Correct, don’t ‘punk,’ troops
While waiting for the dining facility to open one morning I witnessed what used to be called an on-the-spot correction. Everyone associated with the military in any branch of service knows what I am speaking of. Instead, it seemed more of an "on-the-spot punking out," where the individual trying to correct the deficiency begins to downgrade the unit or base leadership that the one being corrected is a part of.
While serving as a Department of Defense civilian in this theater I have witnessed many things that leave a bad impression of the military I served in not so long ago — mostly by junior enlisted personnel — but on this occasion it was a sergeant first class who was doing the "corrective action." He inquired about the policy on the wear of high-visibility belts during the hours of limited visibility and proper wear of them, and the wear of safety glasses. He said the policy must not be in effect here and referred the soldiers to their sergeant major for clarification on the policy.
With his demeanor, candor and obviously his professional conduct on display, not only did he make himself look bad as a senior noncommissioned officer but also treated three other NCOs in an unprofessional manner in front of their subordinates and peers.
Leaders, I ask you to correct this trend. Please bring back the professional and proper on-the-spot correction, done in a way that correctly addresses the issue of correction/clarification and moves on without the "punking" that seems to be the trend now. This is embarrassing to all involved and is uncalled for. What’s worse, soldiers learn from their leaders, and if this is what and how they’re learning, then the leadership needs to re-evaluate how it does business as well.
Kerry BanksContingency Operating Base Speicher, Iraq