Posted on Jul 8, 2016
SrA Rebecca Jaffee
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So last week I was at the chow hall with another girl from my squadron, and we see this SSgt wearing nearly black lipstick across the room. This is very obviously out of regs as makeup is to be conservative and lipstick can not contrast with your skin tone. She was obviously a higher rank than me or the airman I went to chow with, and neither of us said anything even though both of us desperately wanted to. She looked ridiculous. It was so bad that some male airmen at the table next to us noticed it and asked us about the reg. Anyway my question is, is it appropriate to confront a higher rank when they are blatantly disregarding regs?

PS There was a visiting 2 star across the chow hall at the time
PPS Sorry the pictures are so bad. We were far away.
Edited 5 y ago
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CSM Stuart C. O'Black
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Edited 5 y ago
Absolutely, just use tact. Or another way to go about it and just make it into a question. Like "SGT I was told we can not wear lipstick like that. Did the regulations change or something?"
I was jacked up one day with my uniform and about two hours into the day a PFC walked up and said "CSM can I ask you a question in private." He told me what was jacked up on my uniform. I was mad no one else squared me away sooner. So I gave him a coin and asked the Frist Sergeant walking around with me the past hour why no one else had enough nerve to tell me. NCOs should realize they are being looked at as the standard bearers at all times and should expected to get called out if they are jacked up!
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SGT John Graham
SGT John Graham
2 mo
Well said CSM. The PFC must have had faith in your leadership and respect you as a man. It took a level of courage to confront you. Face the facts, if you were a "toxic leader" that PFC could have been in all kinds of hurt. I once told a visiting field grade officer his fly was down. Everybody saw it, knew SOMEBODY should say something, but nobody wanted to risk it. I did it quietly and respectfully; quietly except for my heart pounding.
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SPC Kenneth James
SPC Kenneth James
1 mo
I so much agree with you here in the 80s when I was in I was taught that as long as you respect the rank you can tell your Sgt or even a officer if something is wrong he or she doesn't want to look bad no more than you do they worked hard for those stripes as long as you are not trying to embarrase them or make them look bad just respect them for the sake of solider hood we all belong to the same country so pull aside by yourself who knows she might have been thankful
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SSG Cam Prince
SSG Cam Prince
1 mo
As a SSG in the 1960's, I had to advise a two star that his ribbons were on the wrong side. His aide had screwed it up. I was extremely discrete with my advice.
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SPC Edward Drain
SPC Edward Drain
9 d
According to the Leadership FM, if something is wrong, you do not just have the right to bring it up, you have the OBLIGATION to bring it up. But yes, I do concur regarding tact.
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LTC Joseph Gross
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You have a duty to correct deficiencies whenever you see them. Use tact with superiors. Don't confront in front of others and be respectful, but don't waiver.
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MAJ Ronald Mandell
MAJ Ronald Mandell
8 mo
LCDR Michael Pumilia - Of course, my reply was assuming that I was junior in rank to the SSG as was the case with the person who posed the original question, and you are correct, “attractive” would have been a much better choice of words on my part.
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LCDR Officer In Charge
LCDR (Join to see)
4 mo
Use tact and diplomacy with EVERYONE, not just those who out rank you.
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SFC Instructor/Writer
SFC (Join to see)
1 mo
Uniform corrections are easy, just make sure you know that your correction is actually the regulations so you do not get egg on your face. In the past, I have had a LTC and SGM chew me out over uniform deficiency, and I had to show them the regulations or their own policy that required me or my soldiers to wear rank on our uniforms. The problem they had was that some of my PVT/E-1 rank soldier had a ACU material square patch with vellcro backing on his ACU uniform and they tried to make him take it off. I had to explain and show them the regs that this was not a blank patch, but rank of PVT that he was authorized to wear and if he was not wearing it on his uniform, he was out of order for not wearing his rank!
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SPC Edward Drain
SPC Edward Drain
9 d
Cheers for mentioning this as a duty, and not something that is optional.
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SPC Team Leader
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You should absolutely make an on-the-spot correction. Here's my quick list of do's and dont's:

