Admiral Menoni clears the air on base exchange access

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Rear Admiral John Menoni, the Commander of Joint Region Marianas, was the guest on K57’s Vet Talk on May 27, Wednesday night.

Access to the on-base commissary has been a sore point with island veterans who have had limited access.

Some have suggested that the military has been discriminating against local veterans because they’re being turned away and given a warning letter when they try to shop at the exchange Monday through Thursday.

Host Sean Watson asked Rear Adm. Menoni about that.

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Menoni answered: “So the letter is a warning. There are two aspects to this. We did try to over-communicate the hours. And for whatever reason, we weren’t getting through. And when you have somebody who shows up who shouldn’t be on the base at that time, it doesn’t matter who they are, they get turned around. And that causes these big backups in traffic. It’s frustrating to the gate guard, it’s frustrating. So to get people to modify behavior we had to issue a warning.”

Even though warning letters have been issued, Menoni said no one has been held accountable for violating the exchange access hours to date.

The only people that got short term 30-day bans from the base are people that got abusive with gate guards. And those encounters were recorded, Menoni said.

Menoni also said that he plans to meet with island veterans at least twice a year from now on to address their concerns.

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