Posted on Oct 4, 2015
SSG S3 Operations Nco
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Are Soldiers losing their military bearing and feeling more sense of entitlement?

Are we failing to enforce and demonstrate place & position?
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SFC Equal Opportunity Advisor
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It appears Soldiers are losing their bearing because of the type of Soldiers we are bringing in to the force today. This younger generation was raised with parents who hovered over them in an overly protective mode. Children were told it was ok to challenge authority figures if they felt they were being abused. This was done with the the best of intentions but it did not foster thenrightntype of challenges. What one considers abuse, another may consider it just being enforcement. Children are given participation trophies or medals and many events don't have winners and losers. This fostered the mentality that you should get rewarded for basically just showing up. It didn't matter how little or how much effort you have, you all got the same reward so then why bother going above and beyond? So now we have Soldiers that believe they can challenge EVERY order given, not just the immoral or illegal ones. They feel they deserve recognition for doing their job. If my SGT passes an inspection for her meal card program, then she gets "good job" from me. That's it. No award should be given because it IS her job to pass an inspection. Now, if she had inherited a program where the last inspection had been "red" and this time it was "outstanding", then maybe I could see an award being given. I'm all about recognizing Soldiers for deserving acts, but not for just doing your job. I mean seriously, if a Soldier failed the APFT and then passes the next one, do they deserve to be rewarded for that?
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SFC Equal Opportunity Advisor
SFC (Join to see)
4 y
SGT(P) (Join to see) - Thank you for upholding the standards!
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PO2 Nick Burke
PO2 Nick Burke
4 y
SGT(P) (Join to see) - That attitude you posted about is presented in boot camp. Here at Great Lakes the RDCs get in trouble if the recruits fail or complain to often. The standards for the recruits HAVE been lowered.
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SMSgt Lawrence McCarter
SMSgt Lawrence McCarter
>1 y
PO2 Nick Burke - Sad, boot camp is the place they should be prepared for Military life not coddled like little kids in day care. So what happens in the real world and others are shooting at You or trying to kill You and You can't even handle someone speaking harshly to You ? Boot camp should not only prepare You for the military but help You grown up to be an adult. lowering standards also lowers the finished product and the problem continues.
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SFC Edwin Watson
SFC Edwin Watson
2 mo
Yeah, the reward being not losing a stripe!!
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SGM Steve Wettstein
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SSG (Join to see) Great question SSG Carter. I first noticed discipline problems in lower enlisted when I was a 1SG in 2007. IMO when the promotion points dropped, there were a lot of NCOs that got promoted to quickly or shouldn't have been promoted at all. There were, and probably still are, NCOs that didn't have the intestinal fortitude to make corrections on Soldiers because either A) they were friends with said Soldier or B) they didn't have the balls to make corrections. I saw it a ton of times. I lost count of how many times I had to correct a Soldier and then an NCO because they wouldn't do their job. Another factor in all of this was the Army granting waivers for Soldiers that prior to GWOT would not have been allowed to enlist. Lots of malcontents came in in the mid 00s.
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SFC John Parsons
SFC John Parsons
4 y
I served in the 82nd as a 11B, Engineer as a 51H9Changed to 21H and now is 12H) I worked with SF which most of the soldiers there were SF not military bearing. I left the 82nd and reclass to Eng and went to Germany in 1990. Holy Sh88 batman talk about a lack of Bearing. I didn't change my standards and as a young E-5 I was full of piss and vinegar and my soldiers cam on board or out they went. I hade no room for sub standards and when I was a PSG I didn't have a problem of putting a soldiers in front of the old man when all other methods failed. My nick name was the axe and SGT Asshole. I never lose a soldier in combat or death to DUI, etc. I seen the changes in 1990 and after 9/11 it only got worse.
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SGT Michael Glenn
SGT Michael Glenn
4 y
I had the sad misfortune of being in a company for 1 whole week, was in a soldiers room inspecting and needed an item from the Supply room so I asked a PVT to run downstairs and get what was needed. He returned a few moments later and said I could not get what I requested.I made the comment of why not and was heading out the door when my fellow E-5 across the room who was Black made the comment"its because your not a brother, the whole headquarters plt is full of brothers so you iant gettin shi*. I promptly walked down stairs to the supply clerk and asked for what I needed, he just looked at me and then hollered for the Supply Sargent,who slowly meandered his way over and just stood there. I excused my self by saying Ill be right back. Went to my room and got a micro tape recorder and then off to the Co's office Via Top who was only told I had a situation and needed their assistance. Walking into the supply room I called for everyone to come up front, I slammed the recorder on the desk and said " So, I send a white soldier down to get cleaning materials and he comes back and tells me he cant and Im further told I will not get anything because Im white"? No one said anything and just stared at me and then the recorder. The Co calmly said," why no SGT Glenn Ill bet it was all just a big misunderstanding". To which I replied" I have awesome hearing and know what I was told. I would hate to have to drop a dime on a bunch of racists my 1st week in your unit sir, this needs to be resolved and resolved now! I turned off the recorder and simply walked out of the room. I kept the tape off base and was looked at funny for a long time by many but I never had issues of not getting what I wanted when I asked for it.
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SGM Steve Wettstein
SGM Steve Wettstein
4 y
SgtMaj Mark Davis - Mark, I think we (at least the Army) is going back to the pre GWOT military and hopefully the situation gets rectified.
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SFC Wesley Arnold, Jr
SFC Wesley Arnold, Jr
4 y
SSG Tyshaun Cater, 1SG Steve Wettsin great question and on point 1SG Wettsin. Unfortunately for me from '01 - '04 as a Ft Jackson Drill Sergeant, we (TRADOC) initially still enforced the same enlistment standards as ... the last 30yrs? I had the misfortune of removing potential Soldiers who signed up immediately after 9/11 ... some even unaware of this devastating day. As we got closer to "Big Army's" move to the deployment for OIF/OEF they opened the flood gates with waivers for almost "everything". Once we were getting deeper into OIF/OEF, I was graduating Soldiers with the same medical and physiologic problems that were prior reasons for discharge.

