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  • Published
  • By by Chief Master Sgt. Eric Molloy
  • 438th Air Expeditionary Wing Command Chief
Will you please roll down the sleeves of your freaking flight suit and un-cuff your ABUs?

It starts with basics. While certainly not rocket science or brain surgery, uniform standards and how you live up to them tell a good deal about who you are as a military member. I have never met an outstanding service member with poor uniform standards. I view that as an oxymoron.

The same can be said for units; I have never seen a high morale, well-disciplined unit with low standards. Maintaining and keeping standards are what separates the men and women from the boys and girls. It is not a matter of meeting or maintaining minimum standards; the idea is you meet ALL of the standards and exceed the ones within your capability. It all starts with the uniform and how you wear it. While 95 percent of active duty personnel start their duty day in uniform, the number that wear the uniform correctly, unfortunately, comes nowhere close to that number.

Uniform standards are the foundation of you, the consummate military professional. If you can't be trusted to wear your uniform correctly, can I trust that your weapon is clean and operational? Did you run your checklist completely and correctly? Do you have all of your required equipment? I cringe when I am forced to work with service members incapable of wearing their uniforms properly.

Short cuts in uniform standards have a natural progression to shortcuts in other things. How can you reasonably say that they are separate? The member cannot wear their uniform properly but they are on top of other standards? Take the lack of maintaining simple uniform standards and apply that to any Air Force Specialty Code; did you wash your hands before you prepared my meal?

High standards are what set the military member on the road to outstanding. I have never seen an Airman, NCO or senior NCO of the year who fails to meet standards. Typically these fine award winners are sharp, dedicated and professional. The slacker usually never gets to that level of recognition. The slacker flounders at the bottom and complains that "Jimmy is just a brown noser, of course they selected him." Let me tell you about Jimmy. He is always on time, always looks sharp, carries a darn fine attitude and I am very proud to serve with him. It saddens me that the slacker is breathing my air and trying to suck the pride out of my unit by their mere presence.

It does not stop with the military member; supervisors must take an interest in how they exceed standards and how their subordinates in turn also exceed standards. Good leaders do not pick and choose what standards they live by and enforce. Do you really expect a subordinate to take you seriously with a "chew" in your mouth at your desk why you berate them for being late?

Maintaining and exceeding standards is the one element which defines the aptitude and capability of the individual. It is a personal choice whether you meet uniform standards or not. No one can force you to fail, maintain or exceed standards; you have to make that determination yourself. It is a conscious decision we make multiple times every day.

What type of Airman, Soldier, Sailor or Marine will you be?