Opinion: Putting Your Hands In Your Pockets Will Get You Killed Sgt B November 30, 2012 Army, Opinion 83 Comments Follow Duffel Blog: PrevNextUse your ← → (arrow) keys to browse The following is an opinion piece by Sergeant Major of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III. Listen up troops. Listen really closely. You want to put your hands in your pockets? Too friggin’ bad. It’s right there in AR 670-1. I helped write that piece of beautiful literature. I know the cost that comes with putting your hands in your pockets: the lives of soldiers. You think I’m jerkin’ you around? You think that putting your hands in your pockets doesn’t hurt anyone? Tell that to all the troops we lost in Iraq and Afghanistan. I can only imagine that someone around them had their hands in their pockets instead of manning a .50 or applying pressure to a sucking chest wound. I’m going to tell it to you straight. Those fools that started a petition to allow members of the military to put their hands in their pockets are putting your lives at risk. Not only that, but they jumped the chain of command. I’ll personally rain down an unwordly heck upon them myself, those friggin’ idiots. You put your hands in your pockets and *poof* there goes all good discipline and military bearing. These things save lives, soldiers. We don’t enforce these rules simply because it looks good on our non-commissioned officer evaluation reports. Nope, this is about saving troop lives — saving YOUR lives. You jump the chain-of-command and you’ve gone and screwed the pooch. Everyone who signs this petition is stating that they value their individuality over their battle buddies’ lives. You think I got the “III” put in my name because of my birth? I earned that stuff. The Bronze Star Medal I’ve got will swear to that. It doesn’t have a “V” device you say? Apparently you’ve never been deployed as a sergeant major. You can’t comprehend the level of responsibility that comes with chewing out company first sergeants because their Humvee’s aren’t aligned perfectly. The day you slack and park one Humvee slightly off-line is the day that insurgents of unknown national origins decide to launch an attack on your FOB. You’d be ready to respond, with efficiency and force if it weren’t for that one truck being off-line most likely due to an oversight by a non-commissioned officer. Really, if I had to guess, an NCO like that has probably never been to the Warrior Leader’s Course. Any NCO that can stand the sight of troops with their hands in their pockets obviously hasn’t been through WLC. You know what I’ve instructed Training and Doctrine Command to stress there? Drill and Ceremony. That’s right, it all comes back to D&C. You take the time to learn D&C, you’ll know why it’s so important to keep your dang hands out of your pockets. It all comes down to discipline. If you can’t march troops, you surely can’t teach them to do a 9-line MEDEVAC or any of their basic battle drills. Heck, D&C is what’s won us the Iraq war and the Afghan war. Without this small unit level of discipline, we would have been in another Vietnam. You know who put their hands in their pockets? Troops in Vietnam. Just ask em’. They’ll tell you no sergeant major ever yelled at them for having their hands in their pockets. I see this as an obvious reason why we failed there. It’s my job as Sergeant Major of the Army to make sure our troops are receiving the best leadership possible from NCO’s across the Army. We will not fail you soldiers. We will not let you fail yourselves. Now take those sunglasses off your head, your hands out of your pockets, that 550 cord bracelet off, stop walking and talking on your cell phone, stop smoking while walking, and get back over to the drill field to practice your left-flank march. Because darnit, marching in a formation designed for warfare before automatic weapons is going to save your lives. David Lundby says: June 13, 2014 at 12:44 PM It’s a proven fact! Soldiers in Korea, hands in pockets, the British had their hands in their pockets, the only reason hitler lost was because he allowed his soldiers to put their hands in their pockets…. On a side note, I love duffle blog Stuart Woodhead says: May 26, 2014 at 10:44 PM Raymond F. Chandler I think someone has hacked your account. If they have not then just go along and say that they have. Otherwise you’re a “Fucking Knob”!!! (typed with one hand in my pocket) Johnny Mosley Sr. says: May 24, 2014 at 5:40 AM Chill Out! its all in fun guys Noel Vieira says: May 24, 2014 at 12:09 AM I’m a little late to the party but this cracks me