Posted on Feb 17, 2017
CPT Company Commander
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Here's the background. You are an experienced Soldier. You walk in to the commissary to see a young 2LT shopping with a headset on. You professionally and politely get the 2LT’s attention and address the deficiency. They blatantly are rude, dismiss your comment, and tell you that those rules do not apply to him as an officer. Whether you are an Officer or Enlisted, how do you react?
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MSgt Kurt S.
177
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Edited >1 y ago
Okay, professionalism leaves the conversation when the 2nd Lt tells me the rules don't apply. That is when I ask him for his command and senior OIC name, jot his name down and all that transpired, walk off and leave him to his own path of destruction. Now, as a Communications Instructor way back when...I was selected to do evaluations on other Marine instructors and pulled a week TAD at Fort Bliss Texas with the Red Eye Missile instructors course. Met the Sergeant Major as well as the Major that was OIC and they laid out my schedule. I was there to evaluate their instructors and the course material as if I was a student. We were walking from the command area (not really a company area or a battalion area) to one of the school's. If you have ever been to Fort Bliss, they like to put buildings that are associated with each other as far away as they can for vigorous walking exercise. Anyways the Sergeant Major was escorting me and two other evaluators (As a SSgt that I was) and an Army 2ndLt was walking towards us, the Sergeant Major called us to, and saluted and greeted the 2nd Lt, the 2ndLt decided that he was to busy, didn't have to or had lost his mind somewhere...the Sergeant Major told us to halt and stand by...he then turned around and said to the 2nd Lt, Sir, by God, when I salute and greet you, I better damned well get a reply! The 2ndLt turned and kind of grinned...and then it was on. I've witnessed a$$ chewing's before, but this was in the top 5 of at least 50 I have been privy to. The word's Kiss my a$$ and beat down as well as getting flogged and some other unnatural acts were spewed out. The 2ndLt saluted and about faced and we walked on not saying a word. Word filtered down that said 2ndLt was told to keep the hell out of the schools area. Rules and standards are in place for a reason, they might be lesser reasons or BS reasons, but as long as they are part of the rules, they are to be enforced. Much in the same way if you saw a senior enlisted or officer of any grade waving a rifle around unsafe on the range, you nip that sh1t in the bud right there, if you don't and some sh1t goes down wrong, you are just as at fault as the person doing the nitwittery.
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MSgt Kurt S.
MSgt Kurt S.
>1 y
COL John Hudson - Agreed, military courtesy goes both ways.
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PO1 George Gouker
PO1 George Gouker
>1 y
The lack of respect in the service is a carryover from society. Have you spoken to a young person recently. It's digustingI I have been out of the Navy for 23 years and I NEVER saw this level of disrespect! What has happened to my military. I remember being a young SN on a father. I was scheduled to make a quick jaunt to Pensacola, Fl to take an exam. The problem was that I also had duty that day. I put in a "request chit" to have coverage so I could take this exa, which is what my O4 Education officer told me to do. Well my O1 (90 day wonder) division officer rejected the request. No problem as far as I was concerned. I notified the Education Officer that I would not be making the trip and why. Later that evening I was in the berthing compartment when I hear screaming "where is Gouker, get his ass out here"! I go out to the passage way where he was. Now this Ensign was all of 5' 2" and I am 6'3" tall. I go out and stand to attention in my drawers in this tight passage way where there was a cruise box and he hops on this cruise box in order to be eye to eye with me and proceeded to chew my ass out about going behind his back to get the officer to try to convince him to let me go. I stood there trying not to laugh at the optics of this" he then ordered me to make sure I was on that flight and I better well damn pass that test, which I did. When I got back on board I received an apology from this Ensign. It seems someone had seen this display and reported it to the Operations officer who commenced another ass chewing this time with this young Ensign was standing tall to the 6' 4" operations officer.

