By Staff Sgt. J. Aaron Breeden
21st Space Wing Public Affairs
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE Colo. — As a service member, we are all required to accept and execute duties, instructions, responsibilities and lawful orders regardless of how minor they may seem.
Yet, these obligations seem to fall by the wayside when it comes to enforcing uniform standards.
Master Sgt. Joseph Beymer, 21st Comptroller Squadron first sergeant, says that regardless of rank, everyone has the right and responsibility to correct uniform violations.
“Everybody’s supposed to correct uniform violations when they see them,” said Beymer. “But it’s a lot easier to just look the other way and pretend you didn’t see it, and then the problem gets out of hand.”
Anyone who has been in the Air Force for longer than five minutes can tell you exactly which Air Force Instruction dictates proper dress and appearance: AFI 36-2903.
Nevertheless, many people still seem to be in the dark about what is and isn’t proper when it comes to wearing any of the Air Force’s uniforms.
“I don’t think all people are intentionally breaking the rules,” said Beymer. “I think a lot of people just don’t know.”
This has most recently been the case with the sage green fleece jacket.
Paragraph 6.1.10 of AFI 36-2903 states the fleece jacket is to be ‘only worn outdoors’ and to be removed while indoors; however, local commanders may authorize indoor wear as mission needs dictate.
While the term ‘local commander’ could be considered vague, the statement, ‘only to be worn outdoors,’ should leave little confusion.
“Some of the regs aren’t the easiest to interpret,” added Beymer. “But, there are certain things that are absolutely not allowed, and (the regulation) says it.”
Additionally, Beymer noted that many people during winter months wear the green knit or fleece watch cap without wearing an outer garment — also a foul.
The best way to correct an Air Force fashion faux pas is using the wingman concept.
“It starts with looking out for your buddy,” said Beymer. “I’m sure they would rather hear it from a friend than someone they don’t know.”
Since people don’t like to be publically humiliated, Beymer said he typically pulls the offender off to the side and enlightens them of their wrong-doing.
While junior members may be intimidated to correct their superiors, Beymer offers some advice.
“There’s a right way and a wrong way to correct people,” said Beymer, recommending tactfully pointing out the uniform infraction in private rather than in front of others. “I’m a firm believer that the manner in which you approach someone is how you will be received. If everyone did a little bit then one person wouldn’t have to do a whole lot.”