In uniform off duty(rant)

This is a discussion on In uniform off duty(rant) within the Law Enforcement, Military & Homeland Security Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; i just have to get this out of my system. every time i go to the nearby wall-mart, mall, or any other off post business ...

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Thread: In uniform off duty(rant)

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    Senior Member Array bobcat35's Avatar
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    In uniform off duty(rant)

    i just have to get this out of my system. every time i go to the nearby wall-mart, mall, or any other off post business i see at least 4 soldiers in uniform wandering around. sure its understandable to run some errands right after work or on your lunch break but for crying out loud at 20:00!! what do these idiots think they're doing. and whats worse i can't even go into an airport bar and not find some soldier getting drunk in uniform. I'm sick of these people making me and every other soldier out there doing the right thing look bad. sure i make it a point to correct them and have often told someone to go change if they are going to get drunk but they're everywhere. haven't these people heard of a thing called opsec? i know I'm probably preaching to the choir but its really getting my goat.

    disclaimer: if you are one of the people that do this please realize that it is a violation of uniform standards and i will not apologies if you are offended by that.
    "Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result."
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    Every well-bred petty crook knows: the small concealable weapons always go to the far left of the place setting.
    -Inara, firefly

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    VIP Member Array SIGguy229's Avatar
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    It isn't OPSEC as much as it is poor military discipline and military bearing (there's more, but I just woke up)

    I recommend next time you see them, get a couple of names and call the local base public affairs office and/or provost marshal's office.
    Magazine <> clip - know the difference

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    It might not be OPSEC per se, but it's DUMB-SEC. "Hi, I'm a symbol of American military power out walking around in a public place, often unarmed by commander's decree, and an incredibly soft target. Please kill me in the most dramatic fashion possible, to further your political agenda. Thanks!"

    AND it's almost always against post policy...
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

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    Senior Member Array Paladin132's Avatar
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    I have understood that things have changed sense I was in. During my first two enlistments you couldn't be caught anywhere in uniform other than to buy a very small amount of carry you over type things on the way home. You didn't dare show yourself in a mall in uniform - not in a combat BDU uniform that is. Class As were acceptable - and no one did it because no one wants to wear them lol...

    My take on it is that most of those kids are probably National Guard or Reservists. They are what we see around here, as there aren't any active component folks here.

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    VIP Member Array David in FL's Avatar
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    In the Marines, cammies (BDU's) were never authorized for leave, liberty, or travel.

    Sadly, that doesn't appear to be the case anymore.

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    Ex Member Array azchevy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobcat35 View Post
    i just have to get this out of my system. every time i go to the nearby wallmart, mall, or any other off post buisiness i see at least 4 soldiers in uniform wandering around. sure its understandable to run some errands right after work or on your lunch break but for crying out loud at 20:00!! what do these idiots think they're doing. and whats worse i can't even go into an airport bar and not find some soldier getting drunk in uniform. im sick of these people makeing me and everyother soldier out there doing the right thing look bad. sure i make it a point to correct them and have often told someone to go change if they are going to get drunk but they're everywhere. haven't these people heard of a thing called opsec? i know im probbly preaching to the choir but its realy getting my goat.

    disclaimer: if you are one of the people that do this please realise that it is a violation of uniform standards and i will not appologise if you are offended by that.
    The military is 24 hours How do you know they are not on lunch break or just got off shift?

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    It doesn't matter if you're on lunch break of just got off shift. Most posts (and it is a post commander's decision) proscribe the wearing of the 'duty' uniform off-post. Often, there are exceptions for a run into the 7-11 for milk, the gas station, the drive through, etc., but the mall and Wal-Mart type places are a no-go. And that ignores the more important reason entirely - you are identifying yourself as a high psychological payoff target. So, even if it isn't banned by the CG, it's still dumb.
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

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    VIP Member Array Kerbouchard's Avatar
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    There are many training commands and bases where you are not granted civilian attire privelages. I spent almost my first year in the Navy w/out any civilian attire other than work out clothes. It is not against any policy whatsoever to wear an approved uniform during leisure activities. I was 18 at the time, so I never went to a bar, but wearing a uniform would not preclude it. That being said, yes, while you are in uniform(and out of uniform) you are representing your service and your country and as such should be responsible(and you're required to be by the UCMJ). As you said you are in the service, I find it hard to believe that you can't recognize the 'type' or the 'look' of a serviceman. That is why we are held to higher standards. It doesn't take a uniform to distinguish a soldier from a civilian. It stands out.

    Hopefully, I'm wrong, but you sound like some of the serviceman I have met that are ashamed of their uniform. The type that keep their hair out of regs so that they can blend in, don't shave on the weekend, wear earings, and do everything that they can to avoid looking 'military'. Anyway, those were the only people I ever heard 'ranting' about people being in Walmart or Grocery shopping in uniform.

    Like I said, hope I have you mistaken. And I agree, getting drunk in bars in uniform is far from appropriate and should be brought up with the base command. A call to shore patrol or the MP's or whatever you guys have there would probably take care of those situations real quick.
    There are two sides to every issue: one side is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil.

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    Distinguished Member Array bandit383's Avatar
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    Well...I have to disagree. I could spot a soldier a mile away...with or without a uniform...especially near an Army post and any base for that matter. A secret, Opsec...I think not. Who ya foolin?

    More importantly, do we ask the cop, the nurse, the fireman, etc. take off their uniforms? How about traveling...DOD pushes travel in uniform...BDUs for that matter (just go to the airport or watch the commercial). I recently saw a 2 star in BDUs on an aircraft.

    Personally, I think it shows pride in the service to one's country. And soldiers have much to be proud about. Back in VN days...you couldn't find a soldier in uniform off post....not because of regulations...but out of the public's treatment of the soldiers. Now, soldiers in uniform get first class....as it should be.

