Posted on Dec 31, 2020
SPC Human Resources Specialist
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I am going back to basic training as an E-4, after a few years out of the service. I am Airborne and Air Assault qualified...should I wear (if it's allowed of course) my patches...or should I just try to keep a low profile? What would you do?
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Lt Col Security Forces
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Edited 2 mo ago
I have sort of been there a couple of times. You are probably already going to stand out because I'm assuming your head will not be firmly planted up your fourth point of contact. Wearing the badges will probably just draw more attention than you really want second time around. Just be a sharp soldier and lead from the middle (until they figure it out and actually make you lead).
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CPT Staff Officer
CPT (Join to see)
2 mo
SPC (Join to see) -

Are you going to Basic as a CPL, or are you going as a SPC?

I agree with the Lt Col, but on the same token, you will have Drill SGT's without any deployments and the only thing on their uniform is their Drill Badge and Rank. I would be that guy to wear my deployment patch and Airborne and Air Assault badges (which I don't have BTW). You earned them, they are yours like you earned your E4.

If you are going back as a CPL, well that does it then. You'll already have the cross hairs on you as your ASU will have the gold stripe on the slacks. You also would technically have NCO authority and could half right face your fellow recruits.

If you are trying to "hide" and you are still going in as CPL but wear SPC the Drills will know for a fact what is what when they hand the new CAC's out and yours says CPL, and not SPC.

Plus, be sure to get your gold stripe on your issued ASU pants as your original issue. Don't pay for that later.

If you are going in as a CPL I say "go all in". If you are going in as a SPC you can at least still hide if you want.
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SPC Human Resources Specialist
SPC (Join to see)
2 mo
CPT (Join to see) Very good advice Sir! I am going in as a specialist. I just made a mistake when I opened this account. Thank you!
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SGM Tom Gills
SGM Tom Gills
23 d
Okay, so served as a Basic Training DS and a DS at the Drill Sergeant School (and retired as a SGM after 30 years active duty). So "Trust me, I worked for the government and am here to help." (smile) I will tell you that you will have an opportunity at Reception BN and at your first unit to very quickly to let the DS know of your prior service...and you should! I would not wear the badges or patches...even though you earned them (don't want to be called a "spotlight ranger"). I would, however, volunteer to them that I am prior service and just want to get through and ensure I help the Platoon anyway I can. Trust me, they will work your butt off, because they know you can be a Huge help to them. Will very likely make you Platoon Guide (as they should), since you have the skills and experience to help the team be most successful. However, if you try and hide it, you will either have to lie about why you have SPC rank or come clean at some point...and that would probably not go well. Always better to just be direct, upfront, and then "get after it" in terms of helping the team (Deeds not words will win the day for you). The cream rises to the top and am sure you will be very happy as a result of just coming clean...and maybe right before graduation, ask if it is okay to wear your badges at graduation (because family is going to see it, etc.). Best of luck and thank you for continuing to serve...and having the "stones" to ask this hard question ahead of time...Hooah!!
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SSG Bill McCoy
SSG Bill McCoy
12 d
I went in to the Army as a PFC and since I was prior Navy, had to do Army BCT; despite a tour as a USMC Infantry Hospital Corpsman (Medic). The Drill Sergeants already knew that I and another prior Army guy (PV2) who was out for six years were prior service; but also a Nam Veteran (Big Red 1). We didn't have to tell him we were prior service. That was in '71 and they really didn't want "old salts" (Nam Vets) amongst the new recruits. We were actually sent home - had to call our DS every Sunday at 1800 & 1830 respectively. He'd tell us when to come in for the mandatory stuff like, PT Test, Rifle Qualification/Grenade throw, Puggle Stick and Graduation. That probably won't happen these days though.
I'd wait to put the badges and combat unit patch on UNTIL you ask the DS what their preference is. My guess is they'll tell you to wear them but be prepared to take a Recruit Leadership position either way.
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SFC Instructor
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My recommendation- wear them proudly and provide new Soldiers an opportunity to ask you questions about them. For these new Soldiers, you will be the first Soldier they regularly interact with that isn't a Drill Sergeant and they will be little sponges. Wearing them with pride will give you an opportunity to share your experiences with them and an opportunity for them to learn from you and your Army experience.

Best of luck in Basic Training!
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SP5 Bp Pal
SP5 Bp Pal
2 d
I agree. Why would you not wear what you earned. Take pride in what you have done.
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SP5 Retired
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SPC (Join to see) Wearing the badges you have earned is your right, and it will likely draw attention from cadre who may not have achieved the same.
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SPC Human Resources Specialist
SPC (Join to see)
2 mo
Thank you!
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