Tactful Corrections

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Aglahad, Jul 19, 2013.

  1. Aglahad

    Aglahad Member

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    Now first-off I am not one of those officers that goes seeking salute, all I expect if I cross path with an enlisted man/woman is a salute and greeting of the day. It's the same thing I expect myself to do when I come across a superior officer.

    Lately I have had a string of incidents where blatantly an E-3/4/sometimes 5 (never SNCOs though) will see me and just walk straight passed me with no greeting of the day or salute. Granted, this is a small minority of incidents but I feel if it isn't addressed/corrected it will continue to become an accepted habit.

    Other than saying "PVT, go back and do it again" or "Is your arm broken today?" is there a more tactful way of correction?

    Just to be clear I am not writing this because I think I definitely deserve those salutes now that I have my bar, moreso I find customs and courtesies an integral part of military discipline and wish to seem them upheld.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2013
  2. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    Sure- salute just as if you were responding to their salute and say" Good morning Specialist". They will then either apologize for missing you while saluting or just salute and look sheepish- but either way- there is a salute and they will be a little more aware of the people around them when walking around without you having done anything that will come across as "Lt Fuzz" like (and any LT who used the lines you mentioned as wanting to avoid would definitely come across that way. An E7 could use them and get away with it- a 2LT though would be just sounding silly. )

    Unless you have earned a reputation as a "typical LT Dbag" there is no reason to think that the missed salute is anything other than inadvertant- as rank these days on the ACUs is pretty hard to see until you are really close. On the otherhand, if you have earned that reputation already and you think that they are deliberately slighting you- good luck on a short and frustrated career.

    Your timing is good- today's "Terminal Lance" will give you the perspective from the other side of your question: http://terminallance.com/2013/07/19/terminal-lance-279-those-three-little-words/
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2013
  3. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    I was going to suggest "Pvt. did you forget something?", but I like Bruno's idea better. ANd you're right, it is integral to discipline and good order.
     
  4. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    I was a 1/c cadet on a cutter one time as the CO told us a story. The cutter was at the pier of a Navy base. Typically Navy sailors have amnesia when it comes to saluting Coast Guard officers. Two very "lost" sailors happened upon his quarterdeck and failed to salute the commanding officer. After the CO was don't chewing them a new one, the Command Chief followed up with some chewing of his own.

    It helps to have a senior enlisted around, "Hey shipmate, come over here and tell me why you didn't salute this commander." Chief's mess has a way of getting its point across.
     
  5. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Yea; Bruno's suggestion is definitely the best. That coming from a retired enlisted. The rule may say that the enlisted is suppose to initiate the salute, but there is nothing wrong with you initiating it if you think the other individual is definitely going to miss saluting you. And definitely greet the individual by their rank. This lets them know, that you know, what rank they are.

    But also as Bruno mentioned, don't be a DBag about it. You can tell if an individual is getting ready to salute you or not. Usually eye contact is made a few yards before crossing paths. Give them the opportunity to salute. Wait til the obvious last second. In other words, don't pop a salute when you're stil 30 feet away from each other. That is being a DBag. They may have had every intention of saluting you, but if you snap one too soon, it will appear that you are expecting the entire world to recognize your existance. Like I said; you know when a salute should be coming. Give them every opportunity before you salute them first.

    And Bruno is quite correct that with many uniforms, it's sometimes difficult to make out rank. When I came in, during the 70's, I wore a lot of flight gear and tactical gear. I wore camoflage before BDU/ABU and similar became the norm. Most of my uniform combinations didn't have stripes on the sleeve. All we had was a black patch that was about 3"x4". It had embossed name, rank, specialy badge. If we went to a hot spot, the first thing we did was take the velcro patch off. No one could tell anyone's rank. Looked very similar to many of the pilot's and crew's uniforms. For a 3 year period, I probably got saluted more times than I saluted others. In other words, most enlisted would salute me thinking I was an officer. Many young officers also saluted a lot. Thinks have changed a lot over the last 30 years. But with some enlisted combinations having shoulder or collar rank, it can get a little confusing at times.

