My latest rants…

November 13, 2006

I’ve noticed some serious differences in the caliber of Soldiers being trained as of late. With the new even kinder/gentler Army, our new Soldiers no longer seem to “fear” NCOs. I remember when I was a young Private just out of AIT I feared Sergeants and thought Staff Sergeants were king of the world. Lately I’ve noticed that new Soldiers fresh from AIT don’t even stand at parade rest or even properly address NCOs.  I also realize that this is a short coming of my fellow NCOs who allow these junior Soldiers to get away with this behavior.  I have been all over these new Soldiers, ensuring they are receiving the proper “corrective training”.  My question is has anyone else noticed this behavior, or am I just becoming one of those grumpy/asshole NCOs that I used to hate when I was a Private?


16 Responses to “My latest rants…”

  1. on November 13th, 2006 9:48 pm

    It is a little bit of both, brother. As the world changes, so does the military. It has gotten a bit softer, but you’re (hell, and me for that matter) are becoming the grumpy NCOs we swore we would never be.

  2. Anonymous Soldier on November 14th, 2006 1:30 pm

    I’ve noticed it over the years as well, but I wouldn’t say it’s that we’re becoming “grumpy” NCOs. As we’ve progressed through our careers, we’ve earned our stripes and have begun to expect the respect that is due us from the junior enlisted. They too, will see the error of their ways as they begin wearing stripes.

    I’d call it becoming more mature than grumpy ;)

  3. Cameron Yokley on November 15th, 2006 9:15 pm

    I know i can’t relate myself with real soldiers but I can understand what you guys mean. When i was a Private in my JROTC program I used to hate the top ranked guys because I thought that they were jerks, but now that I am in a leadership position myself I notice that I have started becoming like them. In responce to the topic, we have the same problem. Cadets aren’t giving their supperiors very much respect and I would like to ask how we could correct the problem when dealing with highschool kids.

  4. Anthony on November 16th, 2006 9:33 am


    Not really sure how the JROTC program works and what you are allowed to do to cadets. With my Soldiers I give them corrective training that fits the offense. The most simple answer for me is whenever one of my Soldiers slips up and doesn\’t address myself or someone else properly I make them do push-ups. Usually Soldiers get tired of doing push-ups and will correct themselves. Some Soldiers seem to be more stubborn. For them I like to get a bit more creative. My latest corrective training for \”stubborn\” Soldiers is to improve them mentally. I recently assigned a Soldier to write a three to five page report to include an outline, bibliography and a briefing on proper military bearing and why it is important to the Army. Once he finished the paper he then had to brief me on his paper. Corrective training such as this serves dual purposes, not only is it a pain in the ass, it also teaches the Soldier the military writing style and prepares him for BNCOC and other future military requirements.

  5. Natalie on November 17th, 2006 1:02 am

    I have also learned from a close family member who is in AIT that has brought to my attention that the NCO’s of today are not training them in the harshness they expected. It is said that when they get to their first duty station, they do not know what to expect, bc of this matter. They are not prepared & have been allowed to be free thinking & free spirited. But are told it will not be that way when they get to their duty station. The soldiers are concerned they are going to be majorally insulting & repremanded bc of they were not taught properly. Just as I know the stairway to heaven through OSUT is supposed to be required, but is not being done anymore, in fear there will be soldiers that may not graduate. Which I persona;;y think is wrong! They are going to put these newly soldiers in danger, but others as well around them. So I agree, I am hearing it evrytime I talk w/ the new soldiers & I am not even in the miliary.

  6. Anonymous on November 24th, 2006 5:55 pm

    I’m a SPC in the army right now. I think i was one of the last waves of soldiers before the whole kinder gentler thing got extreme. I think that the army needed to lower standards to meet quotas and this is the way they are doing it.
    Personally i hate standing at parade rest and puckering up just because some asshole NCO thinks he knows what he’s talking about. So i really only do it if i think it will cause me less grief in the long run.
    Bottom line is that if they want to make recruiting and re-enlistment quotas they are gonna have to make the Army suck a lot less, and everybody including the grumpy old NCOs are gonna have to man up and deal with it.