Lest it to say you ALWAYS SHOW RESPECT NO MATTER WHAT.
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SFC Instructor/Writer
SFC (Join to see)
>1 y
In 2012, I had a senior officer chew me out and demand to know why I did not salute him, while I was walking into sick call. When he stated, "What's wrong with you, are you blind?" I told him, "Yes Sir, I am!" I rendered him a salute and stood there, until he walked away, I was unable to see if he returned it or not. I assume he did and sure he had an interesting story to tell his wife that evening! lol
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SGT Jim Wiseman
SGT Jim Wiseman
10 mo
At that point, I'd have to agree MSgt Kurt S.... courtesy goes out the window and along with getting his command info, I inform him that what I had always been told is that rules & regs go for everyone in uniform. And, as he is dressed in a uniform, those rules & regs apply to him, even if he doesn't believe it. I was always taught that on-the-spot corrections, done with the appropriate amount of respect is the responsibility of EVERY rank. Right or wrong, at that point, I'd advise him that since he doesn't feel the regs apply to him, I'd likely have told him that even as an E-1, I came in at 37 years old in 2009. Giving my age, I'd advise him that I have underwear older than him, proceeding to pass him my command info if he felt he wanted to put me on the spot for disrespect. Given the circumstances, likely, both of us would have felt the heat. Maybe not Art-15, but still enough that I'm sure he would have felt the worst of it.
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1SG Mike Case
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If I approached this 2LT and he was unprofessional, I would continue to follow him and remain professional, but would in a very loud voice, continue to remind him of his uniform discrepancy. Eventually someone who outranks both of us would find us and step in. I would then explain the situation and if I received a reprimand for my actions, so be it, but GMA gives us all the right to make those on-the-spot corrections. Before I sewed my name tapes on, I walked into the shoppette and I heard a very timid voice say "1SG" like three or four times and I finally turned around and saw a young female PV2 standing there and she proceeded to inform me that I had two U.S. Army name tapes on. Talked about embarrassed but I thanked her for squaring me away and I walked out of the shoppette and got my name tapes sewn on that day.
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SGT Intelligence Analyst
SGT (Join to see)
2 y
Reminds me of earlier this year when I accidentally packed a sanitized ACU top when we had to take a 0300 bus to Camp Casey for a schools APFT and wait all day for the CSM brief. Most embarrassed I've ever been when I was walking around with no patches on for like an hour, before a random SSG approached me and asked where my flag and stuff were, in the PX. I had to grab a taxi to the nearest clothing and sales and wait outside for an hour until they opened to buy a replacement set.

Ugh. I'm the guy who always corrects uniform deficiencies, too. Never again.
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SSG Motor Transport Operator
SSG (Join to see)
2 y
Don't be too harsh on yourselves, even Chuck Norris round house kicks be off sometimes too, but it happens to the best sometime.
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SGT Randall Smith
SGT Randall Smith
>1 y
Once upon a time, a young 2LT locked my heels and proceeded to act like he knew how to chew butt. He did look good, new starched fatigues, shined boots and belt buckle, really looking sharp. I said good morning Sir and did not salute him nor did the sp4's with me. He would not let me explain just, " Sgt. come to attention while I'm talking".
On Tues. we had taken a convoy to Can To then to Bac Lieu. Spent the night then next day to Rach Jaw then Cam Mu . When we got back to Soc Trang on Capt. Mac told me we were going to Can Tho the next morning and sack out. We cleaned our weapons, took cold showers and went to bed. 6am the next morning we pulled out. We did not look good. Capt Mac walked up while I was getting chewed out and the Lt whipped a beautiful salute to him. He had never been told about saluting. This was April 1968 in the Delta.
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MSgt Steven Harris
MSgt Steven Harris
22 d
You hit the nail on the head! Even with all of years of experience in the military anyone can forget their place and the rules and make mistakes. I once had to attend a military awards function in Air Force Blues and one of my medals was missing or out of place. I had spoken to many people prior to the dinner, nobody said anything then another E-6 who knew me pointed out my error in front of First Sgt and Captain in my unit. What could I say, but thanks I'll get it fixed next day! I was embarrassed but had to live with it! I thought the action was unprofessional and could have been done in private. I had just gotten back from a long deployment and rushed getting my ribbons ready. No excuse just fact in this case. It happens and life goes on for us! I learned to more tactful in those situations with others after that! I understand the importance of uniform code but and personal appearance but I have seen people go overboard on it too many times! Later I realized I needed to pay more attention to the little details to be that shining example for my troops and then I could train them to have the same respect for the myriad of regulations in our profession. Courtesy does work to change attitudes!
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1LT Nicholas D.
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Edited >1 y ago
If you are junior in paygrade, you make a respectful correction. If he (or she) blows you off, you can pass it up your chain to whoever cares. If you are senior, you can make a more demanding address, but should still be courteous and not made with a scene. (Praise in public, punish in private) I have never understood however, why some believe that things like uniform infractions are fair game to dump all other Army regulations. There is always THAT GUY who is springloaded to jump into peoples' faces. Courtesy costs nothing.

Story time...

Taji Iraq, a few years ago, I was in the gym with a few fellow Warrant Officers. While using the bench, a soldier approached us, identified himself as a SFC, and asked if we were NCOs. We replied that we are Warrant Officers. He then asks "how can we let him (pointing to a comrade) get away with that?" We were confused. I asked whether my fellow pilot was demonstrating poor form with his dumbell flys, and the NCO started getting heated over the black socks my CW3 companion was wearing. He wasn't polite or courteous about it. We acknowledged the uniform infraction, thanked the NCO for his attention to detail, and that we'd be making sure he didn't come to the gym again with black socks for the next two weeks until SMA Dailey finalizes the official uniform change. Dropping all custom, courtesy, and respect... the NCO demanded my friend leave the gym immediately and "fix his sh*t." To avoid a scene, my teammate exited stage right and the NCO walked away with a big cocky grin on his face. Was my friend wrong? Yes. Did the "on the spot correction" need to get hostile, in a gym, in a combat zone? I say No. Was the NCO out of line with his "display?" Oh yeah!!!

