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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Sgt Chris Hanson
Sgt Chris Hanson
1 mo
Wow! I was in the AF from 1988-1993. Back in the day we weren't allowed to wear mirrored sunglasses. We had to carry a conservative black purse. We had to have neatly trimmed nails and if we wanted nail polish, it had to be a neutral color. Your hair had to be styled so your cover fit properly...if it didn't, cut your hair. If you had a cell phone (my husband retired in 2011 so that one is from his time), you weren't allowed to walk and talk at the same time. If you carried a backpack, it had to be black.
Now, there's women with braids down to their butt that pile them on top of their heads in a bun. These things are so huge they have to wear their hats on the front of their heads because it won't fit otherwise. So much for hair bulk no more than 3". I've seen women walking around with 3" nails and purses so huge they should be classified as luggage...and every color but black.
Everyone walks and talks on their phones and whatever glasses and/or sunglasses they wear is ok.
I'm getting so tired of the military catering to the whims of the PC freaks. The military is the military. You know what you're getting into when you sign up. Why do people sign up, get in, then whine and cry because they can't do this or they can't do that? What's worse is commanders and congress listen and agree with the whiners.
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Sgt Chris Hanson
Sgt Chris Hanson
1 mo
SSG Dale London - It's actually a privilege to live anywhere but the barracks when you're married. Just as an example, if anyone watches Gomer Pyle, there was one guy who was married and he had to sleep in the barracks with the unmarried guys for a certain number of days during the week. In fact, when you live in base housing, technically they can come in day or night and inspect your quarters. Most people don't realize that.
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SSG Dale London
SSG Dale London
12 d
Sgt Chris Hanson - While I don't usually cite Gomer Pyle as a source of military wisdom, in this case I totally agree. Nice shout-out to one of my favourite shows as a kid, by the way.
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SrA Ronald Moore
SrA Ronald Moore
10 d
Everything has its,' place and function, Just wear all your clothing
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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
1 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
1 mo
Did you die?
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LtCol Robert Quinter
LtCol Robert Quinter
1 mo
CPL John Day - If I did, they haven't told me yet
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SPC Stiv ChenRobbins
SPC Stiv ChenRobbins
4 d
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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SSG(P) James J. Palmer IV aka "JP4"
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Edited 7 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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CPT Canon To The Ordinary
CPT (Join to see)
4 mo
Were I the commanding officer, I would shut that down before it created a problem. I would also do any counselling in the presence of the soldier's command team, commissioned and non-commissioned.
I would then walk back to my quarters and pack my D-bags for the trip into retirement.
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SGT Russell Chewning
SGT Russell Chewning
1 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
1 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
1 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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