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Air Force officers caught drinking on emergency standby

(Courtesy of Korean Air Force)
(Courtesy of Korean Air Force)
More than a dozen Air Force officers were caught drinking on emergency standby, the military said Thursday, sparking criticism about lax discipline.

A total of 16 officers affiliated with the 10th Fighter Wing in Suwon, south of Seoul, drank beer on three separate occasions between August and September last year at the base's alert area where airmen stay for emergency operations. They were in charge of either F-4E or F-5 fighters.

An informant reported this to the defense ministry in February, prompting the base to launch a probe last month and reprimand a major-level officer.

"Taking this issue seriously, the Air Force headquarters revisited the case and is now reviewing appropriate disciplinary actions against them," Air Force spokesperson Lt. Col. Cho Se-young told reporters.

In the first incident, eight officers shared two 500-milliliter cans of beer. In the second and third incidents, eight officers drank a 1.5-liter bottle of beer and two shared a 500-ml can of beer, respectively. None of them were intoxicated.

"Regardless of how much they drank, we see this as a serious lack of discipline. To prevent any recurrence, we've implemented special guidelines that call for heightened vigilance and tighter discipline," Cho added.

The military has come under fire for lax security after a series of civilian infiltrations into military bases. Last month, two civic activists cut barbed-wire fences and trespassed on a naval compound on the southern island of Jeju. (Yonhap)