Posted on Nov 28, 2014
MSG Sgm A Student
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According to the new Fraternization policy, an NCO of any rank cannot have a personal relationship with anyone of the Jr. Enslited ranks (E4 and below), to include cross-branches. Please help me to understand how it is okay for a Sergeant Major (E9) to date a Sergeant (E5) from seperate Commands or Branches, but a Sergeant (E5) is not allowed to date a Specialist or E4> from seperate Commands or Branches?
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SFC Steven Harvey
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I'll be frank.

The one thing that will make me go ape shit is having an NCO have a relationship with their Soldiers or be one of those high speeds that constantly go party with their Soldiers or other Soldiers in the company. I simply cannot stand it, if it was an option I would Field Grade anyone who got caught and crush them.

That being said, if the Soldier is outside of the unit (even another company within the BN) I'm fine with it. This is in regards to relationships not drinking, I am not going to wish punishment on NCOs who party with Soldiers in other units.

However I find the practice extremely unprofessional.

I will never hang out with Soldiers unless it is a unit event or team building event and even then I will not drink.

If a SPC became an NCO and had a relationship with one of their peers at the time, that NCO needs to be moved out of the company. They can still continue the relationship and that NCO will not be in charge of Soldiers he once hung out with.

It's not always possible but a move needs to be made either to another platoon or another unit.

In regards to the Army and NCOs hanging out with Senior NCOs I've always looked at it like this;

E1-E4
E5-E6
E7-E8
E9
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CSM Charles Hayden
CSM Charles Hayden
>1 y
SPC Stephanie Oanes - Is an up vote appropriate for you mentioning such a dismal situation?
I'se glad to be gone!
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CSM Command Sergeant Major
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SFC Steven Harvey , I agree and disagree with parts of your response. Having served in all the enlisted ranks, I totally understand why this policy was made and it makes sense. I also served in the Army when there was no policy and PFC's were dating MAJ's. (That was not as cool as it sounds). At NO time should it be okay for an NCO to have a relationship with a junior enlisted Soldier. I don't care if they are in different units, CoC's, whatever. If we allow that to happen in the Army, then Soldiers can become to familiar with leaders and they will ALWAYS think it is ok to cross a line with their leaders. I got it, there are people who would always be an exception. However, we are too big an Army to make policy on exceptional people.

I do not see a problem with E5-E9 having a relationship and this is why: 1) A relationship between an E5 and E9 would rarely happen. I really have nothing in common with most E5's other than the fact we are both in the Army. We are usually so separated in age, that this type of relationship wouldn't often been seen. 2) This policy could actually help NCO's stick together like when I was a young NCO. The NCO's I had coming up in the Army stuck together no matter what. They corrected all Soldiers, and if you didn't listen to an NCO that wasn't yours then you had to deal with two NCO's getting on you. I think if NCO's were as close as they use to be, then NCO's would not question this policy.
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SFC Steven Harvey
SFC Steven Harvey
>1 y
CSM (Join to see) -

SGM Cunningham,

I see your point and agree, my take on it was in response to our current situation. If we could get back to that point it would do wonders but right now I'm just trying to take that initial step off with the left foot.

Starting with moving newly promoted NCOs outside the company they were SPCs in. There are pros and cons to leaving them and moving them and I'm willing to have that conversation.
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CSM Command Sergeant Major
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>1 y
That is easy to say when you are in a place as a high density MOS. But as we both know, there are places where you can be low density which makes movement nearly impossible. What we need to get back to is teaching our junior NCO's and Soldiers that there is a line. What made me successful when I was a young NCO is that I could hold myself to that line. The day I pinned SGT, I could no longer be friends with my buddies from the day before. I accepted it, but they were the ones that had the hard time initially. I went from SPC to SSG in the same unit/platoon. While it was not easy for me somedays, my senior NCO's helped me and trained me on how to not be friends with your Soldiers. We all stuck together as NCO's in that unit because we only had each other. If senior NCO's brought in the junior NCO's similar to the way I was brought into the fold, we would not even have these issues.
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SGT Kristin Wiley
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I would really like to know what was going on in the minds of the individuals that formed this policy. To my knowledge there are minimal restrictions between officers dating one another, so why do we need to limit enlisted dating one another? As long as this personal relationship involved individuals with completely different units/chains of command/services, I see no issue with them dating. I don't see any reason why an E4 shouldn't be allowed to date an E5 from a different command. If we are trying to influence junior service members to leave the service during the personnel drawdown these new policies are doing one hell of a job. I foresee the Armed Forces having too many chiefs and not enough indians in the coming years.

On a professional development level, when these ranks are from different services, which service policy applies? I can't date an E4 in the Marines, but an E4 in the Marines can date me? Look out folks, you may soon have to know all the other service's fraternization policies or risk the consequences. Let's just start IDing everyone we want to date now...
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SGT Kristin Wiley
SGT Kristin Wiley
7 y
Completely agree. The similarities between E1-E6 are more likely to be greater than the other ranks. Especially factoring in the amount of time it takes to be promoted in the lower ranks compared those higher.
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CSM Command Sergeant Major
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>1 y
SGT Kristin Wiley , I even ID people that I talk to in civilian clothes no matter what age they look. You can't be too careful these days. With that said, when I was a young NCO I would have never considered compromising myself as a leader by having a relationship with a junior Soldier. I have always been a leader 24/7 and that is what is lacking in the NCO Corps today. NCO's think this is a 9/5 job.
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1SG Claims Assistant
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Ah, rules. They don't have to make sense to all of us. I think the Army is trying to clarify its caste system. I can't say I disagree.

Prior to this policy change, my personal rule was "two grades", so long as the individuals were not in each others CoC. If you were two grades or more different, we would have a talk about the behavior, the fact that it is visible enough to come to my attention, the value of discretion, and the pitfalls of dating within a unit. If they failed to adhere to that counsel, one or both of them will transfer from my unit. If the problem was particularly egregious, I would recommend that the senior Soldier involved be relieved of the burden of being two grades higher via reduction, and then sent packing.

Fraternization is just about the most destructive thing to order and discipline you can have, and needs to be dealt with decisively.
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SSG Peter Muse
SSG Peter Muse
7 y
1SG Healy; nice to hear some of the "my generation" practices took resonated with some great NCO's like you in this Generation. We had similar policy issues and there were equally unclear back then and the very philosophy you present was our best conventional wisdom. Kudos Top!
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1SG Claims Assistant
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7 y
Thank you SSG Peter Muse. That was a very nice compliment.
Here and I thought I was avant garde.
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SPC Student
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>1 y
I joined a decade too late. (The way people behave these days makes me shake my head.)
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CSM Command Sergeant Major
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And this is why the policy was made. There are too many leaders out there with "Personal Rules"
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