Soldiers need pride in their uniform

| February 22, 2013 | 0 Comments


Sgt. Maj. Tara Bryan
516th Signal Brigade,
311th Sig. Command (Theater)

What does back to the basics mean in reference to pride in the uniform?

In the pre-9/11 days — the days of the Battle Dress Uniform with spit-shined boots, pressed uniforms and buttoned pockets — Soldiers took pride in their uniforms.

I recall each Monday morning when unit noncommissioned officers held a uniform inspection. The Soldier with the best uniform was rewarded, making everyone in the formation want to ensure that his or her uniform was squared away.

This recognition fostered Soldiers to want to take pride in their uniforms at all times.

These days, Soldiers really don’t care how they or their uniforms look. On any given day, I’ll find a Soldier whose cargo pockets are open with no attempt at fastening the Velcro, a Soldier whose uniform is two sizes smaller than his or her body frame, or a Soldier whose uniform is so worn that the Velcro is no longer fastening or is falling off the uniform.

Where are those days where pride in uniform was important to each individual?

I understand with the new Army Combat Uniform you no longer press your uniform or spit-shine your boots, but the pride that a Soldier demonstrates for

the uniform he or she wears should always remain. It takes maybe an hour to clean your boots, minutes to look over your uniform and seconds to secure your cargo pockets.

The replacement cost for the ACU is far less than the BDU, so what happened to the pride? Our uniform represents the U.S. Army and the professional Soldier.

Soldiers who look sharp, neat and clean show the pride they have for the organization to which they belong. They portray the pride of Army service to the civilian population.

The uniform is what distinguishes us from the rest of the military services and general population, so why not look the best you possibly can?

I hear some of you saying “I have to work in a motor pool all day, and I stay under a truck.” My question to you is, how do you look before you get to the motor pool? I remember mechanics coming to work with two pairs of boots. They would change into old boots to work on the vehicles and switch back to the good boots when they were done. Even though they worked on vehicles all day, you could never tell by their uniform. That was pride!

Leaders must take the time to instill the pride of the uniform back into their Soldiers, and units of the 516th Signal Brigade are beginning to do just that. Uniform inspections are becoming a norm again within the ranks, and Soldiers are being corrected daily on their appearance.

No longer are leaders walking by Soldiers with uniforms in disarray, but are challenging their Soldiers to show pride in their organization by the way their uniforms look.

Senior leaders are mentoring junior leaders on pride in their uniform, and these junior leaders are doing the same for their Soldiers. We all have to do our part in bringing pride back to the uniform.

Soldiers have to be proud of the uniform they wear and what it represents. Take the time to look sharp, neat and clean. Be that professional Soldier!

(Editor’s note: Bryan is the senior enlisted leader, Operations, at 516th Signal Brigade.)

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