment off-limits is a function of the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune commanding general, and is used to help maintain good order, discipline and welfare of personnel in the Camp Lejeune area.
“When someone complains to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, they launch an investigation so they can focus on the safety of consumers,” said Archer. “They also have the authority to sue any establishment; some have been multimillion dollar settlements. There are many options to getting consumer related assistance.”
The establishments and areas are banned for a variety of reasons, to include prostitution, illegal gambling, illegal narcotics and fraudulent activity, said Archer.
“The hardest part of the process is collecting the information, said Archer. “Consumers don’t usually want to spend the time making statements or giving documents.”
Once placed on the off-limits establishment list, any business has the opportunity to plead their case to the board to be rescinded from the list.
“It’s important for us to find ways to keep our Marines on this base safe,” said Charlie Wood, a safety specialist aboard base. “We wouldn’t want our Marines coming back from a combat deployment only to be harmed in garrison.”
Off-limits areas don’t just include businesses, but roads as well. The II Marine Expeditionary Force and MCI East joint order 5100.3, limits use of Catfish Lake Road, which has been deemed dangerous.
According to the order, use of Catfish Lake Road, located between U.S. Highway 70 in Craven County and N.C. Highway 58 in Jones County, is limited in an effort to reduce the potential for vehicle-related fatalities, injuries and property damage.
“Catfish Lake Road was deemed off-limits, because it’s simply a dangerous road to drive on,” said Derrick Mangas, a safety specialist with the base safety department. “It wasn’t designed to be used as a highway or common road; it was built for recreational use only. It’s a dirt road and bad weather just makes it harder to navigate through it.”
Under the limited-use policy, traversing the road is in violation of the order unless the service member has a legitimate purpose to be on the road’s unpaved surface, such as hunting or fishing in that area of the forest.
“We keep an eye on roads, on and off base, to make sure there’s nothing potentially dangerous to our Marines,” said Mangas. “And if we’re not comfortable with something on the road, we’ll take the steps to stop (personnel) from using it and keep our Marines safe.”
For a list of off-limits establishments, visit http://www.mcieast.marines.mil/Portals/33/Documents/CIG/MCIEAST-MCB.CAMLEJBU.1620.CANC.MAR.14.pdf.
To file a complaint, visit http://www.mcieast.marines.mil/StaffOffices/CommandInspectorGeneral.aspx.through it.”
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