Two examples the still stand out to me was "PVT Please" after a simple visit to sick call was ask by DR if he "ever had tubes in your ears?" Answer to this issue was an unwanted medical discharge. After the flood gates open I graduated "PVT Tubes", a soldier that had gone on sick call specially for ear problems ... Who was the better? PVT Please was the better Soldier hands down. The PVT all NCOs dream of coming out of Basic Combat Training (BCT) and PVT Tubes was a floater with minimal effort. (One of ??? that almost cost me my hat and stripes)

The second example that still curdles my stomach is "PVT Crazy", on psych medications ... Yep, you guess it, I couldn't ask why. I don't think our CMD or 1SG knew either ... all because she had no SI or HI. Yes, PVT Crazy graduated. A real hard hitting example iso PFC/SGT Bergdahl who was denied entrance to the US Coast Guard, but managed to join the Army. This flash flood of Soldiers to bring "Big Army's" numbers up I think also just pushed everyone too; you either went up the ranks or just continue to slush mud.

To many Soldiers with nothing but Down Range knowledge, which we all know unfortunately is not the same as Garrison. You take the Soldier out of that environment and back to "spit & polish" and they don't know how to act. Top that with Juniors NCOs who left Garrison as Privates, did great things, got promoted, and did a great job keeping his/her Soldiers safe. My guess is that more than have of all JR NCOs Army wide, were not leaders when they left. This is only caused a snowball effect, that will take time to fix. NCOPD needs to be on the forefront of training with mission oriented training simultaneously (that why we get/got the big bucks); and lower enlisted need to be mentored how to be a PVT and not slack wrinkle bag. To learn more about their job not just the one key mission that units conducted down range.
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SSG Orders Action Officer
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Edited 4 y ago
I believe Soldiers are a product of their leadership. One NCO can't enforce the standard; it has to be a team effort by a cohesive NCO team.

I don't believe it has anything to do with the type of people coming into the Army. I was pretty messed up coming in, but I had leaders that took me under their wing and invested in me. Looking back on those leaders actually stirs up emotions for me, because they cared.
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SSG Operations Sergeant
SSG (Join to see)
4 y
I would partially agree/disagree with your statement on Soldiers becoming a reflection of their leadership and that one NCO cannot do it alone. I believe Soldiers can be a direct reflection of their leadership be it good or bad. But ultimatley, the choice is that of the Solder to do what is right. Most common sense holding individuals know what right and wrong looks like. I have been in several units in which there were many crappy NCOs, some in my chain of command and first line supervisors. When I encountered those individuals, I always thought back to the very first SSG that I encountered when I arrived to my infantry unit at FT Bliss back in 2006. This SSG was tough, fair, comical, a mentor, and led us through combat with the fiercest fire. I have yet to encounter another SSG or even another NCO for that matter that could come anywhere close to this SSG. So can one NCO change a Soldier, ABSOLUTELY. Almost ten years later, I try my best to mirror this SSG and impress what I learned on junior Soldiers and even fellow NCOs.
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SSG Orders Action Officer
SSG (Join to see)
4 y
SSG (Join to see) - One NCO can change a Soldier, true; but will it be sustained? Most Soldiers come into the Military totally oblivious to what right looks like (as far as the Army is concerned). When I say "team" I'm not talking about one unit, I'm talking about the NCO Corp. Soldiers coming up in the ranks should be a reflection of the whole NCO Corp and not one individual leader that they happened to get at one unit, that's part of the problem. It's a top-down problem.
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COL John Maus
COL John Maus
4 y
One NCO can enforce the standards. That's part of the problem, so many are looking to someone to do it
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SSG Orders Action Officer
SSG (Join to see)
4 y
COL John Maus - I know what you are saying Sir. The SMA can't enforce all Army standards by himself. If one NCO is enforcing the standard in one unit and a Soldier moves to another unit where another NCO isn't enforcing the standard it can ruin that Soldier. It takes a combined effort throughout the Army to sustain Army-wide discipline. An NCO can either think he is an individual enforcing the standard or part of a team enforcing the standard, which would be more effective? I think the latter would be more effective for any organization.
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