Now is time to enforce standards

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Edwin Bridges
  • 23d Wing Honor Guard
As I was sitting at my desk conducting my daily duties, all I could hear was the roar of jet engines preparing for the air show. A subordinate of mine consistently asked me questions about what was going on, so I told her, "grab your hat and let's go see."

This was a perfect opportunity for us to get out of the office and for me to share my 11 years of Air Force experience with her, so off we went. Previously, I worked as an aircraft armament systems craftsman, commonly known as a weapons loader. My experience on the flight line enabled me to give her a rundown of all the aircraft on the tarmac and feed her curiosity with all the knowledge I had.

As we took a brief stop on our journey, things changed quickly. It went from spending quality time with my Airman to correcting several uniform infractions on Airmen preparing for the air show. Time quickly passed and she said, "Sergeant Bridges, you're correcting everyone." I could not let my fellow Airmen pass by without me saying anything and you shouldn't either.

All Airmen take an oath to obey the orders of those appointed over them. Air Force Instruction 36-2903, "Dress and Personal Appearance of Air Force Personnel" is an order by the Secretary of the Air Force that states all Airmen must adhere to and correct uniform and appearance standards. This means that no one is exempt.

These items are basic things we all learned in basic military training. Even though these standards have evolved over the years, we must be aware of the changes and implement them into our work centers.

I asked myself, how many people saw these individuals before I corrected them. Were these problems uncorrected by supervisors? Did the supervisor or someone in their chain of command ignore the uniform infractions or did they feel the infractions weren't important to correct? Or was the unit's leadership too busy to ensure that their personnel focus on the little things, or do they wait until something big happens?

We must ensure our pockets are buttoned and our uniform is serviceable. We must ensure we are wearing the proper sunglasses and our hair meets the proper length and bulk. We must ensure that our field grade officers and above wear the mandatory service (wheel) cap with any combination of blues. We must ensure our flight suit sleeves are not pushed up, just to name a few. We must do the right thing and review AFI 36-2903 before we make decisions concerning our appearance.

If there is something you think should be changed with the current AFI, address it with your chain of command. If they think it is valid, submit your idea to the Air Force Uniform Board. This is how you affect positive change in our Air Force culture.

I take great pride in wearing my uniform properly, representing every Airman, past and present. I hope that you feel the same way. Join me by ensuring Airmen adhere to standards every day so others will not have to.