    If they don't salute you, salute them. Greet them by rank. They will be a little embarrassed and most likely will be more aware in the future. Can't tell you how many officers I missed a salute on. Including a few generals. Sometimes, things are on your mind.
     
  6. Aglahad

    Aglahad Member

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    Well, these are just random soldiers around base so I don't think reputation is the issue haha and I have not had anyone hint I am a dirtbag LT. Even if I see a less than stellar higher or perhaps someone I don't really respect I still salute the rank anyways and repeat the greeting of the day.

    BTW I love terminal lance


    Thanks gentlemen I will try your suggestions.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2013
  7. AF6872

    AF6872 Member

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    DD liked when she got the silver, Thought that salutes were more respectful.:shake: Railroad tracks next but a long way away.:thumb: Agree that the new uniforms are horrible to distinguish rank.
     
  8. KPEngineer

    KPEngineer Eternal Father ...

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    If any Enlisted thinks that saluting is a Pain in the Arse, try being an Officer. We salute almost everyone, its just a matter of who does it first.

    At about 5 paces out I would attempt to make eye contact and as the distance shrank, the closer my "eye contact" came to a death stare. If they make eye contact at that point they usually get the hint and salute. If not you can always do a little fake and start to raise your arm which sometimes elicits the salute on their part. You have essentially showed them what they are supposed to do without resorting to initiating the salute or snide comments. I actually had this done to me once by an enlisted who faked the salute which got me to salute thinking I was going to return the salute while in the end I saluted him first. He had a big grin on his face and I just offered him a "well played sailor" and went about my way. If they still refuse to make eye contact or salute as we draw even I would offer the greeting as a question, "good morning?". At that point they either finally get it or are a lost cause.

    I found certain services were far more lax in their professional courtesies than others, and would routinely get blown off on one local base. I never took it personally and I never stopped them to correct them. Frankly I knew that it would go in one ear and out the other since it was coming from another service's JO. They are going to catch it far worse by someone likely senior to me and of their own service at some point anyway, that's just the price they pay for not developing good habits all along.
     
  9. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt Member

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    Aglahad: I think there are some very good suggestions in this string.

    As KPEngineer notes, there may be some differences between the services in regards to professional courtesies like this. Frankly, I can't recall any incidents of "failed salutes" on a USMC base or any involving Marines. It probably happened but I honestly can't recall it. I can recall incidents on other service bases involving sister service members - not many, but a few. I would like to say I addressed it, but can't recall that I did. Probably so shocked I didn't react before the situation was over with.

    Salutes are a customary greeting in the service and I think the advice given will help resolve the situation.
     
  10. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    As cadets we used to spread out by about 6-10 steps, as we came up on classes of Chief Warrent Officers. We gave their arms a workout. "Good morning sir."

    Eventually they would just leave their arms up there, until all 15-30 of us walked by saluting.

    You're welcome officers assigned to CGA!
     
  11. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    Just don't make my mistake.

    Years ago I was late to Bolling AFB for a Ceremony, I was racing up the stairs with one of the Guest's of Honor in tow. There was a women in uniform in front of us carrying a box, taking up the entire stairway and moving very slow. I instictivly yelled "Hey get out of the way", she moved to the side and as we passed I noticed the nice gold Admiral stripes. I'm sure the look on my face was priceless, she was a great sport and just told us to get going "You don't want to be late LT" She had a big smile on her face.

    Sometimes you just make dumb mistakes.
     
  12. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt Member

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    I couldn't resist posting this anecdote regarding Chesty Puller, USMC, regarding saluting.

    When he was base commander at Camp Lejeune and was taking an early-morning walk, he came upon a hands-on-hips second lieutenant being saluted over and over by a private. When the lieutenant recognized the general, he snapped to attention and saluted.