up. Spencer Rubendall says: May 22, 2014 at 8:39 PM this is not real is it? Scott Kuszmaul says: May 22, 2014 at 4:55 PM Yeah, Senior Leadership like this is only concerned with petty write-ups/minor infractions & Mickey mouse regulations (hands in pockets, sunglasses on your head, socks pulled up 2 inches above your shoes, tatoo regulations, etc…). But when there’s a no shit issue like officers banging married females in the AOR against general order 1A, or sexual assault among their subordinates, or a poor military spouse phone calls don’t get returneda by a command chief when she’s pleading for help, or an E-5 gets decertified in simple tasks because he discontinued union dues to the AFGE(retaliation), they don’t get addressed with the same urgency. In 25 years of military service I’ve learned you can’t trust leadership & the system is broken. Dylan Coppell says: May 22, 2014 at 3:25 PM No one in uniform should have there hands in their pockets, period !!!! Rod Trees says: May 22, 2014 at 1:40 PM Now I know why my drill in AIT had me write an essay and present it to the platoon. Thank you, I’ve been wondering about that for many years James McAlister says: May 22, 2014 at 11:54 AM Hummm… Now I thought the reason behind not putting your hands in you’re pockets was because it makes it look like you are jerking your self off… Other than that there isnt any real reason behind not putting your hand in you’re own pockets… Almost died laughing when he said people don’t apply pressure to wounds because they have their hands in there pockets… The only place I ever see people putting their hands in their pocket it after or before a formation, while every one sits around waiting on high ranks… Maybe we can solve this with less formation??? lol Justin Veruasa says: May 22, 2014 at 11:39 AM on the other hand, putting your hands in your pockets in front of a police officer these days WILL get you killed. Rafael Acevedo says: May 22, 2014 at 9:54 AM Great Job DB…..Let the tongue lashing begin….lol Jared Woodhouse says: May 22, 2014 at 9:54 AM I want to put my hands in his pockets. Joseph Wray says: May 22, 2014 at 6:54 AM Ahhhhhh, you almost got me! This is a joke right? Tom LaChance says: May 22, 2014 at 5:40 AM I love te responses on here of those who think this is serious…… Get a freakin clue! Mathew Ritchie says: May 22, 2014 at 4:09 AM It’s only a lack of discipline if an Other Rank does it… SNCO and Officers do it all the time…. David Faust says: May 21, 2014 at 11:10 PM Well, discipline is great. An undiscoplined Army is like a mission ready to fail. Sun Tzu Phillip Pearson says: May 21, 2014 at 10:10 PM So what about tattoos are they killin soldiers? Ian Mains says: May 21, 2014 at 10:10 PM People still get sucked in and don’t realize this is satire. I shake my head at the comments, but it happens every time. Amazing. Well done Duffel Blog. John D. Izzo Jr. says: May 21, 2014 at 7:39 PM The number of people, day in and day out, on every DB article, who fail to realize that DB is a satirical site, is astounding to me. With their lack of observational skills and reading comprehension, its a wonder they made it/make it in the military at all. Aj Cooley says: May 21, 2014 at 7:09 PM How about telling the national guard and reserve units in the southern Indiana about ar670-1 none of the ones I have meet follow it. I no longer am serving in the army but I still have respect for the uniform heck I still don’t walk and talk on my phone or smoke and I’ve been out for three years. Now as to the hands in the pocket subject I see a point to it but at the same time if your in the sandbox and outside the wire than yea I agree don’t have your hands in your pockets that may get someone killed or yourself Susan Hatwan says: May 21, 2014 at 7:09 PM I can only day this. To denounce our Vietnam Vets in this manor is disrespectful at best, and serves no purpose what so ever. Temeember the Z-Grasms. That’s right Admiral Mum salt was a complete idiot. Thank God for the men who were junior officers in Vietnam. For if it were not for them, Iraq would have been a cluster fuck. And for you SMA, you are are a cluster fuck as well. Go suck up to our Commander-in-Chief. All the new bees in the upper chain of command are “YES BOYS”. The purging of senior officers throughout all brsnches of our military has been completed by our illustrious anointed King Obama. Just remember, those of us who served in Viet Nam are still here, and have never forgotten how we were treated upon our return. Do not piss on the rocks you stand upon, for one may just get his legs wet with his hands in