Posted on May 31, 2016
1SG Airborne Ranger
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Posted in these groups: Height_and_weight_logo Height and WeightDiscipline1 Discipline
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Responses: 30
SSG Warren Swan
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If a Soldier is late to formation everyday and no one picks up as to why, then that is a leadership failure. Somewhere a NCO should've taken him to the side, and asked "is there a problem with you being here on time"? I've had Soldiers come late and the child care center wasn't opened on time, and it was true. I can't counsel you if your reason is legit. (this was before everyone carried cellphones). If it is going to be an issue that can be a long term issue, then we'd have to sit and come to some kind of way where the Soldier can do what is needed to be done and make it to formation. I use that as an example being I've had single male and female Soldiers who are parents. Showing up late, and you don't have the "coolest excuse ever" will get you the "coolest 4856 ever". Continue on that path, and the PSG, 1SG, and CDR get involved, you will loose rank, and eventually be sent packing.
Overweight Soldiers deserve to be treated with the same respect their rank and abilities deserve. They are owed the chance to have their blood drawn, nutritionist seen, and find out if there is mitigating reasons that the Soldier is overweight. One thing that no one wants to talk about is the Soldiers who are overweight due to prescribed medications. AR600-9 states that you cannot be overweight due to medicines. I'm willing to bet my paycheck that was written LONG before we went to a long war and the troops are coming home from tours mentally destroyed. My Doc had me on 500-600mg of Seroquel. Another doctor couldn't believe I was even able to function with that much in me everyday. It completely dumbed me down, took feelings away, and I was a step or two above a child's mind. I would eat your car with maple syrup if it wasn't hidden in your garage. My unit was advised of this and my weight skyrocketed. I was freakin HUGE, and I've always been either borderline with tape or over it. But that medicine kept me calm, and in a very limited sense "functional". I was flagged, and it was the right thing to do, even though the medical professionals wrote letters advising them that as long as I'm on this medicine, I will only get bigger. By the time I was fully off that med, I had completed the Med board and retired. Can't go cold turkey on Seroquel. . The Army or military in general needs to rethink the overweight program in regards to anti-depressants and their effects on Soldiers. Hiding behind a regulation isn't helping anyone and just because the Solder is on it, doesn't mean he/she should be written off. Being fat and not caring is one thing. Being fat and you're eating out everyday, and you don't care? It'll be time to punch out and get a new job. Being fat and on medicines that are clinically noted to cause issues, needs to be taken into account.
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Col Group Commander
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You posted an excellent answer. The bottom line is that in both your situation and the hypothetical one, the SM should be given the opportunity to correct. The interim discipline is not on public display. The soldier that is chronically late to formation may suffer a public rebuke due to the "formation" being a witness. The overweight individual does not stand in front of the formation (think "Full Metal Jacket") and get publicly shamed. In your case, you could not meet the standards due to medical issues (one of which was medication enhanced weight gain). It takes time to ensure that both SMs are taken care of first. Discipline is administered after all things are considered. In your medical case the MEB decided that your continued service was not possible. The late SM may need some assistance or may need to be removed from service. Both situations pan out over time. I assure the readers that nobody should be pushed out without due diligence. The overweight guy takes two years of failures until the out-processing paperwork is begun.
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1SG Claims Assistant
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Not meeting the standard is not meeting the standard.
However, as a First Sergeant, I take it a bit more personally when a troop can't be bothered to make it to MY formation on time. That will draw some personal quality time.
Overweight Soldiers need to make adjustments to their lifestyle and choices to get back in line. This is a process, not a come to Jesus tent revival. You arm them with tools to make better choices, you give them additional training to help this along (hell, once I had a "biggest loser" competition)... sometimes they make the right changes, sometimes they don't.
At the end of the day, actions have consequences. Being late for formation will eventually lead to NJP. Being fat will eventually lead to discharge. If you aren't doing that, you aren't doing your job as a leader.
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CSM David Heidke
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I'm willing to work with an overweight Soldier to a point. I've been overweight once or twice in my career. If they can't stay fit and pass the APFT, they should go.

Too often we allow them to stay through inaction of administrative actions, and it shows the rest that they can get away with it. They know there are no consequences. I think if we remove a few of the worst offenders, the rest will find more motivation to get fit. JMHO
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CSM David Heidke
CSM David Heidke
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MSG Donald Johnson - I would have significantly less leeway for a chronically late Soldier.
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