Posted on Mar 16, 2021
SGT Culinary Management Nco
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I had two soldiers be late twice this month and writing there counseling and was pondering their corrective trying. I was wondering if making them write a hand written essay is punishment? Also was wondering if they where effective deterrents.
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SFC Observer   Controller/Trainer (Oc/T)
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I've had a few Soldiers be late. In turn, I gave them essays to write. The instructions were to write a 500 word essay on their infractions, the Article of UCMJ it violated, the ramifications of said action that can happen via UCMJ and to the unit. It was to be written in pen, in print and with no errors of ANY kind.

And yes, it was an effective deterrent after the first 2 Soldiers had to do this. I also had them stand at Parade Rest at my desk while I read the essay and counted the words. My goal was to educate their mind and get them to research. And, I did this with the Commander's approval. They were counselled and the essay was part of the Plan of Action.
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SFC Observer   Controller/Trainer (Oc/T)
SFC (Join to see)
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Marion Frame - Ooooooh. So close to almost being believable. Until, that is, you threw in that link. Not today, ISIS. Not today
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SFC Observer   Controller/Trainer (Oc/T)
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Corrective training is NOT SUPPOSED TO BE PUNISHMENT. An NCO's job is to train. To enforce standards. To make corrections and addresses defeciencies.
Only Commanders are authorized to impose punishment .
If your goal is to punish, you're wrong.
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SFC Casey O'Mally
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It really depends on the Soldier. Personally, when I start writing, I have a hard time meeting MAXIMUM requirements - I am VERY verbose, and the words just roll off my fingers. You make me write an essay and I shrug it off. MOST of the Soldiers I had, essays were one of my "go-to" actions. But I would ALWAYS make them research essays.

My research essays served THREE primary purposes. First, it makes the Soldier dive into the regulations and understand what the ACTUAL rules are (and the topic would always correlate to the infraction). Second, a component of the essay was an exploration of WHY that rule was important, so it helped the Soldier to understand their role and the reason why I am enforcing these rules (above and beyond just "because that's the rule). Third, it helped with their writing.

One thing to note, though, is that if you assign an essay, you had better be prepared to take the time to read and correct it - as many times as needed until they get it right. (And you had better be a fully competent writer yourself in order to correct it.) For this reason, I would recommend NOT doing hand-written. First, we no longer write shit, we are a computerized Army. We may write down notes or important info in a notebook, but we don't produce memos, oporders, white papers, intel reports, or any of that crap by hand anymore. So make it compatible with how we ACTUALLY operate. Second, if you are going to correct it and sent it back to be re-done, having it done by hand WOULD start coming danger close to the "punishment" line - and most 1SGs I know would think it had crossed that line. Allowing them to use standard word processing programs for creation and editing is TRAINING them. Making them write it out by hand is LIKELY punishing them.

When properly executed, a research essay can be an EXCELLENT corrective training measure for most Soldiers. They serve as a MILD deterrent, and they address the problem behavior. I have only had a couple of times where I utilized an essay and it was not effective. Both of those times were with the same Soldier, who ended up chaptered out of the Army. In hindsight, it was NOT the proper corrective training for that Soldier, because I mistakenly believed that Soldier gave a damn, when they did not. There are a couple other times I COULD have used an essay, but I went a different route. One was because the Soldier was such a poor writer that it would have been legitimate punishment to require an essay (that Soldier WAS enrolled in FAST class, and then subsequently worked with by their TL to improve their writing - not like I ignored the problem). The other was because the (AD) Soldier was already enrolled in 2 Master's Level courses - adding an essay on top of the existing writing for schoolwork would have just been cruel. Additionally, due to that Soldier's high level of research proficiency and writing skill, it would not have served much of a corrective purpose - they consumed and regurgitated so much BS that they never even processed mentally that this would have been the same way. Knock out 3 page paper for SGT asshole and move on to next assignment.
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Richard Willis
Richard Willis
1 mo
Well, this is very subjective. Because there are people who are very fond of writing and it is unlikely that this will be a punishment for them. I once thought it was. And I often used different services for writing and translating https://www.topwritersreview.com/reviews/homeworkmarket/ in order not to do this work myself, because it seemed to me that it was insanely boring. But after writing one creative work, I realized that this is quite an interesting activity.
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MAJ Byron Oyler
MAJ Byron Oyler
1 mo
Richard Willis - You can make it uncomfortable and learning at the sometime. My 11yo son is copying dictionary pages exactly as found in the dictionary. It is tedious however in 2021 he needs to learn to type, he needs to learn new vocabulary words with spelling, and he needs to learn lying is unacceptable. He would rather receive a spanking and be done with it.
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