his pockets at piss call. Jeff Barrett says: May 21, 2014 at 6:25 PM Oh the tragedy, hands in pockets and NO PT BELT! Noe Munoz says: May 21, 2014 at 5:24 PM Oh dear lord, that sounds like the words of a fool Eleazar Inungaray says: May 21, 2014 at 5:24 PM Opinions are like assholes….everybody has one…this guys has two…. Bryan Kane says: May 21, 2014 at 5:24 PM Flag, BARS, and FG art. 15’s for all. Kicking out soldiers with tattoos and more SHARP training will solve all of this Kevin Jackey says: May 21, 2014 at 3:55 PM what a bunch for bullshit…. Allen Miller says: May 21, 2014 at 3:55 PM I’ll tell you what saves lives, sabers! And fodder, because you have to have a good horse to look good with a saber and a horse needs lots of fodder (and blacksmiths without hands in their pockets). Why, in WWI, of tonnage shipped to America’s allies, fodder held first place – bullets, boots, and beans weren’t even close. And that’s because everyone knew that horses would play a pivotal role in the Great War and that was because you had to have sabers and to have sabers you had to have horses…well drilled horses…without their hooves in their pockets… Skipper Whitesocks says: May 21, 2014 at 2:10 PM No mention of the color of socks that Joes wear? WHERE ARE THE MAN’S PRIORITIES?! Anthony Yankovec says: May 21, 2014 at 1:25 PM To the people who can not recognize fact from fiction, step away from the internet and no one will get hurt! Ed Hines says: May 21, 2014 at 1:25 PM Hands in pockets smacks of no disbipline you say? I see SF folks doing that all the time and they are some of the best. Your move SGTMAJ. Samantha Bobinski says: May 21, 2014 at 1:25 PM Read between the lines. Basically dicipline to the tee, no short cut. For the record Ive seen more officers put their hands in thier pockets than enlisted. Manny Colott says: May 21, 2014 at 12:24 PM I look forward to the day I’m out… Zack Brandt says: May 21, 2014 at 12:24 PM I can’t decide whether to laugh or cry. It sounds too true to be satire anyway. Rachel Rodriguez says: May 21, 2014 at 12:24 PM I’m sure as such a high ranking officer, he is well educated. So his flagrant and sloppy use of almost every logical fallacy in the book grossly detracts from what he’s trying to get across. Hi first statement about troops “probably” dying because of their fellow soldiers’ hands in their pockets not only degrades the sacrifice those service people made, but also takes responsibility away from the leadership that failed to plan, therefore planned to fail, leading to the loss of the lives of their troops. He is grandstanding on his butthurt-ness; he doesn’t hate people’s hands in their pockets, he hates the lack of discipline and bearing it represents. I can understand that, it was everything I had for a good long while to keep my hands out of my pockets. In the mean time, that same self awareness it took to concentrate on keeping my hands out of them was keeping me aware of how I appeared to the on-looker, how I came off as a representation of the Navy. I can understand what it represents to him, but he’s going about imparting that in the completely wrong way. Any time you resort to hyperbole, you instantly devalue your message, thrash your credibility, and lose the attention of your audience. Poorly done on his part. Marco Ferrari Bryant says: January 3, 2014 at 3:40 AM I love it! Lana Dunn says: January 3, 2014 at 3:40 AM Love it. Michelle Dawn Lotz-Lynch says: January 3, 2014 at 3:40 AM Absolutely perfect. Kenneth Hawkins says: January 3, 2014 at 3:40 AM I knew it! Jason D Sousley says: January 3, 2014 at 3:40 AM I didn’t know they were doing actual opinion pieces now. Erik L Miller says: January 3, 2014 at 3:40 AM a very convincing arguent to say the least. Christopher Horton says: January 3, 2014 at 3:40 AM Damn SMA isn’t playing around lol. Brian Derewenko says: January 3, 2014 at 3:40 AM This guy just said Vietnam vets failed. Holy shit. Chris Osolin says: January 3, 2014 at 3:40 AM Very sad that it seems some people believe this stuff. Anthony Ciliberti says: January 3, 2014 at 3:40 AM Better your pockets than someone else’s. Yeah, today’s military (and government)! Ian Laughlin says: January 3, 2014 at 3:40 AM “You know who put their hands on their pockets? Troops in Vietnam.” Priceless. Chris Watson says: January 3, 2014 at 3:40 AM In Vn, anyone so squared away as to look like they just got out of ROTC or West Point was as big a target as the person carrying the radio or the person next to him. Joseph Twitty says: January 3, 2014 at 3:40 AM my PSG said I wouldn’t die if I wore my glow belt. Michael