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Some local businesses unavailable to military

Northwest Guardian

Published: 12:51PM August 22nd, 2013

Joint Base Lewis McChord service members face risky situations when they deploy, but JBLM Provost Marshall Maj. Sharon Lyght said there are many places just outside the installation’s gates that are equally dangerous.

Twenty-five businesses from Everett to Olympia are part of JBLM’s off-limits areas and establishments list, an inventory of places known for illegal activity and unsafe business practices. The list is established through the Armed Forces Disciplinary Control Board, which is chaired by JBLM’s Director of Emergency Services and 42nd Military Police Brigade Commander Col. David Chase.

“These establishments represent something that we don’t want our service members involved in,” Lyght said. “Basically what it does is it keeps our service members safe and it keeps them out of places that are not conducive to what we are here for.”

Most off-limits establishments are discovered by unit commands who bring them to the attention of the JBLM Provost Marshall. The business is then sent a warning letter, Lyght said, and the business owner has an opportunity to respond.

“During the board process, the business owner can come in and bring proof that they don’t support illegal practices,” Lyght said. “Because the installation is so large, we are big business for the local community, so when we place establishments off-limits, it hurts them financially.”

The list is updated once every six months during the board process, when establishments are either added or removed. Several of the business have been on the list for almost a year, while one has been on the list for 10 years.

A significant majority of off-limits establishments are smoke shops that have been involved in selling illegal substances, Lyght said, which is a violation of state and federal law.

The list of JBLM off-limits establishments is posted in unit areas and printed in the Soldier’s Blue Book. It includes the name and address of each business and shows when they were added to the list. Both versions are signed by the I Corps commanding general, Lt. Gen. Robert Brown. Patronizing the establishments is punishable under the Uniformed Code of Military Justice, Lyght said, since service members would be disobeying a lawful order.

“It’s provided for the safety of the service members to make sure they are not getting into situations that my be harmful to their career,” Lyght said. “There’s a lawful order out there that states they cannot go to these establishments.”