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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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
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>1 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)
>1 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
2 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
5 mo
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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CPT Nicholas D.
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Edited 3 mo 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 people's 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 then 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. 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 were that day, so 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 indoors. 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 garbage can. That's not being a good NCO.
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SPC Nathan Smith
SPC Nathan Smith
3 mo
The only people that are worried about something as trivial as black socks in a combat zone are, A. Bored to death, B. An ass, or C. A POG, that wishes they were anything but, or C. All of the above. There is a time and place for correction, but black socks are of little concern. Not having a full combat loadout, or forgetting to set crypto in your radios, those are reasons for an ass chewing down range.
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MGySgt Joseph Magyar
MGySgt Joseph Magyar
2 mo
As a Gunny in Japan I had to inform a young lt that some of reports were incorrect. He was angered and loudly proclaimed that he never makes mistakes. I could not help giving him some advise. Lt you have a lot in common with a man called Jesus. He got hung on a cross, If I were you I would not advertise your perfection.
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SFC Michael Williams
SFC Michael Williams
10 d
Totally agree with you sir, even though that SFC was trying to make an on-the-spot corrections, he KNOWS he should've been professional regardless of your rank, period.
That SFC should have been professional enough to go to the CW3, identified himself and politely informed him of the issues concerning his attire.

But...BEFORE doing so, there are things to consider:

1) Gym rules concerning attires?
2) Were they working out after getting off shift which we just take off our BDU/DCU/ACU
jacket (We've done this lots of time during deployment)
3) Battalion/Brigade policy concerning gym attire?

That Senior NCO should've ACTED like an NCO...
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CPT Nicholas D.
CPT Nicholas D.
9 d
I agree 100%. There was no issue with an NCO doing the “right thing.” It was the method by which the NCO executed that action. “Two wrongs don’t make a right.”
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SSG Environmental Specialist
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Well I can say, when I was in Afghanistan I had a 1LT, good guy did his job, but one day walking back from the DFAC, an CSM stopped him and asked him where is eye protection was, his answer to the CSM was I don't wear it. He kept right on walking, but unfortunately for LT the CSM was accompanied by a LTC, who them came up and asked the LT to "unf**K" himself and apologize to his CSM for not listening when he was making an on the spot adjustment. I am sure there has to be an officer of higher rank that would love to correct that 2LT.
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MAJ Multifunctional Logistician
MAJ (Join to see)
2 y
PFC David Chambers - And this is the thought process that has brought many a Senior NCO or Officer down. Nobody is perfect to include the CSM or Commander.
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SCPO John Schneider
SCPO John Schneider
26 d
When I was serving as an E8, SCPO, it was very rare to actually see a situation as described. Only once did I find it necessary to bring up a suggestion to a JO and he immediately corrected the problem & both of us left with neither having negative feeling about the comments.
If such a situation did occur I would try to find out his or her outfit & have a quiet word with the senior enlisted & perhaps together to the XO.
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SFC Michael Williams
SFC Michael Williams
10 d
Couple of questions:
1) What was the LT demeanor when he responded to the CSM (did he stop and answer in a professional manner to the CSM or just keep walking )?

2) Was it part of the rules and regulations for that location since you're in a combat zone?
and #3...

DID THAT LT NOT RECOGNIZED THE LTC THAT ACCOMPANIED THE CSM???
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SSG Environmental Specialist
SSG (Join to see)
10 d
Cannot say about demeanor, LT was at least 100 yards behind us, (note we usually walked to chow etc), LT told us what happened after we heard the LTC lock him up and we stopped and waited. No the LTC was not with the CSM but was still in the Mess Hall and came out I guess about 30 seconds later. Yes KAF had a standing policy to wear eye protection outside.. Needless to say we had fun at the LT's expense. Note LT was a good guy and usually very professional, I just think he was felling his Oats so to speak.
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