First Sergeant Orders Troops To Polish Black Boots ‘Just Because’ Tony June 21, 2012 Army 46 Comments Follow Duffel Blog: Ft. Sam Houston, TX - With a breakdown in morale and discipline, 1SG Dan Melton had enough. The Company First Sergeant had to reach back to the past — with his decades of experience — and issue fresh orders. “We just came back from a 15-month deployment,” says Melton, “and we’ve been having some serious problems with our junior soldiers.” The First Sergeant, part of the 14th Military Intelligence Battalion, stares at his soldiers standing in formation, upset that it’s come to this. “Everyone has grown so enamored with the ‘New’ Army stuff,” he says, using condescending air quotes. “Well I for one think it’s bullshit!” The soldiers just stare back blankly, unsure of what the First Sergeant is talking about. He then goes on to tell them that “they’ll be going back to his day.” Most have no idea what he means. The troops soon got a taste after he replaced computers with a “butcher paper” method for analysis many hadn’t seen since Fort Huachuca, AZ, if at all. He also instituted a regime of what he has deemed “purely infantry-oriented PT”. And then he issued black jump boots to all his soldiers. “I’m doing this for your own good. When I was in Primary Leadership Development we used to dedicate at least three hours a day to cleaning those things! I’m not doing this as a punishment, but rather out of love for my soliders.” Many troops remain skeptical. “What the hell are we supposed to do with these?” whined SPC Wade Galliston. “I used to hear stories about black boot polishing. And I saw them in an old recruting poster once, but I thought all that was over. Hell, my recruiter sealed the deal by saying we were only wearing Danners now.” One platoon sergeant tried to defend the First Sergeant and motivate his soldiers. “Top’s heart is in the right place. He just wants us to maintain a higher standard.” said SSG Joshua Barrish. “It’ll pass,” he says, watching his platoon slave over the boots, black polish staining their multicams. “It’ll pass.” he says again. Later, during a listening session with other leadership, 1SG Melton faced something of a mini-rebellion, when he suggested the Army break out the old freeze dried MREs so “these pussies can stop crying about trading.” On what can only be determined an upside, 1SG Melton said he might forego any more radical changes and simply jump the chain of command, writting to SMA Raymond F. Chandler with his ideas to “cull the wheat from the chaff”. Ranger Jim says: April 19, 2014 at 11:54 AM Back to spit shine—Go 1st. Sgt. Been there and done that. James Gilligan says: April 16, 2014 at 1:24 AM sigh~ I miss my Cadillacs. Maurice Walshe says: April 16, 2014 at 1:24 AM I think its called Bulling any Squaddie can explain how its done – http://www.arrse.co.uk/wiki/Bulling_Boots Patrick D. Moore says: December 15, 2013 at 6:18 PM The author must have gone through OCS with me. This happened during the transition between BDU and ACU when the BDUs could be worn with black or desert boots. After a 4 day FTX, we came back in and started weapons maintenance. 1SG waited 30 minutes and then started going through us. If you were wearing black boots and had not started shining them, God help you. The smoke session was for their own good, apparently. Gregory Melartin says: December 15, 2013 at 6:18 PM HOOAH Jerry Taylor says: December 15, 2013 at 6:18 PM Way to go Top, Bob Lynn says: December 15, 2013 at 6:18 PM Fricken GREAT Jay Gordon says: December 15, 2013 at 6:18 PM The troops soon got a taste after he replaced computers with a “butcher paper” method for analysis many hadn’t seen since Fort Huachuca, AZ, if at all…not at all. David T Dudley says: December 15, 2013 at 6:18 PM the new army is a joke. b/c the DI’s can’t do there job like they used to could. they need go back to the old army. Jeremy Jay Lee Austin-Skidmore says: December 15, 2013 at 6:18 PM We still shine our boots in the Coast Guard. Bet the Navy and Air Force do too. (I’d even bet the Marines do for their dress boots, even though they use Danners becasue they don’t show up in the dust as much.) Christy Looney says: December 15, 2013 at 6:18 PM They don’t use freeze dried MRE’s anymore? I was in the Army back in the day when we had to polish those black boots and iron uniforms, up to the green camo and freeze dried MRE’s! Soldiers are spoiled pussies any more! Paul Kelly says: December 15, 2013 at 6:18 PM These Cheese-Dicks would have shuddered in their well polished boots, if they had to deal with those old WW2 and Korean War NCO’s we had, back in “The Day”! What are they doing to these “Non-Combat Arms” POGS? What will they want, nest, breakfast in bed! lol They are good troops, basically, and they sure did the job asked of them! Top was just messing with them! lol Jack Keck says: December 15, 2013 at 6:18 PM one of the main reasons I got out after 9 years, was the instillation of a lack of discipline instigated by the commanders. I found the polished boots, pressed uniforms and wall locker inspections on a regular basis instilled a discipline and an attention to detail that was needed to survive in combat. once the higher ups started to do away with the “tools” an NCO’s had to instill discipline, the troops went down hill fast. I had one soldier that was so bad, and a command that would do nothing about it, that all the soldiers in the company started asking why they had to follow rules. this type of attitude is what the first sergeant is trying to avoid. personally, I commend him, good job top, keep it up, and your troops will learn the tools they need to survive combat and have the professional attitude to do the job with pride. Collin Smith says: December 15, 2013 at 6:18 PM Whoa! 1SG of an entire battalion! They didn’t even battlefield promote that guy to Command Sergeant Major! Mike Prindiville says: December 15, 2013 at 6:18 PM I spent enough time polishing them things….. Robert Jimenez says: December 15, 2013 