    "What's going on here?" Puller inquired.

    "This private," pointed the lieutenant with an accusatory finger, "disobeyed the military manual when he failed to observe my approach within the prescribed number of paces in which he is required to render to me a salute. So I am helping him to remember in the future; I am requiring him to salute me one hundred times before continuing to his destination."

    "Very good. Very instructive," said the general. "How many salutes has he rendered to you so far?"

    "Forty-seven, Sir," or some such number was the reply.

    "Are you aware, Lieutenant, that the manual also requires that every salute rendered by an enlisted man to an officer be returned by that officer? It would appear that you are forty-seven salutes behind. You shall catch up on your end of the obligation before continuing to salute back-and-forth with this private to the count of one hundred."
     
  13. AF6872

    AF6872 Member

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    Chesty was a marines marine and loved his enlisted. Saw a female AF Captain ream out a male Lt one time for opening a door for her without saluting first. He took it as any Gentleman would. Common courtesy and military courtesy should coincide.
     
  14. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    I was the MC (and organizer) for the Coast Guard's wreathlaying ceremony at the Coast Guard Memorial in Arlington National Cemetery. I actually was passed off the project from another officer who had moved on to another division, so most of the planning was complete, and all that we left was my MCing the event. That day the Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security and the Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard were attending.

    Well, we were running a little late and I finally saw the Vice Commandant arrive. I gathered the Honor Guard head and the band head and the Vice Commandant, to run through the plan. Some other guy joined us but we were flying a mile a minute so I didn't think anything of it.

    "When the Deputy Secretary gets here...." I said.

    The Vice Commandant looked at me and the random guy next to her said "Uh, that's me."

    I apologized and he said it was OK, no one knew who he was anyway.




    __________

    And that's the good part of the day. I quickly realized (as in 10 minutes before the start of the ceremony) that we didn't have a wreath (yes, at a wreathlaying). We had the S-2 and VCG walk up and salute the memorial. She wasn't especially happy, but my boss's boss's boss (a rear admiral) didn't realize there was an issue.

    I found out later that night that the flower shop delivered the wreath to the wrong location, and that the VFW had placed our wreath somewhere in the cemetery. The Tomb folks were nice enough to give us one of their back-up wreaths, which I placed and took pictures of. I sent the photos to my admiral, letting her know that the Memorial had a wreath for Veterans Day.

    She forwarded the photos to the vice. I was CCed on my admirals response to the vice commandant. The Vice's original email basically said "let's figure out what happened today." My admiral also called me at home to find out. I explained what happened and she said "Ok, thanks." With the explanation from my admiral, the Vice said "Ok, oh well."

    I was pretty crushed that night going to bed. I wasn't sure how I could have avoided the mess, but it was on me.

    The next morning I got ready to go to work, put on my uniform and headed to the Metro. On the shuttle ride from the Metro to CGHQ I got a buzz on my Treo, alerting me to a new email.

    The email was from the Vice Commandant to me, with my admiral CCed. She said something to the affect of "LTJG LITS, good work yesterday on the wreathlaying ceremony. I know not everything went as planned, but there was nothing you could do to change that and it wasn't your fault. You adapted and put on a ceremony to be proud of. Thank you for your work."

    Man oh man, I felt like crying. It was a complete 180 in how I had been feeling, and to get an email from the second highest officer in your service to say "good job" meant alot to me, especially after feeling so bad.

    And when I got to my cubicle, my coworkers had lined my desk with wreaths.

    I talked to Vice Adm. Crea about that later at the Commandant's Holiday ball.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2013
  15. AF6872

    AF6872 Member

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    Improvise, Adapt and Overcome. LITS You could have been a Marine, or maybe even AF:biggrin:
     
  16. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Oh no, I was in the service that always does more with less.... USCG, even wreathlaying ceremonies without wreaths.
     

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