I have been assigned to seven divisions. Regulations and standards were very clear and there was very little room for leaders to misinterpret them. Leaders should try to enforce all rules and regulations, whether they favor the policy or not.
I have been assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division since July 2006. One morning I was going to physical training and it was raining pretty hard. Two paratroops were road guards and not wearing wet-weather gear. I asked the obvious question, and their response was, "Our NCOs said we don’t wear wet-weather gear in this division."
I searched the 82nd Airborne Division Pamphlet 600-2, I could not find anything to support this policy. There are several "myth" policies that are continuously being enforced and not covered in the pamphlet. Examples: The only authorized combat patch worn will be the 82nd, no mustaches, badges earned outside the division will not be worn.
These "myth" policies are being enforced by leaders who have been in this division so long they are starting to believe they own stock in this division.
Justification for enforcing these myths is "you can add, but you can’t take away." I have seen leaders use this statement to manipulate a regulation they did not agree with and enforce their misguided perception of what is right. This type of manipulation undermines Army regulations and creates a division in standards Army-wide.
The regulation states soldiers can, and leadership says soldiers cannot. This is not raising the standard. Leaders are using their position to inflict their perceptions [on others].
Regulations and policies have always been there for leaders to enforce. Sticking to enforcing written regulations and policies will close the gap on the division of long-standing traditional standards Army-wide.
Staff Sgt. Steven D. HillForward Operating Base Loyalty, Iraq