    Rick

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    When were you in, BerneyG? The only time I was without civvies was Basic/AIT and Ranger School, and there was no 'liesure' time to be had during either event. You had one day off in between Basic and AIT (Family Day), and were sent out in your Class As or Bs. Of course, we all ditched those ASAP, but you still couldn't go out in BDUs.

    At all the posts I was assigned to since the early 1990s (Benning, Lewis, Polk, Bragg) it was a violation of post policy to do any 'real' business off post in a duty (BDUs, flight suits, mechanics coveralls, etc) or physical fitness uniform. You could always wear a dress uniform if you chose, but not BDUs or PTs. From talking to many, many other folks, I found this to be pretty much the standard throughout the Army. Things may have changed - I last served on an active duty post in 2004 - but thems were The Rules.

    And no, I'm not ashamed of the uniform, I wore a high and tight throughout my AD time, I don't have ear rings (though I didn't often shave on the weekends...) I just believe that the duty uniform is for duty and the PT uniform is for PT. How hard is it to throw on a pair of jeans before you go to Wally World?

    Bandit - you're right to some extent. Most of us ex- and current military could probably pick out the Joes in the crown, for the most part. But that doesn't apply to most civvies who have no experience with military folks.

    And a cop/nurse/fireman isn't the same. For one thing, they wear their uniforms and have full interaction with the public every single day - most military members work on military bases, and do not have nearly the same level of interaction. Plus, while a cop may be a target while in uniform, he'll also (presumably) have a gun while in uniform. And Suzy the Firefighter or Bill the Nurse does not represent American Military Power like a uniformed member of the armed forces does...

    Travel - you're correct, travel to and from theater is often in uniform. Often, that's because you don't have civvies available and/or you have been traveling with a unit. Even then, it was strongly recommended that we change out of uniform as soon as we could.

    All that being said - immediately after 9-11-01 I was called back to active duty to work in the NY/NJ metro area. We were encouraged to wear our uniforms all the time, to be a visible symbol to the "people" that we were there, and on the job. I can understand the benefits of it in some situations. In general, though, the duty uniforms are meant for DUTY - they aren't meant to be highly starched and spit shined. If you are out in public in uniform, wear one that is designed to look good, not to function in the field....
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

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    Member Array Old Sarge's Avatar
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    Along the same lines, I retired from the military over 35 years ago, and I can still pick out of a crowd, active or retired military personnel. We just march to a different drummer, it seems, and it shows the rest of your life. As a previous poster stated, we are held to a higher standard.

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    Senior Member Array bobcat35's Avatar
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    one of the guys on my fist had an interesting approach. walk up to these people and go right down the spot check list for things you must have on your person any time your in that particular uniform. i wonder how many of them have their dog tags, bluebook, pens, notepad, and earplugs with them.

    oh and of course the standard 50 pushups for each item missing or in the wrong spot.
    Last edited by bobcat35; January 9th, 2008 at 11:22 AM. Reason: abominable spelling
    "Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result."
    -Winston Churchill
    Every well-bred petty crook knows: the small concealable weapons always go to the far left of the place setting.
    -Inara, firefly

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    I travel a lot and have seen both. Sat next to a Lance Corporal in dress blues and once had a general behind me in utilities. I have seen plenty of military in various uniforms while traveling. I also tend to work on military bases a fair bit. One morning at near Ft Bragg the IHOP was jammed with troops in PT uniforms having breakfast before the commanders run. So who knows. I don't pay much attention to it really. The only place I've seen it made a serious issue is overseas. Some places won't let them out of the gate in any uniform, civvies only.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BerneyG View Post
    And I agree, getting drunk in bars in uniform is far from appropriate and should be brought up with the base command. A call to shore patrol or the MP's or whatever you guys have there would probably take care of those situations real quick.

    I don't know what branch of service you are referring to on this thread, but I disagree with almost every one here.
    First thing is that uniforms off base are up to the base commander, so if somebody is in uniform at Wally World or any other place maybe that person is not under the same orders as you.
    Second, is that when I was in the Navy we were required to wear our dress uniforms when we traveled commercialy, so to see someone in an airport bar drinking is no big deal. Provided they are not falling down and embarrassing the service.
    Third, is that a service uniform can (and should) be worn with pride here in the US. When we would pull into San Francisco in the 90's for fleet week I would wear my dress uni with pride and head ashore for liberty. I don't recall ever having to pay for my own drinks, and very few meals. The people of SF were proud of the Navy, and happy to have us in town. Maybe you guys need to find a little more pride in your service!

    Still proud,

    TN

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    Exclamation Series of questions here...

    I am curious as to just why does it bother you details please, and not a rant of how it really grinds you to see someone in uniform off base!

    I for one am glad to see them walking around proud of our country and what they do, and I quite often tell them so. They also get Military discounts, no they do not need to be in uniform to get it just show their ID just like the police and firemen do.

    Class A uniforms limit them to what they can do, i.e. they cannot carry anything period, no bags, no milk, nothing.

    Yes they are on 24 hour call and must be able to respond immediately when ever called, granted they cannot CCW or otherwise off base (or on) and are a big target for a BG, but I reiterate I do not find it offensive and am proud to see them walking about.

    When my daughter came home on a short leave for Christmas she was in her class B uniform. She had not had the time to do any shopping yet, so it was a quick hop form the airport to the mall, and 5 hours later a tired dad and his Corporal headed home loaded with stuff for mom and the rest of the family.

    Had you pulled this hissy-fit nonsense with me present, she being a professional would have walked away, but me that is a different story let us just say that I you would have left crying for your Mommy.
    "The sword dose not cause the murder, and the maker of the sword dose not bear sin" Rabbi Solomon ben Isaac 11th century

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