The following is an opinion piece by Sergeant Major of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III.
You know what soldiers? I’m sick and tired of this crap.
You want to keep complaining about having to wear reflective belts? You don’t like that you have to wear the thing in Afghanistan in the middle of a combat zone? It’s not ‘cool’ to have to put that on your uniform, you say.
Well, you know what? Screw it. Everyone’s going to wear three of the flippin’ things at all times.
Yeah, you heard me. Three.
Goddamn it, these things are saving your worthless little lives.
Oh, how are you supposed to wear three reflective belts, you ask. Well, first off, I’m a Sergeant Major, so I don’t need to answer any of your questions. Second, how about you figure that stuff out yourselves? You can adapt on the battlefield, now you need to adapt with a reflective piece of plastic that keeps you from getting flattened like a goddamn pancake when a Humvee rolls by.
Don’t think it could happen? Think again.
Bagram Air Field, 2004. Soldiers just walking around, lollygagging, thinking they’re back on the block. BOOM. No reflective belt. Dead. Saw it happen, it was terrible. But you know what, with his last dying breath, that soldier told me, “Sergeant Major, if only I had been wearing my reflective belt, I would be alive. Please tell my mother I—, no, tell the other soldiers they need to be safe with reflective belts on at all times.”
Well, I’m granting that dying wish right now. You troops are going to wear your reflective belts everywhere. I don’t care whether you are doing PT, in your dress uniform, or out at the bar drinking and trying to score some late-night action, you’re going to have “three of your PPE” [personal protective equipment] around your bodies at all times.
Ok, good, you want to keep complaining?
We’re wearing four of the goddamn things. I can go all day, soldiers. Don’t push me. If they can’t see our 0500 PT formation from the flipping Space Station, that’s a no-go. Hooah?
If I keep hearing complaints or seeing any more bull crap about how you don’t like your reflective belt — so help me. If you like the Multicam uniform, you just wait until me and the General testify before congress for the new and improved Multireflect uniform.
Don’t make me do it, soldiers.
Right now, go grab your reflective belts, and put them on. You’ll thank me later.
You heard me. Five of them.