by Steve Newton
If you are active duty, reserve, or prior service, you know the number 670-1, which is the regulation covering wear of the uniform and personal grooming in the US Army.
Now Sergeant Major of the Army Raymond Chandler (who is proving himself to an utter idiot) is leading the charge to modify the Army's appearance standards and make violations not an infraction against regulations, but a violation of the US Code of Military Justice.
(In other words, soldiers could be subject to non-judicial punishment [Article 15], or even court martial for appearance infraction; this is a major MAJOR change.)
Quoth Sergeant Major Chandler: "You joined the Army. It didn't join you."
And here's some of the changes he is currently reviewing:
Soldiers must be clean-shaven, on and off duty--even on leave.The giveaway comes from The Army Times (16 April 2012) (sorry it is not online ungated) story which indirectly quotes the Sergeant Moron of the Army as saying that "this is a concerted effort to project professionalism in the Army uniform and brand . . . ."
Soldiers will no longer be able [I kid you not] to eat, drink, smoke, or talk on a cell phone . . . while walking.
Soldiers will not be allowed to have tatoos above the T-shirt neckline [summer PT uniform]; on the hand; or to have "sleeve tatoos" of any sort [may be grandfathered]. "The appearance of tattoos detracts from a uniformed service," SMA Chandler said. "The uniformed services, we all generally look the same. Now, if you have a tattoo that draws attention to yourself, you have to ask the question, are you a person who is committed to the Army?" What an idiot.
Female soldiers will only be allowed to wear false eyelashes or nail polish with dress uniforms, and will not be allowed to wear fake nails or extensions at all--possibly even off duty or on leave.
Soldiers will face dramatic new restrictions on what clothing they may wear off duty or on leave. "Bathing suits and midriffs are not OK in the post exchange and commissary," SMa Chandler said. "I don't want to see all that."
Male soldiers will never be allowed to wear earrings, or have their ears pierced; no soldiers will be allowed to have any body piercing that is visible at any time (other than women's ears), even when off duty or on leave.
The Army BRAND????
In other words, these changes are not about the health and safety of the troops (cited by 670-1 as the main reason for uniform rules) or even "good order and discipline" (also cited by 670-1), which are supposed to be the fundamental reasons for the rules.
They are about "projecting" an image and protecting a "brand."
We send young men and women to Iraq and Afghanistan and all sorts of other places in the world, ask them to risk their lives, make split-second decisions, defend our company by killing its enemies . . . .
. . . we have tens of thousands of wounded vets we aren't caring for properly . . .
. . . we have major issues in training and weapons procurement . . .
. . . and the Sergeant Moron of the Army is concerned with the fact that unshaven troops on vacation, troops actually eating while walking, or infantry/armor/engineer/airborne grunts with tatoos will adversely affect the Army "brand"?
I did 21 years in the US Army and retired as an E-8 (Master Sergeant/First Sergeant). In those two decades some of the best goddamn troops I ever knew had massively tattooed bodies, wore false eyelashes, and were even known on occasion to talk on a cell phone while walking . . . .
This is why managerial types like Sergeant Moron of the Army Raymond Chandler should not be allowed to pretend that they are the primary people responsible for "taking care of the troops."
Editor's note - Steve Newton is a longtime activist with the Libertarian Party of Delaware holding many leadership positionns. He recently re-activated the dormant but much acclaimed Delaware Libertarian.