Posted on Mar 18, 2019
PFC(P) Private First Class
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Today I was over at the Fort Sill USAO to use their computers for my SSD1 when I was stopped and promptly dressed down by a sergeant for wearing a pair of multicam pants when I was wearing civilian attire. I believe he was mistaken about the pants themselves, and thought that they were uniform pants, however he did not give me a word in edgeways to explain that they were not. This raised a question in my mind, and after digging through AR670-1, I am unable to find an answer to this and I would like some input from any sergeants, or officers here. Are soldiers allowed to wear civilian "tactical" camo pants when in civilian attire while on post? In my case, for clarification, they were a pair of 511 TDUs in Crye Multicam. If any info from regulations can be added I would much appreciate it, as my platoon sergeant has ok'ed it, and I would like something to back me up should I run across said sergeant again. just in case, TL;DR, are soldiers allowed to wear civilian multicam pants on post when not in army uniform?
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SFC Senior Drill Sergeant
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PFC(P) (Join to see), I’m certain you can afford a decent pair of pants from the Exchange and just avoid it all together!!

Keep it simple! Just blend in and avoid the attention.
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SSgt Joseph Baptist
SSgt Joseph Baptist
3 mo
SFC (Join to see) - "does it matter what the regulation says? "

Yes, it does matter what the regulation says. You do not outrank the regulations - that's how you know that you are in the military, and not a street gang or unruly mob.
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SSgt Joseph Baptist
SSgt Joseph Baptist
3 mo
PFC(P) (Join to see) - Buy some 511 trousers that are comfortable, but are a different color - not something that looks like it's part of a US military uniform - and wear those when you visit the military isntallation.

As a reservist, you are not required to be on the installation every day, so make sure that when you do go on the installation, you are squared away.

You can already see here that there are some people who don't give a rat's ass what the regulations are, because they believe that their stripes give them free reign to bully anyone of a lower rank than they are. Don't give them a reason to pick on you.
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SFC Senior Drill Sergeant
SFC (Join to see)
3 mo
SSgt Joseph Baptist, I believe you misunderstood my intent behind that statement.

No where did I ever say or even imply that I’m greater than the regulation. As a matter of fact, if you had any bit of a clue with my posts here, I’m pro-regulation. You don’t have the slightest understanding of who I am as a leader so instead of jumping to conclusions and creating judgements, simply ask for clarification. That only seems reasonable as NCO to NCO, yes?

The lesson I’m trying to convey to this young troop is that not everything is worth fighting. It’s about picking your battles. It’s about having the assessment of risk vs. reward.

I learned at a young age/rank that you can be 100% in the right but sometimes it’s better to just “Yes, Sergeant” and drive on.

The NCO that addressed this PFC isn’t automatically in the wrong, even if AR 670-1 says the pants are acceptable. That’s because we don’t know what Fort Sill post policy states. It could potentially further restrict the wear of military/tactical style clothing especially considering it’s a TRADOC installation. The bottom line is that regulation isn’t the only fall back solution to every problem. Sometimes we need to take a step back and look at it from a different perspective.

In this case, it’s not about what the regulation says, it’s about what battles are worth fighting.
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SSgt Joseph Baptist
SSgt Joseph Baptist
3 mo
SFC (Join to see) - Actually, since you doubled down on your "rank trumps regulations" thing with "You can’t win those arguments. It just is what it is.", I don't think that I needed any additional "clarification" to understand your meaning. Perhaps you didn't do a very good job of communicating, because the message you sent was "I'm an E-7, and my word trumps the regs" - somewhat like Officer Cartman screaming out "You must respect my authoritaaaah!".

Rank does not trump regs. One of the great things about the military is that if you are in regs, you are never wrong - no matter how low your rank is. It is this fair and impartial nature of the military - that we live under and by the regulations, and that they are applied equally to all, that makes military discipline work.

Whiel I agree that the OP needs to think about perception and choose his battles wisely, I think it's important that the PFC sees that not all NCOS are going to tell him that the actual regulations are unimportant when an NCO gets the idea that he is going to chew out a soldier.on a hobby horse.

Your statement that "Those pants might be confortable but they’re certainly not “cool” to anyone other than yourself." flies in the face of the fact that they sell thousands of these pants to people who do, in fact, think that they are "cool". It also makes it seem like you are just bullying a PFC who came on here to ask for guidance about the regulations - not to be jumped on about his desire to learn the regs so he can stay within them (which is something that we should both approve of and support in a young soldier).

And while the first part of this post is spot on: "even if AR 670-1 doesn’t explicitly state it, it could still be against post policy." Which is a great point, because taht will be in a post policy, ratehr than AR 670-1. You were also doing great with: "It can be the perception that you’re wearing part of the uniform off duty. It’s an etiquette thing." Which is pretty much what everyone here has told him, with some minor variations.

You go off the rails a bit with the second half: "An NCO telling you not to wear those pants on post while off duty is not illegal or immoral, therefore you comply. Stop trying to argue something for your own convenience."

The PFC doesn't seem to have argued with the NCO who berated him for his clothing choice. He seems to have tried to explain that the NCO was in error about whether or not the clothing was a uniform item - which is a correction, and not "arguing". He then did exactly what we tell our troops to do - he looked int he regs to see what he should be doing - and since he was unable to find the answer in the regulation, he has come here asking for advice and clarification. Now you appear to be attacking him for doing so. NCO to NCO, I'm pointing out that your response creates a negative perception, as well as being poor etiquette.

The PFC has had several NCOs tell him that he's within regulation, some with the caveat that he is likely to draw negative attention by doing so because others may mistake the clothing for a uniform item. Others have suggested that he pick a different color of pants, to avoid any unpleasant misunderstandings. Yet only a few have chosen to go after him for coming here to ask for advice.
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SGM Operations Ncoic
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Short answer: Yes.
Question: Is it worth the hassle of being on the listening end of that one-way conversation every single time?
Not really.
5.11 TDU multicams look exactly like OCP trousers to everyone who doesn't own a pair of both.
5.11 makes the same pants in every color of the tactical rainbow, pick anything other than multicam and wear those.
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SSG(P) Patient Service Tech
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Comfortable and cool or not....next time you could draw the ire of a CSM or two. Is that comfort and coolness really worth it, even if they are civilian attire?
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1SG John Millan
1SG John Millan
2 mo
Yes, dear Lord Soldiers, buy some decent clothes and don't pick a needless fight,
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