Cazenavette says: January 3, 2014 at 3:40 AM Better go make sure the trucks are straight in the motor pool and put in my WLC packet ASAP. Robert L. Rice says: January 3, 2014 at 3:40 AM This SMA is a clown,,, he needs to go back to the Sergent Majors Academy… Michael David Kinney says: January 3, 2014 at 3:40 AM Someone needs a Valium. Peter Kirk says: January 3, 2014 at 3:40 AM hee,, hee,, hee,,, the Nam vet’s would have fragged his ass if he told them not to do that! Suraj Sunny Dave says: January 3, 2014 at 3:40 AM Jesus, I love this site and praise those who run it. You guys are great, can I donate some lit to you guys? Josh Noble says: January 3, 2014 at 3:40 AM I have no doubt this speech has actually been given. My division Master Chief can give a speech involving the mating practices of ducks, alcoholism, and advanced math and somehow relate it to integrity. It doesn’t make sense, but it is entertaining. Patrick Jones says: January 3, 2014 at 3:40 AM Man, I’m so confused! I thought if I wore my reflective belt everywhere, 24/7 I could escape death, but I guess you just have to accept it and not fear the reaper. I just heard cuffing my ACU sleeves will get me killed too! Is there no end to the madness! Anthony Ciliberti says: January 3, 2014 at 3:40 AM Too late! That “good discipline and military bearing” have been gone for a long time. Mícheál Ó Donnchadha says: January 3, 2014 at 3:40 AM You know who put their hands in their pockets? Troops in Vietnam. Read more: http://duffelblog.wpengine.com/2012/11/sma-chandler-putting-your-hands-in-your-pockets-will-get-you-killed/#ixzz2Hj7XCx97. Follow us: @theduffelblog on Twitter | duffelblog on Facebook. Eugene Ross says: January 3, 2014 at 3:40 AM SgtMaj Chandler 111 I was a SgtMaj US Marine Corps in Vietam.I go along with you all the way on this pocket crap, it’s discipline or the like there of. But I say again I was a SgtMaj in Nan as they called it and I say we did not loose that war in VIETNAM. It was lost in Warshington DC, they my friend was the ones that had thier hands in thier pockets or elce where. Thank you. Tracy Allen says: January 3, 2014 at 3:40 AM BLUF; Discipline. That is all! Russell Cook says: January 3, 2014 at 3:40 AM this coming from a man that has never done real combat mission for patrol in a combat zone. George L. Horvath III says: January 3, 2014 at 3:40 AM How about suicides of Soldiers? Chris Powell says: January 3, 2014 at 3:40 AM Haha , No hands in your pockets but YOU CAN”T WEAR THOSE GLOVES that were issued to you, I DON”T LIKE THEM! We get shit from CIF and then told we cannot wear it. Who the fuck are other people to tell me which gloves to wear if my hands are cold. I agree the hands in the pockets among other things do need to be enforced but they is a need for ” fine tune ” adjustments. Gregg Pauley says: January 3, 2014 at 3:40 AM I’ve gotta say, I’m a Vietnam Era Veteran and have been chewed out by a Command Sergeant Major for having my hands in my pockets…… Chris Green says: January 3, 2014 at 3:40 AM Jason Armano : Take heed. Brian D. Lehnhardt says: January 3, 2014 at 3:40 AM What would really be funny is the SMA responding to this! Brumbie Williams says: January 3, 2014 at 3:40 AM What’s killing me is how many folks think this is a true article….WOW! Tonia G-Funk says: January 3, 2014 at 3:40 AM He forgot to say “hands in your pockets will get you killed unless you’re an officer or E-7 and above.” Assholes. Carl Thompson says: January 3, 2014 at 3:40 AM I love the fact that people print this stuff out and put it on their bulletin boards. Tony Fuller says: January 3, 2014 at 3:40 AM Get’em SMA! Discipline is a necessary element of success in battle! Timothy Jay Queen says: January 3, 2014 at 3:40 AM OK to recap my earlier recap: SATIRE- 1. the use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule, or the like, in exposing, denouncing, or deriding vice, folly, etc. 2. a literary composition, in verse or prose, in which human folly and vice are held up to scorn, derision, or ridicule. 