Posted on Apr 18, 2019
SPC Healthcare Specialist (Combat Medic)
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I am a female in the army current on rotation over seas. I was just told by my team leader that my platoon Sgt (female) told him that I need to start wearing a bra while off duty. in the clothes that I wear, you can't see my nipple or even the color of my nipple nor do I wear revealing or low cut shirts. At the most, you can just see that I am simply not wearing one. Nowhere in any reg does it say it’s required not even in uniform. Can she tell me to do so?
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MSG Senior Drill Sergeant
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SPC (Join to see), it's completely subjective and interpretive really. AR 670-1, paragraph 3-9 outlines the rules for wearing civilian clothing. Whether we like it or not, the Army does regulate what we can wear off duty outside of our home. However, it uses statements such as "subject to local regulations" and "will present a professional image". Those are interpretive statements and are difficult to disagree with. We, as RP members, don't know the local policies for your duty station. Your chain of command does.

RP isn't the place to get an answer on this topic. You'll just get opinions that are irrelevant to your chain of command. You really only have two options:

1. Comply and accept that it's a priority for this particular PSG. Ultimately, this will save you a lot of grief for your remaining time in that unit.

2. Continue to disagree and have a professional discussion with your PSG about your concerns. If you feel that your PSG is being completely unreasonable then you're always able to use the open door policy for your 1SG.

With that said, I highly suggest keeping this issue at the lowest level possible. You must weigh the pro's and con's of this fight. Is it really worth the effort? These are only questions you can answer.

Best of luck.
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Brad Miller
Brad Miller
26 d
Depending on where you are stationed, not wearing a bra may be extremely offensive to the local people, which would generate loads of ill-will in general. Quote -- Just because you have the right to do it, doesn't mean it's the right thing to do.
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PVT Robert Cameron
PVT Robert Cameron
26 d
I'd like to see what the ucmj says about constitutional rights
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SGT Healthcare Specialist (Combat Medic)
SGT (Join to see)
21 d
SPC Bolden, after serving in the SERVICES of the US ARMY and US MARINE CORPS, I have only a little bit of advice for you. In the USMC, when we went to Pass or Liberty, we had to sign out thru the Orderly Room with the Staff Duty. One of his or her duties was to inspect our civvies to make sure they complied with the uniform of the day. we couldn't go out looking like Ragbags or someone that just left the motor pool. We even had to wear belts with our pants and our pants above our hip bones. No underwear showing. Of course this was in 1988-89 time frame so if it has changed someone please correct me. Our clothes had to be clean and neat, no holes, and represent the Morales of the USMC. So in response to your situation, ask yourself 3 questions before you step out. 1) Do these clothes represent me?
2) Can I go around my family looking like this?
3) Would the 1SG and PSG approve of these clothes?
Remember you are you and nobody else, and want to make sure you leave a Positive impression on anybody you meet. You never know who you will meet anywhere.
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CAPT Hiram Patterson
CAPT Hiram Patterson
13 d
PVT Robert Cameron - You do have constitutional right under the UCMJ (unwritten) but not carte blanche to fully exercise those rights in the military. For example saying anything you want to just because you have 1st Amendment rights.
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LtCol Robert Quinter
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The only conceivable reason I could come up with is the fact that you are US military in a foreign country and your platoon sgt feels your lack of a bra could be offensive to the locals. In any event, you deserve more information from your platoon sergeant directly without putting your team leader in what could be an awkward situation.
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MSgt Kerry Lundy
MSgt Kerry Lundy
3 mo
Excellent advise LtCol Quinter. I read all the replies posted yours as Sgt Chewning pointed out is the best, If she follows it her tour will be a lot easier and she can be assured it will pass by quickly and she can get on with her career. Not knowing where she is located I would also advise her to learn the customs and courtesies of the locale she is in.
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CPL John Day
CPL John Day
3 mo
Did you die?
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LtCol Robert Quinter
LtCol Robert Quinter
3 mo
CPL John Day - If I did, they haven't told me yet
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SPC Stiv ChenRobbins
SPC Stiv ChenRobbins
2 mo
A1C Joseph Fox - Thank you, I thought I might have to go through one whole topic without someone expressing their TDS.
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SFC James J. Palmer IV aka "JP4"
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Edited 9 mo ago
As a former PSG. Straight up. I wouldn’t do it nor would I direct one of my team leaders to give such an awkward directive. Especially if just for the sake of saying that without giving further serious clarification. I am of the opinion that is way inappropriate for me as male to tell you something like that. Especially giving the facts of what you just stated and taking them at face value.

Having said that.......

