One day on my way into the Fort Leonard Wood Post Office I ran into a sergeant in the Army Combat Uniform wearing earrings. With out hesitation I proceeded to make an on-the-spot correction; the response I received from the sergeant was that she did not know it was wrong to wear earrings while in ACUs. Once I entered the post office, I saw five other Soldiers and apparently none of them had made the correction.
Later that day, I walked into the Exchange and saw another Soldier in PT uniform. Once again I proceeded to make the on-the-spot correction and received a similar response, the Soldier did not know what was stated in FLW Command Policy #18. The excuse "I did not know" is wearing thin and it is the responsibility of all Soldiers to read and adhere by the current Army Regulation 670-1 and updated FLW Command Policy #18.
So as leaders, are you making on-the-spot corrections or are you looking the other way and setting a new standard? With the recent changes to AR 670-1, there seems to be an increase of Soldiers walking by deficiencies because Soldiers are not confident of the new standards or making on-the-spot corrections. In order to be an effective force we must be aware of what our standards are and how to enforce them.
In accordance with Field Manual 7-22.7 The Noncommissioned Officer Guide -- general military authority exists whether you are on duty or not, in uniform or in civilian attire and regardless of rank, duty position, or location. One of the most effective administrative corrective measures is on-the-spot correction. Use this tool for making the quickest and often most effective corrections to deficiencies in training or standards.
Steps in making on-the-spot corrections are the following;
-- Correct the Soldier.
-- Attack the performance, never the person.
-- Give one correction at a time. Ensure that correction is understood before moving on to the next deficiency.
-- Don't keep bringing it up -- when the correction is over, it is over.
It is important to note the time and day of the incident and report it to their chain of command if additional action is necessary to resolve the issue.
Common standard violations on Fort Leonard Wood include:
-- Wear of unauthorized boots (AR 670-1)
-- Wear of civilian clothes during PT hours (CP #18)
-- Wear of PT uniform in unauthorized locations (CP #18)
-- Talking/texting while walking in uniform (AR 670-1/CP #18)
-- Female hair standards (oversized hair bun) (AR 670-1)
-- Use of tobacco in government facilities (AR 600-63)
-- Wear of the uniform after 1900 off post (CP #18)
-- Wear of the ACU while on official travel thru commercial means (AR 670-1/CP #18)
If you ever find yourself as the Soldier being corrected, it is your responsibility to correct the deficiency immediately without back talking or disrespecting the individual making the correction regardless of rank.
Making an on-the-spot correction should be something all leaders do in order to foster the Army Profession. We must remember that we are collectively responsible for upholding the standards; it is our duty. It is a great morale multiplier to see leaders do the right thing; it is time to assist each other by policing up our own.
If you need help finding a source or regulation call the Fort Leonard Wood Inspector General Office at 596.0486, talk to your chain of command or research through www.apd.army.mil.
(Editor's note: Duarte is the assistant Inspector General for Maneuver Support of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood.)