at 6:18 PM 90% of the soldiers at fort Sam are fucking pussies anyways Christopher K Christie says: December 15, 2013 at 6:17 PM wow I can say I’m old. I cut my teeth polishing my boots pussys should suck it up you could be doing worst thing in the time it takes you to polish those boots I know. Stephen Pointer says: December 15, 2013 at 6:17 PM BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Matt Stone says: December 15, 2013 at 6:17 PM I found polishing my Jump Boots to be rather relaxing. Maybe it was just the fumes, the repetitive motion, the mental block against all external distractions, or even a combination of them all. However, that BS about being the best unit in the Battalion, Brigade, etc… got old quickly. They should have been satisfied that none of us got arrested the previous weekend and that we aren’t the fuck ups of the Battalion, Brigade, etc… Darren Dugan says: December 15, 2013 at 6:17 PM If it wasn’t the duffelblog, I probably would have thought that this one could be real. Paul Hanson says: December 15, 2013 at 6:17 PM Pop the lid on a can of Kiwi and grab the cotton ball! Edward Laverne Carey says: December 15, 2013 at 6:17 PM This 1SGT. is outstanding. Good ideal. “HOOAH” Dave Remington says: December 15, 2013 at 6:17 PM Still spitshine my motorcycle boots, and I got out in 1958. Doc Dean says: December 15, 2013 at 6:17 PM I think it is funny when I read these posts that some people think these are real articles, not works of satire! John Wingfield says: December 15, 2013 at 6:17 PM BEAUTIFUL! Now that’s what being a Senior NCO is all about. Just the whole act of keeping ones boots just “highly shined” on a daily basis is a lesson in self discipline, personal pride and time management. Bravo First Sergeant Melton, I hope that there are more still like you out there in my beloved Army. Heather Cutlip says: December 15, 2013 at 6:17 PM I think they need CRats too, also the opener (P8? P32?) let them figure out how to use it, and carry the CRats around with all that gear. The smell of Kiwi and paste wax (for floors) brings back fond memories. Raymond G Thompson says: December 15, 2013 at 6:17 PM It will be great and why dose military men an women wear field clothing out in. Ted Byars says: December 15, 2013 at 6:17 PM I spent MANY hours polishing my boots, not time wasted that’s for sure. Bob Knoell says: December 15, 2013 at 6:17 PM It seems that somebody is full of shit! I will tell one f–king thing. A” Airborne Soldiers spit shine the boots before wearing thair clasds A’s. “So if you are a Leg” You wouldn’t know WTF jump boots are. This is one of the wurst post I’ve ever read. Maybe that 1SG is trying to keep your asses alive. They call it tough love. I spent two years in an Airborne Infantry Unit, and guess what? We had to wear our Jump Boots every f–king morning. And if your jump boots weren’t spit shined, you would be in spit shining class on Saturday. Michael Moir says: December 15, 2013 at 6:17 PM Geeze I still hae a few of the old Freeze Dried pork patties! Daniel Knittel says: December 15, 2013 at 6:17 PM Good to hear that there is still some discipline being exercized somewhere in todays military. Shine those boots baby, I know I did my share of it! Next make’em go back to ironed and starched fatigues just for some appreciation! Tj Holley says: December 15, 2013 at 6:17 PM I think it would be great for the younger troops to get a good ol taste of the “old” army. Quinn Chastant says: December 15, 2013 at 6:17 PM Ahhhh the Good Old Army, I’m so thankful I went to the Dark Side & the School House at Ft. Bragg nearly 20 years ago. I think my last regular Army SGM still has my name permanently atop his Shit List. Bwahahahaha John Martini says: December 15, 2013 at 6:17 PM Left the U.S.Army in 94. Every unit I was assigned to state side or overseas we were expected to have those jump boots highly shined unless we were in the field. I still wear jump boots and I still enjoy keeping them highly shined. I go into many people’s homes and business the first thing the customer looks at is your face the second is your feet. Michael Galatian says: December 15, 2013 at 6:17 PM I want to see em shining like a diamond in a goats ass. Walter Eagle says: December 15, 2013 at 6:17 PM I could shine my boots so they looked like glass, but I never enjoyed it. I only was happy that I got it down to a reasonably short amount of time each day. Merl Allen says: December 15, 2013 at 6:17 PM I kept a can of shiny black spray paint for inspections. My boondockers shone. derpherp says: October 22, 2012 at 2:49 PM Yeah! We all know polishing your boots every night gives you incredible attenion to detail, which is why you never need to train in any other way. Same with drill. Icedog says: July 24, 2012 at 8:53 PM Outstanding story and well written! As a man with 26 years of service and counting, I can definitely relate to the 1SG. Give ‘em hell Top! Brian chasteen says: July 24, 2012 at 6:38 PM Lack of discipline and disrespect for authority in today’s military. Need to bring back wall to wall counciling. RICK SMITH says: July 24, 2012 at 4:39 PM In the Air Force, we just hire someone to polish ours. Icedog says: July 24, 2012 at 8:55 PM I’m just going to assume you’re fairly new to the AF, or you were/are a medical troop, personnelist, or Intel weenie. Mike Belanger says: July 24, 2012 at 10:20 PM That’s why you were in the “Chair force”, Rick! (LOL, just kidding, of course) Brandon Reed says: October 3, 2012 at 11:10 PM You Lack Discipline, I polished mine daily and I was an Aircraft Maintainer. Brandon Reed says: October 3, 2012 at 11:31 PM Richard Smith You lack discipline, and yeah I agree Wall to wall should be brought back, I think Multicam was the right direction in uniforms cuz the ACU/ABU look like crap MommyWoman says: July 22, 2012 at 4:02 AM I remember polishing those damned boots day in and day out, still the most comfortable footwear I’ve ever owned! Oddly, pantyhose mad the things shine like a polished mirror!