Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sometimes You're the Windshield...

...And sometimes you're the bug.

Straight from AR 670-1:

Authorization to wear a shoulder sleeve insignia indicating former wartime service applies only to soldiers who are assigned to U.S. Army units that meet all the following criteria. Soldiers who were prior members of other Services that participated in operations that would otherwise meet the criteria below are not authorized to wear the SSI–FWTS. Wear is reserved for individuals who were members of U.S. Army units during the operations.

To 99% of the population, this means nothing, but the naked right sleeve on the ACU is an instant credibility hit for the wearer. I came across many different answers to this question via Google searches and looking at Internet forums, but this seems pretty durned straightforward. No one cares whether you rate a Combat Action Ribbon, how many Campaign Medals you have, whether you heard real IEDs with your own two ears, or saw mortars come in with your own two eyes, or heard AK-47s fired in anger -- if you weren't in the Army, you don't rate the patch.

Just remind me not to get too cagey when someone pats me on the head and says, "Don't worry, you'll understand once you see the elephant."

3 comments:

kad barma said...

That's just plain mean. Bureaucrats, as they say, regardless of the bureaucracy they belong to, are bureaucrats. I have to admit that campaign ribbons and other milatary insignia are a foreign language to me, but it's not hard to understand why this rule is wrong. But, like most sandbox disagreements between siblings, I expect it's not likely to get sorted out without involvement from parental (i.e. C-in-C) authority. It's their uniform, after all...

The New Englander said...

Thanks for the support, though the bureaucrat in me says rules are rules so I think I'm already resigned to it. If anything, the bright side is that it'll lower expectations on the front end, and then I can throw the "Yankee Division" patch on the right sleeve the nanosecond the C-17 touches the ground "over there."

Meh..

C R Krieger said...

Given that you get to wear all your ribbons on your Class As, and even Class Bs, this is just an issue when you are in your field uniform and there folks will mostly know who you are anyway and more by your performance than your ribbons.  As I recall, to keep the "army clutter" down, the Air Force authorizes anyone with a CIB (Combat Infantryman's Badge) to box top it for a Bronze Star.

Given the brouhaha that blew up when the Army Chief of Staff switched everyone over to berets, this seems not such a big deal.  As I recall, the Rangers ended up with tan berets and the Green Berets ended up with...

Hang in there and remember it is all about pecking order. And, if you aren't wearing a flight suit with the knife pocket removed,♠ you don't really exist anyway.

Regards  —  Cliff

♠  Signifying a fighter pilot.