DO:
-Be respectful. Whether you're correcting a superior or a subordinate, always be polite, professional, and tactful. More often than not, it's typically senior leaders "shaming" soldiers rather than or in addition to correcting them. We've all been corrected before, because we've all been wrong. Be mindful of how it made you feel when someone corrected you privately versus embarrassed you publicly.
-Be right. If you're going to make an on-the-spot correction, have your regulation ready on your smart phone or in your hand. Be aware that sometimes, MILPER messages can sometimes modify or update rules and regulations before they hit the books.
-Be squared away. Don't throw stones in glass houses, so they say. The same goes for making corrections. It doesn't do you any good to point out someone else's deficiencies when you yourself are jacked up.

DON'T:
-Remain silent. If you yourself are not comfortable making the correction, or are unsure of whether or not it's wrong, ask. Ask a superior, a battle buddy, or even ask the individual you're considering correcting. Plenty of people have phrased it here extremely well: simply saying "Excuse me, I was wondering if we were authorized to..." can often initiate a professional dialogue.
-Make a scene. If you're in a public place, ask to speak privately with the individual, or wait for a more private opportunity. Remember, you're trying to make a correction, not embarrass someone.
-Be prideful. If you're mistaken, take your licks and continue mission. I and many others like me have made what we thought was a correction, only to learn we were mistaken. It happens, but it's not the end of the world. At the end of the day, someone learns something.

Ultimately, remember this: you are making a correction to improve the military culture. Enforcing standards improves our organization and keeps it running well. Embarrassing people damages our camaraderie and divides us. Anyone in the military who gives a damn about keeping up standards will thank you for the correction, and anyone who gets angry with you for pointing out a deficiency probably has a problem that goes far deeper than their lipstick color.
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MAJ Ronald Mandell
MAJ Ronald Mandell
>1 y
SSG Gregg Mourizen - I agree with you. It’s a hurtful thing to have to just suck up, and take, but you made the right decision when you bit your lip, and walked away.
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MSgt It Specialist
MSgt (Join to see)
>1 y
My wife and I were having lunch at the Burger King, on Post. I noticed a young lieutenant had her Training Group patch on her right sleeve. As we were leaving, I ambled over to the table where she, and a SSgt. were eating. I politely told her she was 'bass-ackwards' as I was criss-crossing my hands to my shoulders. She looked down and saw her faux-pas and corrected herself, as she thanked me. The SSgt. was laughing out loud, and I looked at him, and asked, "Why didn't you catch it, Sarge? That's our job; keeping The Brass out of trouble..."
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MSG Infantry Senior Sergeant
MSG (Join to see)
>1 y
MAJ Ronald Mandell - Especially when You don't know what to political say anymore, any kind of common language can insult anyone and Its up to the person receiving the complaint to decide if it was wrong.
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PO2 Carl Robinson
PO2 Carl Robinson
1 y
I think being in service and gaining rank should reflect your value. I was a Navy Corpsman and I felt undervalued even though I went above and beyond. I was totally clinical, working in the open heart surgical suite which could be long days. Didn't really care about rank, cared about patient outcomes. I only stayed to the end of my second enlistment because of this. There are many who work, not for rank, but rather for respect and being evaluated fairly for their work, which should be decided in part by the people you work with. There was only one time I was addressed about something, and it completely disregarded all the extra time and attention to duty I put in with call, working on a weekend if needed. I put in for a school as a Cardio/Pulmonary tech which I helped to teach, and was denied three times. They gave it to an OR Tech who never wanted to work in the heart room or with cardiovascular cases. I only saw the Master Chief of the Command once and the detailers once. I left the Navy because of this. I worked in the Civilian world after challenging the National Exam and passing, making $65K per year.
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