So, I stewed on it for 10 minutes grinding my teeth through our last set until I decided it was time to make an "on the spot correction" to the "on the spot correction." I meandered back to where NCO Socks was finishing his gluteal stretch and asked him if he knew what AR 600-25 was. He gave me the blank stare and blinked. In a polite and informative tone, I explained to the Senior NCO that AR 600-25 is the regulation where we derive a lot of our customs and courtesies from. When we had identified ourselves as Warrant Officers (and senior Warrants at that), his tone got inappropriate. Just as "out of order" as my friend's socks was the way he addressed our group. I asked him to in the future when administering on the spot corrections, to please "fix his sh*t."

This begs a question. What poses greater damage to good military order and discipline? Deployed Black Hawk pilots with incorrect sock color in the gym or Senior NCOs that can't speak to Senior Officers in a respectful tone?

Everyone hates 2LTs. 2LTs hate 2LTs. But if we believe in good military order and discipline, we don't sacrifice our respect for each other to be uniform martyrs. If a 2LT is wearing headphones in the commissary, you are well within your right to inform the officer of his inappropriate headgear in doors. If he is disrespectful and indignant, then in my humble opinion, his attitude is a bigger infraction than the headset. That's definitely worth addressing. But I have never been impressed by stories of NCOs giving some idiot officer a piece of their mind while tossing courtesy in the garabage can. That's not being a good NCO.
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1LT Nicholas D.
1LT Nicholas D.
2 y
SSG Smith, my story does not refute the inherent importance of the NCO corps to uphold standards. I certainly have no reservation on an appropriate uniform correction. (In the last 18 years of service, I have made plenty myself.) The contribution to the conversation was not intended to waive the officer corps’ participation in Army standards, but to caveat that a timely and appropriate uniform correction does not absolve the “corrector” from good military order and discipline. Black socks in the gym did not nullify my comrades rank and entitlement to a certain level of custom and courtesy. So I am going to agree that the NCO was within his right to make the correction... his approach was just as much of a violation as the sock color. “Two wrongs don’t make a right.”

As far as notifying my commander of MY lack of professionalism, I will politely refer back to my original statement about telling someone who cares. The company standardization pilot’s sock color and the gross negligence of (myself and) his Aviator comrades to cease the flagrant uniform abomination may not have landed high on the commander’s priority list of concerns while running an air assault helicopter company in a combat zone.

The correction is not the issue. The manner in which it was executed was wrong. I made a correction to the approach. As far as running around alarming the command on a single incident of sock shade discrepancy of the improved Physical Fitness Uniform, I typically have more critical uses for my time. But that’s definitely a technique. Perhaps not the preferred method, but a technique...
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SFC Greg Bruorton
SFC Greg Bruorton
>1 y
I've been out of circulation for a long time so I fail to see the importance of sock color inside a gym that is used for bodily exercise. If the soldier was outside and running in a PT uniform with pink or purple socks where others could view him then that might be cause for corrective action, but inside a gym and away from public view?
Frankly, I don't understand the heightened cause to make corrections-on-the spot. Please enlighten me.
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CW3 Stephen Mills
CW3 Stephen Mills
>1 y
Anybody who was worried about what color socks a guy doing PT in a combat zone was wearing was, in my opinion, not doing much of anything outside the wire in said combat zone. I am sorry, if that had been me I would have thanked the NCO for his input; and gotten back to my workout. While I can think of many instances a good state of physical fitness has kept a warrior alive I cant think of a single recorded or unrecorded instance were the color of the soldiers socks has made a difference.

Some on the spot corrections can be addressed immediately; like the wear of a hat indoors for instance. Some need to be corrected as soon as possible; ie: the wearing of safety glasses. Some just need to not be repeated again; ie: wearing the wrong color socks to PT.
I mean seriously, does anyone think if a young private showed up to PT with the wrong color socks on the 1sg would have sent him home to change, basically excusing him from PT for that day. Nope, there would have been a come to Jesus moment with the PVT and his NCO that would have assured the offending violation would not have reoccurred and the unit would have gone on with PT.
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MSgt Steven Harris
MSgt Steven Harris
22 d
Good point sir and sometimes the us and them attitude causes that competition and arrogance and disrespectful "chips on our shoulders". It is the leaders you work with that endorse or stop this attitude and I was blest to work with wise officers above me and also mostly experienced SCNOs who understood how to treat people and when rules compliance were not as important as how we talked to our people! Being both a QA evaluator, black hat for several years, I realized that part of my job was to enforce and point out discrepancies in performance, training and equipment maintenance processes, but also I was ther as an expert to provide solutions that would improve mission success in the field and at home! I could do it with a hammer or with respect as these were my comrades in arms and everyone was doing their best with the experience and skills they had. So I took a new attitude of who, I represented and established a better relationship with my shop chiefs throughout the unit and their bosses than I had with my prior radar shop personnel and let them know I was an inspector who looked for compliance, but also there for them as maintenance support so come to me when you have issues, i have allot of expertise in many subjects and we can work together to find best solutions and improve operations in the future! My Chief of Maintenance insisted all his QA inspectors do the same to break that old perception of US VS THEM! I still try to do that in any situation with people involved! None are perfect no matter how much we try so understanding others is important to to being an asset that help to unite teams instead of dividing them!
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