3. a literary genre comprising such compositions. (dictionary.com) The fact that so many people take the bait while reading TDB is a testament not only to the blogs wit, but also a sad commentary on how our military is run. This just brings up the question that soldiers have asked throughout the ages “Are we that good, or are the other guys just more screwed up?” Hugh Elliot says: January 3, 2014 at 3:40 AM … You put your hands in your pockets and *poof* there goes all good discipline and military bearing… If you care about military bearing, it’s time to get the Army properly dressed. That means camouflage fatigues are for the field not office buildings and airplanes. Particularly revolting were the two overweight (just not quite obese) full bird Colonels travelling from DCA to Tampa. They looked like unprofessional idiots. The Marines do it better. Raul Felix says: January 3, 2014 at 3:40 AM I wonder how many deaths I’ve caused by having my hands in my pockets… Kristafer Ailslieger says: January 3, 2014 at 3:40 AM Satire.. So damn close to the truth, maybe not. I remember a SGM stopping me in Kuwait, only hours before I was to head into Iraq, to inform me that I was wearing my hat wrong (actually, he was wrong) and that my sunglasses were not regulation. Of course, since I was a major at the time, I thanked him for his input and ignored his stupid ass. I probably walked away with my hands in my pockets. Eric Diesch says: January 3, 2014 at 3:40 AM I had a Marine SSG run out into traffic and jump in front of my car to tell me to put my cover on. lol.. I’m 6.0, and I was driving a tiny little Japanese car. I just laughed and drove off. Benefits of being a corpsman. George Runkle III says: January 3, 2014 at 3:40 AM This is definitely the MOST BRILLIANT piece of satire I’ve seen on this site yet. Danny Barrett says: January 3, 2014 at 3:40 AM This brings tears to my eyes and lots of good memories. I was a brand new Regular Army second lieutenant assigned to the 24th ID at Fort Riley in 1968 under the command of Major General “Wrongship” Boatright. The first day in fatigues I showed up with my issue baseball cap with the brim curved looking cool. People around me were horrified and told me that General Boatright flew around in his helicopter looking for troops with curved baseball cap brims. When he found them, he awarded an Article 15 on the spot. We were supposed to wear our brims flat as issued and look like a division of dorks. I was told it matched our battle history as the worst American division to enter combat East of Suez.//The only thing the general did all day was fly around and check for baseball caps. That and refuel.//It was a great lesson for a brand new officer and set me on my way to a career in the Navy. It’s good to see the SMA is continuing that tradition of recruiting for the other services. Scott Robinett says: January 3, 2014 at 3:40 AM that’s all well and good, but why should an eight year old have to police the fucking yard. The old man just couldn’t leave it at work. RIP Timothy Jay Queen says: January 3, 2014 at 3:40 AM To recap the SMA’s rant: The following actions result in the death of a soldier, his battle buddy, Platoon, and perhaps Division…..Hands in pocket, Cuffed Sleeves, Eye-Pro on head, No Shave, Boots not bloused, White Socks, 550 cord Bracelets, CAC card not in breast pocket, Patrol Cap cocked back on head, No APFT Belt, and most importantly: Questioning the absolute infallible wisdom and god-like authority of the SMA. (For a complete list of these actions refer to AR 670-1, under the section of “Actions Prohibited Under UCMJ and Arbitrary Mood Swings of Staff Personnel) Any questions regarding the SMA’s opinion piece can be directed to the PAO, care of The Duffel Blog. Don Hand says: January 3, 2014 at 3:40 AM I would stand with my hands tucked into my bdu pants under my belt. From a distance it would look like I had my hands in my pockets. I did this for the express purpose of instigating others. FTR there is no regulation against having your hands in your pants “Al Bundy” Style. Carol Schweikert Wesnoski says: January 3, 2014 at 3:40 AM You tell ‘em, SMA! How ’bout telling them not to swear in public? They drop the F bomb anywhere and don’t give a rip if there are kids around, either. Charles Kovach says: January 3, 2014 at 3:40 AM I have to correct many service members for having their hands in their pockets from the lowest private to officers because it is a lack of discipline. Get ‘em SMA Christy Barnett Bennett says: January 3, 2014 at 3:40 AM I agree about this whole thing. But so ya know…my Dad was in Vietnam. 101st Airborne…Screaming Eagles…they WERENOT allowed to put their hands in their pockeys. That was a BIG no no…I agree. Angelo Stevens says: January 3, 2014 at 3:40 AM So the new SMA is saying all the troops we lost in Vietnam was due to hands in pockets, way to remember the fallen. He is as out of touch with reality as Mitt Romney is. You know what gets troops killed, high ranking ass wipes that think they know all the answers cause they are high rank, guess what there are some low ranking folks that know more than most seniors I ever worked for.