At dinner one evening a couple of weeks ago I was sitting with several of my favorite NCOs and having a grand time laughing at their stories. That night we'd been talking about an experience one of them had had a couple of days earlier, in which he'd noticed a Service Member walking around wearing his PT uniform, but with his shirt not tucked in to his PT pants.
That's a big NO GO around here.
As NCOs enforce the uniform regulations, SSG M called out to the man as he was headed up the stairs to the dining facility (DFAC). "Tuck in your shirt, Soldier!"
The Soldier turned around, quite obviously affronted, and replied, "Don't you know who I am, *Sergeant*?" It just so happens that the man was a field-grade officer.
"Oh, sorry, Sir. I didn't know it was you. Tuck in your shirt, *Sir*."
One of the other Soldiers then said, "I've got an even better one. One of the Joes was walking around in his PTs with his shirt untucked, so that it could be seen under his PT jacket, AND he was walking with his hands in the jacket pocket."
Hands-in-pockets-while-walking is another NO GO around here.
"I told him to tuck in his shirt, and take his hands out of his pockets, and he just kept walking. So I jogged over to him, and had him stand at ease (which he should have done anyway, when I spoke to him the first time). He started to cop an attitude about my on-the-spot correction, so I raised my voice and told him, 'Look. You'd better make an effort not to [mess] with me today, Soldier!'"
I guess that Soldier's eyes got really wide and then he hurried off, tucking his shirt in as he went.
The Battalion Commander came over with his dinner tray and squeezed in at our table. Evidently he'd seen (and heard) us laughing as he was getting his food, and he wanted in on the fun. So my Soldiers launched into their uniform stories with him, and we all laughed again.
As fate would have it, just then another Battalion Commander came into the DFAC, wearing his PT uniform, and his shirt was untucked. Our BC had a lot of fun pointing this out to him.
But as fate would further have it, when our BC went over to get some dessert, one of the NCOs started to snicker and poke the Soldiers on each side of him, pointing toward the dessert station.
I just happened to have my camera with me....
Blessings and peace to one and all,
Fr. Tim, SJ