Posted on Mar 13, 2018
Leigh Russell
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How can a civilian working in a military organization (Air Force) learn about military bearing and other cultural things when we don't have the opportunity to attend basic training, officer training school, etc? Can anyone recommend books or other training avenues where I can get smart on military culture so that I can better fit in? Thanks for your help!

(The background motivating this question):

I was asked to be a supervisor, but within the first day, I had uniformed officers (who I supervised) questioning my decisions (in public, in front of everyone else). I reported it to the OIC, who counseled the officer(s). One officer then sent me a text message apologizing, saying "she was judging me because 'we military members have ways we are taught to communicate, act, handle conflict, etc., which you don't exhibit.'" While (thankfully), I'm not in that job any longer, I may be taking on another supervisory role sometime soon, where I worry the same thing could happen again. Ugh. Just trying to figure out my blind spots so I can be more effective in the next job.
Edited >1 y ago
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CW3 Kevin Storm
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The Air Force is a military Organization? Now I know why you are not picking it up. The AF tends to be the most lenient service out there, the other services tend to refer to it as the Chair Force. Their idea of hard times is no room at the Marriott, have to slum it at the Motel 6.
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SGT David A. 'Cowboy' Groth
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If you know someone that served about 10-15 years ago, they may have some manuals that were given to them when they became NCO's. They helped me out when I was in, and being an officers driver for a while you learned a few things also.
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Lt Col Jim Coe
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Edited >1 y ago
As an Army Civilian I was required to take an "Army 101" on-line training course. It explained the history, structure, ranks, legal authorities, personnel policies, branches, corps, leadership philosophies, etc., of the Army. If the Air Force doesn't have a similar course, it should. I knew most of the information because I had served 22 years in the Air Force in jobs where I worked with the Army often.

As far as civilian vs military "rank" it's important to remember that both military and civilian employees have "grade", but only military personnel have "rank." Civilian employees garner their legal authority from their position. There is the tradition of approximate equivalency between military rank and civilian grade based on GS15 being equal to O-6. That leads some to think there is a descending order of grade and rank with GS14 equal to O-5, GS13 equal to O-4, and so on. I ran into this when dealing with a Unified Command Headquarters from a Component Command Headquarters. The Unified Command had executive level meetings populated mostly by Colonels, Captains, and GS15s, most of whom were division chiefs or deputy directors. The unified command expected their components to send equivalent grade representatives to those meetings. Our Army Component had very few Colonels or GS15s and those few were directors, e.g., G-3, G-6, etc. Our Division Chiefs were mostly GS14s. It took our Senior Civilian (SES-2) talking with the unified command's Chief of Staff to get them to understand we didn't have the manpower at the O-6/GS15 grade to meet their requirements. They would have to deal with our GS14 Division Chiefs. Things smoothed out after that.
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