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Commentary | Nov. 18, 2010

Here’s to you, Mr. Uniform Violations man

By Staff Sgt. Heidi Davis 633d Air Base Wing Public Affairs

"Give me your 341!"

Ah, the four most dreaded words of any basic military training or technical school Airmen. Those words are also the glue that binds the standards to the forefront of the Airmen's minds. Each morning, Airmen clothe themselves in a meticulously folded brown T-shirt, a pair of sage green socks and a crisp set of ABUs, on which the night prior they spent no less than two hours clipping strings.

"Not today," they say as they firmly grasp their precious 341s and place them in their right front pocket of their ABU pants. "They're not taking a single one."

For the next eight hours, the Airmen are cautious with every movement and constantly checking to ensure their uniforms are worn just as their Military Training Instructors taught. As the day draws long and the will for perfection begins to wear down, they rely on their Wingmen to keep them in check ... and they do.

It's a perfect circle of learning the standards, exercising the standards and enforcing the standards. So, why is it that aim for perfection dwindles as Airmen become "old schoolers" in Air Force history? Have we become arrogant as to think the standards should adapt to our comfort rather than aiming for perfection each time we don the uniform?

While there aren't MTIs here looking for rolled PT shorts or sagging britches, first sergeants, chiefs and commanders are examining uniforms. They may not approach you to correct your uniform violation, but mentally, they just pulled your 341.