FT LEONARD WOOD, MO – A soldier with the 318th Military Police Company is being processed out of the Army after being found by his Sergeant Major as having “his goddamn hands in his pockets,” according to his discharge paperwork.
According to his unit, Sergeant Thomas Burnette is pending separation for failing to maintain the Army’s standards. His separation comes at a time when the Army is cracking down on maintaining a “soldierly” appearance.
The guidelines of soldierly appearance are not entirely clear, but in a memo penned by Command Sergeant Major of the Army Raymond Chandler, the top enlisted leader pushed for non-commissioned officers Army-wide to crack down on "soldiers looking like bags of smashed assholes."
Command Sergeant Major Harold Bond, CSM of the 625th Military Police Battalion, was the driving force behind Burnette's general discharge.
"I was driving on to post one morning and as I pulled up to the check point, I noticed SGT Burnette standing there with his hands in his pockets. I've never seen such an ate up sack of shit in my life. It was only 15 degrees outside, it's not like it was that cold," said Bond in an interview with Duffel Blog. "I was in Korea when it was negative two and I didn't even THINK about putting my hands in my pockets! It's this lack of attention to detail and failure to take pride in presenting a soldierly appearance that gets troops killed everyday."
CSM Bond continued: "I knew then that I had to make sure this soup-sandwich was gone. Hell, I even heard a rumor he walked around with his sunglasses on his head and his PT socks were below his ankles. What kind of NCO just fails his troops so catastrophically? If he got deployed he'd probably get his whole FOB killed."
Despite being forced out of service, Burnette agreed with the Sergeant Major's assessment.
"You know, the Sergeant Major is right. I guess after two deployments to Iraq and one to Afghanistan I've just started to lose my edge. I'll just hope that McDonald's will be willing to hire a Bronze Star with Valor holder. Maybe I'll be able to stick to the uniform regulations there."