Sailors can be a rowdy bunch. Of course, after being trapped in a steel dumpster in the middle of the ocean for 30 plus days, it’s not surprising a few sailors can act rather unhinged. After all, you keep a dog locked up and away from human interaction long enough and it is bound to lack an understanding of proper social behaviors. But, even worse is the fact that due to the aforementioned elements, anytime a ship returns home or visits a new port there is a small albeit significant number of sailors who get into trouble and eventually become liberty risks. The sailors who are deemed as liberty risk face significantly stricter rules and regulations including restrictions on locations they can visit and specific times that they have to report back to their homes or ship.
The punishments are incentives to stay away from making stupid decisions, yet the fact that they continue happening is a symptom of a much larger problem. Military enlisted is one of the toughest jobs in the United States, and sailors feel the pressure of this every single day. From long hours to hard laborious duties, and short amounts of rest the burden of the mission lies on a sailor’s shoulders. As such, when it’s time to party, they decide the only path to achieving fun is going big or heading home. This is much more common on the lower ranks of the enlisted group. While it is true they lack a number of responsibilities from the higher ranks; they instead tend to shoulder the brunt of the workload. After all, as the saying goes “work hard, play hard” and sailors often live by this idiom.
But, it becomes increasingly more complex when taking into considerations the extra rules of living in a foreign country. When living on an abroad base, sailors are subjected to already stringent restrictions on their liberty. While it wasn’t originally as stringent the actions of a few immature members of the armed forces the rules caused these rules to be put into effect. From homicides to drunk and disorderly behaviors the decisions made by these people in the past continue to affect the lives of sailors to this day. When looking at it from a leadership perspective, it’s very easy to understand the logic behind the rules, but young people look at it from a different point of view.
Young folks are at times incapable of understanding or empathizing with the decisions made by mature older individuals to try and protect the reputation of the United States. As such when a young sailor sees themselves punished for the actions of other people, they feel wronged. Why should I be punished for the actions of an “explicit” six years ago? They ask themselves while throwing caution to the wind and following their friends to the nearest fun spot. Sailors aren’t actively trying to get into trouble; they simply fail to understand how situations came to be a nightmare. Furthermore, they impair their decision-making process with copious amounts of alcohol and end up turning what was originally a fun night into a nightmare. The leadership for their part tries to ensure their sailors follow the rules and understand there are multiple ways to have fun without alcohol, but at times with limited success.
Yet, still, sailors manage to get into trouble and become liberty risk. This only serves to compound the problem as restricted sailors tend to socialize with other troublemakers which only deteriorate the situation. It’s a vicious cycle, but there has to be a way to mitigate the situation for these young folk. One way to accomplish the goal of reducing liberty risks has to be by empowering the young sailors. A sailor who feels secure in his ability to speak up will more likely speak out against making stupid decisions, but the leadership needs to acknowledge these individuals and reward them as such. If the Navy can identify those who show this potential it will be the first step of many towards mitigating the problem that are liberty risks. It’s certainly going to be a long road for the Navy, but one that needs to be taken in order to become a successful war machine.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.