  7. SFC Stowe, R on November 25th, 2006 11:49 pm

    After being the Army for 15 years, going thru all the ranks to SFC, and talking to many NCOs on different blogs and here is my conclusion. Soldiers have not become “soft” nor has the army. It is fact that previous generations will always demand that the following generation is soft and out of touch. The world changes and so do we as leaders. We must. This isn’t your Grandfather’s Army or your Father’s army. That doesn’t make it right or wrong. Many of us join for romantic reasons of tradition and our ideal of “army.” I don’t think the following generations are soft but rather mine, and yours, ideals of what we were looking for in the army has been dashed. Rather our eyes are open to reality instead living in some sort of traditional view of the army.
    Also, respect does not come in the form of a modified position of attention. I respect my father but never stood at parade rest, or called him sir, but rather it shows in the way i listen to his guidance and strive to make him proud of me. IMHO

  8. Former NCO on December 1st, 2006 3:21 pm

    If you have stayed in long enough to be an NCO (I’m guessing lifer) and you are worried about not getting the respect you deserve. I’d say the latter. Some NCOs feel it’s the natural cycle to crap on those of a lesser rank, some are just jerks by nature. Respect must be earned not demanded.


  9. SGT White on December 8th, 2006 7:50 am

    You gotta look at the bigger picture. I see a steady decline in the quality of NCOs. Privates will be privates, and specialists will be specialists. A good NCO will continually give corrective training when it is needed. What I see a lack of lately, is that corrective training. There have always been an abundance of shit-heads who need some extra PT in their daily regimen, but there also USED to be an abundance of quality NCOs who would turn that shit into gold.

  10. PFC Young on December 14th, 2006 1:17 am

    I see what your saying and I have to agree with that. My only peeve is the fact that I am always respectful towards any NCO and alot of the times many of them are still total jerks. Almost like some of them are to immature. I stand at parade rest whenever I speak to one. Its like second nature to me. And they will be disrespectful to me anyway. I never cause trouble and I am a good soldier. But they seem to think because their are an NCO and have maybe 3 years on me they are gods and can treat me anyway they please. Last time I check respect is one of the core army values and it applies to all service members. Everyone shall be treated with respect, not just higher ranking and everyone else is dog crap. When NCO’s do this to good soldiers, they are just killing morale. Ones that need corrective action, I understand. But if you just want to be a jerk, then that soldier will lose all respect he has for you, becaues you showed him the same courtesy. Anyway, no matter what, I show respect to all NCO’s. Even if their are those that are immature and take their rank to a new level. Becasue I am a good soldier and I am better. Please do not be offended. I am just a very irritated soldier that does what he’s told and does his best.

  11. SPC Creed on December 22nd, 2006 4:57 am

    I have noticed this as well. However I also fear that it is the fault of the NCOs being trained. It seems to me that the Army values are no longer instilled in these new NCOs. Especially loyalty and respect. The “softer” NCO’s, as you like to call them, are bad. They play mind games and politics to win favor with the lower enlisted within platoons. They act in accordance with whatever will win them the favor of the higher NCO’s not taking into account they are screwing over everyone under them at the same time. The older and more tactical NCOs that I have seen are not so political and anti-social. Being an NCO is very much psychology. I have experience that older NCOs have increased morale and told me how to fix things, whereas “soft” [non-tactical] NCO’s will screw me and the rest of the platoon over to get a nod from the commander in a heartbeat. Evening going to so far as to type up 6 of his own awards for projects completely done by his soldiers, at the same time not even giving them a nod of acknowledgement.

  12. Castaner on March 6th, 2007 4:50 pm

    I think do to relaxed standards in combat zones most soldiers are not standing at parade rest. You can not ask a soldier to watch you back if he hates you. I think this is good. What is the point. As an NCO as long as they are respectful it should be fine. If not “hip pocket trainning combatives” should commence. As long as you can make him tap he should realize to respect you. If you can’t run him through some other NCO’s tire him out then choke him out.

  13. SSG Infantryman on January 16th, 2008 6:03 pm

    Standards being lowered across the board in the Army is what is really hurting us. The moment I read the article in the Army Times about standards being lowered to meet recruiting quotas I knew there were going to be problems to come later on. Its really too bad that it had to come to this.

    Ohhh man those were the days. You didn’t dare smirk at a E-5 SGT or your ass would be done.

    I wouldn’t worry to much about becoming a grumpy/asshole NCO. There are bigger problems than that right now.

    I believe it all begins with discipline. It is the corner stone of any good organization. If the individual soldier doesn’t have it and doesn’t display it you have major problems. That soldier is the base, the lowest man. How are you going to build a strong team, squad, platoon, or company if you don’t have it and don’t demand/enforce it?

