National Guardsmen stationed at the Umatilla Chemical Depot to protect the chemical weapons stored there are now restricted by a nighttime curfew and are not allowed to drink alcohol while off the Depot.

Two recent alcohol-related incidents caused the change in Army policy, according to Depot officials.

Michael David Perkins of Nacogdoches, Texas, was killed in a high-speed rollover in September. He, the driver and another passenger had been in the Tri-Cities drinking before heading back to the base. The accident happened near the intersection of Interstate 82 and Highway 730.

The driver, Adam Herrera, 23, of Woodland, Texas, is facing manslaughter charges.

In October, a designated driver program was implemented at the Depot, requiring a designated non-drinking driver to escort soldiers to and from off-base bar or club activities. A cab service for soldiers also was established.

However, another alcohol-related incident in November caused the restrictions to tighten, said Jim Hackett, spokesman for the Depot.

Guardsman Anthony W. Clifton, 39, of Kaufman, Texas, was arrested Nov. 16 on suspicion of second-degree assault and hit and run involving injuries and property damage.

Clifton was arraigned Monday at the Umatilla County Courthouse and was charged with second-degree assault and failure to perform the duties of a driver. Judge Rudy Murgo released him into military custody.

Clifton's pretrial hearing was set for Jan. 16.

Soldiers are now required to be at the Depot from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. and are not allowed to drink alcoholic beverages off the base, Hackett said.

Instead, Depot officials are trying to boost morale by offering several on-base and off-base activities and improving the living facilities, Hackett said.

The Army does not have a bar/recreation room on the Depot where soldiers can have off-duty down time where they can drink, relax and walk back to their barracks, but officials are working on opening such a facility, Hackett said.

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