I would ask my SQD/Team leaders if this is causing a legitimate widespread issue to unit cohesion and morale. If the answer is yes, then that is a seperate matter. If the answer is no, but just a personal gripe that they don't like, my answer to my SQD/Team leaders would be to leave her alone. We shouldn't be making on the spot corrections based upon our personal preferences. That isn't how that should work.

JP
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SGT Russell Chewning
SGT Russell Chewning
3 mo
CPT (Join to see) - Probably best for all concerned for officers crossing the line in this way to retire. I sure as heck don't see you counseling male soldiers for wearing a t-shirt on a very cold day, and showing nips. It is inappropriate enough for the PSG to say this to a female soldier who is off duty in the first place, but having the COMMAND back them up? Completely inappropriate. It's not like she is wearing 20 gauge nipple rings that you can see through the shirt.

If your male soldiers can't keep from getting a hardon when they see a woman's nipples through a shirt, how are they supposed to ever function outside of the post?? And just WHAT disturbance to unit cohesion and whatever other assorted BS trope you wanna throw in, is this soldier's nipples causing when she is OFF DUTY?????

What? Are the male soldiers.... Gonna be tempted to rape? Utterly ridiculous. Seems to me if a female soldier showing a little nip when OFF DUTY is a major issue to your unit, you have utterly and completely failed as a leader, long before this came up.

Please, please, please. I want you to explain exactly what "problem" you think this would cause, that you have to "shut it down", before it does so. You seem to have so little faith in your male soldiers.
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SGT Russell Chewning
SGT Russell Chewning
3 mo
2LT (Join to see) Thanks for presenting this in a professional manner. Personally, as an NCO, I think this is about pure professionalism, regulations aside. A lot of answers on here going down the "PSG was fully within regs. I suggest you soldier up and drive on.." route, but to me, this is about intentionally separating out the sexes for different treatment. As I said in other responses, no one ever counsels a male soldier for visible nipples, in or out of uniform, on a cold day. No one ever counsels a male soldier for wearing jeans a tad too tight, and "revealing", if you catch my drift. A lot of old-schoolers in here, but generally, those on active duty, and actually in leadership positions, say they would not have approached a subordinate with this concern, as... It wouldn't be a concern.

I think too often, we make the mistake of assuming a leader actually always thinks about stuff like this before they hand down an order. They don't. I've seen many leaders in the Army who seemed to be on auto-pilot. Or, just drunk on authority. A lot of folks on here bemoaning the state of the Army, when this is even a topic of discussion. Yet, as I said before.. A Chairman of the Joint Chiefs was caught covering up for a general friend who was harassing, and involved in inappropriate sexual relations. The military has a problem from the top on down. Any conversation that discusses the treatment of women as pure sexual objects, is worthy. And, outside of the middle east and others areas of the world where women are literally seen as property, this is simply inappropriate.

I was the type of soldier to simply not tolerate mistreatment at the hands of an authority figure. The PSG I gave an honest assessment to, ended up recommending me for promotion., And I made E-5 shortly after. I just don't buy into the unquestioning following of orders in a situation where I passionately believe the leader is in the wrong. When I gave that PSG a blunt summary of his failings as a leader, I was one on one with him, and asked permission first to speak freely. If he didn't want to hear it, he had every right to say "No", lock me up at parade rest, and I would have assumed the position.

And I VERY passionately believe this PSG was in the wrong, and that there are ways of informing her of such, without putting herself in a bind. That often depends on how much of a "star soldier" one is, and whether you are the type of soldier the command would realistically want to make an example of. Punishing a high performer who is taking a stand against an unfair and discriminatory policy is a great way to demotivate a bunch of soldiers at once. I was a high performer, in a technical MOS, and I knew it. Sometimes that counts for quite a bit.
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Sgt Chris Hanson
Sgt Chris Hanson
3 mo
SSG J F Texas - Has she ever heard of nipples? I know when I go braless, my nipples betray me because they poke right through. I'm tired of people disregarding regulations. When I was in, women's clothing allowance was larger than men's because we were supposed to be buying bras as part of our uniforms.
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Sgt Mona Hemphill-Bellmore
Sgt Mona Hemphill-Bellmore
1 mo
Tank tops, undershirts, T-shirts and camisoles are much more comfortable to wear under clothes than wearing a bra. A lot of times, depending on the fit, one of those will suffice to keep nipples from showing/poking through. I've always hated wearing a bra, still searching for a comfortable one for when I feel the need to wear one. When I served in the air force during the 70's I wore one when in uniform, but was small busted so got away without wearing a bra when off duty. I was stationed at Tyndall AFB, Panama City, FL for 3 years, then Thailand for last year. I'm glad nobody ever said anything about it to me.
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