Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Essay 1705

From the Associated Press…


Army Post Opens Its Own Nightclub


FORT STEWART, Ga. — On weekends, Army Pfc. Keith Smith used to drive 45 miles to Savannah to find a nightclub with hip-hop music, single women and a bar open well past midnight.

The 24-year-old soldier would often have too much fun to make it back to the barracks. “There’s been times I went to Savannah and had to sleep in the car because I didn’t want to get a DUI,” the New Yorker said.

But now he can do his drinking, dancing and lookin’ for love just blocks from his Fort Stewart billet, without even leaving the Army post.

Deciding too many soldiers were dying behind the wheel after partying out of town, Fort Stewart commanders spent $300,000 turning a defunct sports bar on the Army post into Rocky’s, a bar and nightclub that aims to mimic the after-hours party scene of Savannah’s hippest spots.

Knowing booze and dance tunes wouldn’t be enough, commanders also eased security restrictions at the post’s front gate to encourage civilians — namely women, who get free admission between 10 p.m. and midnight Fridays and Saturdays — to party at Rocky’s, which opened in November.

“We never want to glamorize alcohol, but we’ve got to be realistic about this,” said Col. Todd Buchs, garrison commander. “If we know they’re going to drink, let’s provide a safe place for them to drink so we know they’re going to be alive the next morning.”

[Click on the essay title above to read the full story.]

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