Sunday, April 15, 2012

This is NOT my army: extreme political correctness about to hit US Army appearance standards

LR GUEST EDITORIAL

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.

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 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 . . . ."

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.

15 comments:

jgeleff said...

If this is about projecting a professional appearance, what's the problem? Army and private sector are two different things, but I've had people come looking for a job with tattoos up one arm and down the other, and before they even sit down I tell them, "I'm sorry, I'm not hiring you. The tattoos on your arms prove you're incapable of making smart decisions for yourself, why would I think you could make smart decisions for me? I wish you well."
Side two is, not allowing tats and earrings would actually be anti-political correctness. The PC crowd is all about "do what you want, man, it's OK, dude". (They say "man" & "dude" a lot) So I'm not getting the point here.

The Right Guy said...

Tattoos have become much more culturally acceptable since I was young. I have five, but none below the elbow and you'd never know unless I wore a short sleeve shirt. If you have customer facing people, I can understand, but it is someone that doesn't face the public, it doesn't matter. The funny thing is piercings bother me more than tattoos. Hardware looks ridiculous. :)

Steve Newton said...

jgeleff--the only thing you said that I agree with are that Army and private sector are two different things.

Your opinion that tatoos prove you're incapable of making smart decisions for yourself is exactly that . . . your opinion and not a basis for policy.

Care to cite any data--ANY--that suggests that tattoos make someone a less efficient soldier?

And I note you skip directly to the tattoos and went right by the prohibition on being unshaven--even on leave--or the idiotic "not eating, drinking, cell phoning, or smoking" while . . . walking.

Pretty much what you've proven is that you have absolutely no idea about military culture.

Ran / SVP said...

"Pretty much what you've proven is that you have absolutely no idea about military culture."

Steve... Jerry G. is filling the role once performed by a muslim chap called "Lofo." He's moved on, but Jerry is here to give us all a larf.

Eric Dondero said...

Readers:

Please note Steve Newton is a daily reader of Libertarian Republican. We welcome his submission. And hope there's more to come.

Eric - The Management

P.S. Jerry, ironically, Steve's politics are nearly identical to yours. Generally non-interventionist Ron Paulist libertarian, but with a twist. He does acknowledge the threat of Islamism. You two are exact twins!

Chuck said...

"Jerry, ironically, Steve's politics are nearly identical to yours"

You mean he's a fuckwit troll working to get the worst president in history reelected?

jgeleff said...

Steve, I'll agree that I know nothing about military culture. I DO know about human nature though, and the person who will so radically alter their appearance is not using good judgment any more than the person who has radical plastic surgery done to change their appearance, barring horrible disfiguring accidents. Therefore, I would not hire them for fear of that poor judgment affecting my business. Am I not justified in this? Or would you support a federal law to make it mandatory that I not "discriminate" against these people?
On the other hand, I agree with you on the off duty activities. I don't think the army can tell them what to do in off time. But while they're in uniform? 100% tell them whatever they want them to do. Don't want them smoking while in uniform? No smoking. That's it. You don't like it? Leave. But leave under the rules that exist, which would require some type of dishonorable discharge I guess. I've always heard that when you join, your ass belongs to the military. This is only an extension of it. When i worked at UPS they had appearance standards. No beard, and a mustache could only be to the corners of the mouth. Hair had to be off the collar in the back, and no lower than the top of your ears on the sides. I had to be clean shaven every day, showered, shoes shined, teeth brushed, and wear a clean uniform every day. If I didn't follow these rules, the machinery was put in motion to have me fired for failure to follow policy.
Is it all that different?

KN@PPSTER said...

So male soldiers can wear false eyelashes or nail polish when in utilities?

Steve Newton said...

Is it all that different?

Yeah, nobody at UPS was asking you to go to Kandahar and risk getting your ass shot off, or planning to have you make split-second decisions on a daily basis that would determine who lives or who dies.

Doesn't it occur to you that one has to have some mental quirks to accept that as a career?

I don't give a rat's ass who the person in the fighting position next to me is fucking, what his political party affiliation is, how many tats he's got, or whether he got his belly button pierced.

What I care about is can he shoot and will he run off and leave my ass.

I also care about the fact that patriotism and the responsibility to defend the goddamn country is not restricted to people who'd make it in the business world.

99% of your ass belongs to the military when you join.

Not satisfied, Sergeant Moron of the Army Chandler is asking for not just the ther 1%, but a large chunk of your personality as well.

jgeleff said...

But Steve, if you sign up willingly, you're buying into whatever they're selling. You're not drafted. You've given consent, in the same way that I did when I accepted that job.
I don't understand military culture, but I DO understand the need for discipline. If these are the orders, then these are the orders.

Steve Newton said...

I DO understand the need for discipline. If these are the orders, then these are the orders.

Active duty military folks cannot, under UCMJ, make the kinds of comments they would like to regarding this change. They can be prosecuted for disagreeing with the decision.

They depend heavily on former soldiers and retirees to be their voice.

If given the orders, people will obey.

What you do not seem to grasp is

--that this doesn't change the fact that they are stupid orders

--that this will create a bigger retention problems that continuous deployments and/or gays in the military

--that this will impact combat performance by costing us actual, real veteran soldiers

--and that your ass will become less safe when that happens

So I will continue to speak out on this issue, not because you will never get it, but because some vets in Congress just might, and because that's what my brothers and sisters need right now.

Chuck said...

Jigglejeff is a piece of shit leftist who hates America. He despises the military as all leftists do. Just like his filthy lord and savior Brakabama does.

The Right Guy said...

"If given the orders, people will obey."

That is not an absolute, trust me.

jgeleff said...

No Chuck, YOU are the leftist. I don't despise the military, nor do I hate this country. But it makes stupid shits like you feel better to paint people with that, doesn't it, pea brain?

Chuck said...

You've proven what you are, you dumbass. You come here daily in an effort to get a filthy fucking Communist reelected apparently because of what color you think he is.

The game is over, son. You've already lost. Nothing you write matters, because no one here has any reason to take anything you write seriously. When you prove you're a liar, you're done.

You're done.