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Most soldiers know: There's stupid, and then there's Army stupid.
When Maj. Gen. Michael Oates got on his blog and asked soldiers: "What is the stupidest rule or policy you have seen in the Army?" he essentially was throwing them red meat.
After all, soldiers labor under rules and regs laid out in more than 100,000 Army documents.
The 10th Mountain Division commander simply titled his entry, "Stupid rules." Posted March 22, the entry on the Task Force Mountain blog, www.taskforcemountain.com/mountain-sound-off, drew 93 responses before the comment period closed April 20.
Oates was unavailable to discuss his brave blog entry as he prepared for the May 20 transfer of authority for Multi-National Division-South in Iraq, where he served as commander since June 2008. The 34th Infantry Division has taken over for 10th Mountain Division Headquarters.
His spokesman said Oates plans a comprehensive review of the soldiers' beefs after he redeploys to 10th Mountain headquarters at Fort Drum, N.Y. Following are a few of their entries:
'How about some common sense?'
My vote for stupidest rule is that you can't have sweaty PT clothing on in the chow hall. Honked me off a little at Camp Victory, but it really honks me off here in Basra.
… How about some common sense here?
— Basra Homey
The Army sets up numerous roadblocks that prevent soldiers such as myself from volunteering for combat deployments. I enlisted for two years, four months, and considered that plenty of time to be deployed because of the current strain on military forces. When the opportunity wasn't presented to me, I sought it myself. Nothing came of it and now I am set to be discharged in a short while.
I would say that the policy of conducting announced "inspections" by command staff is errant and foolhardy.
When an entity announces its intention to conduct an inspection, this allows for the unit in question to prepare for its arrival by cleaning up its act.
I would add how stupid the "no umbrella" rule is. Just allow a professional-looking, simple, black umbrella.
Bring back Sergeant's Time Training/Family time once a week. I have come across too many soldiers who are not taught the basics anymore.
— SFC P
We ask our soldiers to go to war, but we make them request a pass to drive beyond a 70-mile radius off the base?
They should be able to drive wherever they want just as long as they are back by the next duty day.
I've seen two rules in recent years that are tied for the most stupid rules that I've ever seen in my 21 years of military duty.
1. The mandatory wear of a reflective belt while wearing the Army physical fitness uniform. Hello, the APFU has been specifically designed to omit the requirement of additional reflective accessories.
2. The ridiculous policies that exist at the Army's current mobilization platforms. Not allowing soldiers to go off base during non-duty hours, except under limited and restrictive circumstances, and not allowing soldiers to consume alcoholic beverages, etc.
— APFT Guy
• The new "Mall Cop" dress uniform. Oh my God, what the hell is this clown suit? Why in the middle of two wars are we doing this?
• Rolling up our BDU sleeves so the camo part shows. Calling that stupid is an insult to really stupid things.
• The M9 pistol. With all of the outstanding handguns on the market, the Army still issues this piece of junk.
• Fifteen-month combat tours. Hey, there's a recipe for enhancing readiness, recruiting, retention and well-adjusted Army families. Absolutely disgraceful.
• The "Army values" tag. Here, put this around your neck. OK, now you're moral, ethical and all that. Good work, soldier.
— Mountain Soldier
Beret backlash, uniform unrest
Worthless as headgear. Offers no protection from rain or sun. Bring back the cap.
— Sam Verbeck
We spent millions on berets at a time when we did not have money for spare parts for vehicles or ammo for ranges.
The beret is an absolutely useless piece of gear. Sure it looks good, but it's pretty obvious that the ones who made it policy to wear this piece of gear in an everyday work uniform sit in an office and don't see the light of day.
— Joe Snuffy
You should never have to wear the helmet if you're not in a combat zone.
— roger spencer
If a soldier can pass the PT test, and has a good standing PT history, then he should not be scrutinized or started on a chapter.
— Sgt Jones
The tape test that the Army uses to determine if a soldier is within tolerance for body fat percentage is wildly inaccurate and can vary wildly depending on who does it.
Where they live
I understand that everyone in the unit should be on a duty roster for Charge of Quarters. However, for those who live off post, why do we ask them to mow the lawn and shovel the snow for those living in the barracks? I'd like to know when they will create a roster to shovel my driveway and mow my lawn. Just a thought.
— Off post resident
I was very upset with the new rule for certain types of dogs being banned on the installation. Instead of banning a certain breed, I believe each pet on the base should be given [a test for aggression]. If the dog doesn't demonstrate any signs of aggressive behavior, the family should be allowed to keep their pet.
— Animal Lover
The Promotion Point System is stupid. An 11B just has to show up to work and poof, E5. To make E5 in almost any other MOS it's like [you need] E6 points. That should be revised to a better system.
— Holy crap
R&R from red tape
How much paperwork really needs to be submitted with a DA31 leave request? At one point, to submit a DA31, one would have to attach a separate leave request, privately owned vehicle online risk assessment, a detailed rest plan, POV inspection form (flying or not), plane reservations (if flying), a safety pledge, strip map to the leave address (even if not leaving post), another personal risk assessment sheet, and finally, a leave and earnings statement, all to ask to go on leave.
Ahh, vacation was needed after rounding up all of that.
— Ja Red
If you want to talk about a stupid and unbelievably unfair policy, how about addressing a spouse's entitlement to a soldier's retirement pay if they divorce.
My ex-wife didn't work outside the house while we were married — and she didn't want to. I deployed, I worked, I did the job .
So how in the world does that entitle her to a percentage of my retirement when I retire?
Editors Note: Excerpts have been edited for clarity and space.