Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Working around the Pentagon, there are a LOT of silver oak leaves and eagles (i.e. senior officers). You will see a lot of complacency in junior guys blowing them off and not saluting them because there are so many of them everywhere. I try not to blow them off and usually make an effort to show proper military courtesies.

Sometimes you just can't win.

So there I was, standing on the street corner waiting for the DoD shuttle bus. This guy is approaching from down the street on my left. I saw him coming. He had the Army digital camouflage pants on. It was BUTT cold outside. He was wearing one of the old dark camouflage pattern heavy winter jackets and a black knit cap.

No rank insignia on the knit cap like you would normally see on the beret.

No rank insignia on the heavy winter jacket that I could tell. It doesn't help that the Army guys wear a "subdued" (black) insignia for O-5 and O-6 on their camouflage uniforms. At least on the newer digital camouflage uniforms, the black rank insignia stand out a little better. Anyway, I digress. In this case, if he was wearing a rank insignia, then I couldn't see it.

As he approached me, he said good morning. I said good morning in return. Then, as he was passing me, he made a snide comment to me about, "I guess Navy guys don't have to salute anymore."


What can you do?

The dude kept walking down the street, so I just bit my tongue and let it slide.


Navy Blue Cougar said...

When I arrived in Groton to report to my first boat, the boat was at sea. I got put to work guarding a pier. There were two subs moored there. I was given very little instruction in my duties. Essentially, they told me to check the ID of anyone that wasn't in uniform. The first person that I saw trying to come on the pier in civilian clothes was the CO of one of the subs. He gave me a terrible ass-chewing because I didn't recognize him as a Commanding Officer. About 20 minutes later, I was relieved and sent to squadron so that a Master Chief could give me another ass-chewing.

You are right. Sometimes, you just can't win.

blunoz said...

Steve, That's pretty messed up. I've always thought guys who insist upon being saluted are jerks. Too bad the squadron master chief knee-jerked the reaction, too.

JoLee said...

Neon insignia ... tis the only answer.....

Caffienated Cowgirl said...

Oh come on should've told him that you just don't salute Army anymore...and then asked him about last weeks game :)

Nereus said...

Seems that individual is having an insecure case of the "Mondays".

Most O ganger's I knew and were worth their salt don't git their skivies in a knot over a missed bit of Military protocol.

The Army and Marine working uniform is the worst to try and id the rank of the indivial wearing it. Great for the battle field... In the Beltway, not so much..

If he really wanted the chip on his shoulder to count, He should have been sporting his class A uniform so that he could be recognized for the "Big Man On Campus" he thinks he is.

Anonymous said...

well, a) screw that guy. but b) on the camo jackets the rank will be on a small, imperceptible tab right on his chest.

And when you see him in his class "a" make sure you call him a christmas tree. You know, big, green, with too much shiny crap on it. :)

blunoz said...

fast - I hear ya man. The Army uniforms go from one extreme to the other. When I see them dressed up fancy, I have to strain my eyes to sort through all the pins on their uniform and find the rank insignia hidden in there somewhere.

Chap said...

Best response I hear is "Well, I'm looking; what rank are you, sir?"

Yeah, I had a similar problem at the last command; lotta oak leaves out there, and the gold ones look pretty silvery from a distance.

Now I have the opposite problem at a command that's an interservice 'a' school. Lots and lots of new guys with different uniforms, and half the Navy junior enlisted are wearing the new khaki shirt outfit. They have a heck of a time dealing with it. I can understand; Navy E-2s are wearing collar devices and khaki, and chiefs have gold aircrewmen badges. At least in SDBs they can catch the eggs on the hat. It gets worse; the Air Force trains its junior enlisted to call the sergeants 'sir', but forget to so the same for the officer types.

I did, however, get an interesting one last week. I'm walking past some O-3 Army type in the parking lot, say 'good morning' to him, he responds saying 'Morning, chief', and as we pass CPR and open I respond 'Not quite, but good morning'.

Said O-3 gets upset--figured he got blown off, I guess--and starts in with the command voice, rather forcefully.

Until he gets closer in his rant and realizes he's on the wrong end of the "who blew off who" scale. In front of all his troopies.

Poor guy. I disengaged as gently and quickly as possible, since he just learned his lesson with no help from me...but it was rather entertaining!

blunoz said...

Chap - That's quite possibly the best response I've heard yet. Thanks for enlightening me.

The story with the O-3 is pretty darn funny, too. Woops!