  14. LT on February 16th, 2008 2:26 pm

    I’d have to say I agree with you. I’m currently deployed as a platoon leader and this is a very real, very big issue that my PSG and I are dealing with right now. I don’t think its an issue of the
    ‘previous generation thinking the next is softer and gentler’ because many of my soldiers are very close in age to me or even older. One of the biggest issues is promoting E4s to E5 before they are ready. I recently held up promotion of several of my E4s not because they weren’t good soldiers, but because they were good SOLDIERS, they just weren’t ready to be effective LEADERS, and every single one of them agreed whole heartily that they weren’t ready for it. But out of the 4 platoons in my company, ours was the only one that took the time to seriously consider each E4 and decide who was ready and who wasn’t (its easier to promote them then to take the time to write the counseling and hurt someone’s feelings, which only hurts them in the end) I bring this up because across the board many E5s - the first line in checking the disrespect - either don’t know how to check it or are unwilling to check it because they are too worried about being their soldier’s friend then being their leader. Now I have E5s that think they can blatantly scream obscinities at their platoon leadership in front of their soldiers simply because of a change in mission (which was made in an attempt to give them more personal time later that afternoon) I assure you that was swiftly and abruptly checked and that particular E5 seems to have found his place again (albiet still pushing the limits). Its very frustrating that this kinder/gentler Army in many ways ties the hands of leaders in ‘correcting’ soldiers. A combat zone just isn’t the place to have soldiers questioning you. (Context note: we have a lot of ’stop-loss’ soldiers whose bad additude appears to be poisioning the rest of the group)

    A note for the JROTC guy, as I remember from ROTC you’re a little limited on corrective training in your realm, however you can try some creative methods like the “rock” method. Select a rock that is large enough to be noticed by them in their cargo pocket but not so large it becomes a big nuissance. The first offender will paint it with whatever colors/symbols/saying you choose and will carry it at all times when in uniform until the next offender is chosen. The ‘award’ is given during a special formation. (have them post) Any one in the program can ask them to produce the rock at any time, if they do not have it they owe pushups. An alternate is each offender selects and decorates their own rock and presents it to the ‘BC’ who displays them on their desk. These improve morale while also being a ‘negative reinforcement’. Other options are RBIs (essays) which are effective not only because they take away personal time but also educate the soldier/cadet on the offense and why it is important. Also, use positive reinforcement to reward good behavior. Don’t give awards our like candy. Reserve it for those that deserve it. ‘blanket’ awards cheapen their effect and make them worthless.

  15. Terri on February 16th, 2008 4:32 pm

    LT thank you for your service. Please let us know if there’s anything you all are needing while you’re deployed.

  16. SSG Reginald Crippen (The Deadman) A well earned nickname in Iraq on November 4th, 2008 4:08 pm

    You know I hear what everyone of you are saying. It is very sad that the Army had to lower its standard for recruitment. Then they leave the burden on the NCO Corps to handle. Well how can you expect the NCO Corps to handle such a burden when most of the Corps now a days, the rank is just given to them, or they are poorly trained. PLDC (Now WLC) to be E-6. So what type of mandatory training are the E-5’s getting. I remember I went to PLDC back then just to make it to E-5. Its horrible. I pride myself on the NCO Creed and my Soldiers, no matter old school Soldiers or these new school Soldiers fresh from AIT, know that when they come to work, they are in the Devils layer. (Me) Not that I try to intimidate my Soldiers, by no such meaning of the word. I have instilled in my Soldiers the discipline, motivation, purpose and direction they need to progress. If they start to slip, thats when the Deadman walks the earth. If not, they have nothing to worry about. So far, none of them have slipped, other than the occasional mess up, but none of us are perfect. Bottom line is: No matter what your Soldiers previous trainings are: You must establish yourself as the leader and retrain them. Remember the old saying ” Whatever you learned in BCT/AIT, forget it.” Well that still applies even in this new kindler, gentler Army. It applies to the bad habits they learn during their transition from civlian to Soldier.

    As for the so called “Grumpy NCO.” Your not Grumpy, I agree with the Soldier who said, your just old school and expect your just do’s for earning your Chevrons. These Soldiers will see.

    The last part of the NCO Creed says, ” I will not forget, nor will I allow my comrades to forget that we are professionals, Noncommissioned Officers, leaders!

    If you do forget or allow them to forget your just as guilty as the NCO’s who are performing and training Soldiers below standard. Bottom line: Get in that ass if you have too. Reward when deserved.

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