Quite A Credit To His Service

On the evening of 10 September a business trip found me in Atlanta Airport. With a long wait for my flight, I had ample opportunity to watch passengers come and go. I first spotted a young sailor fresh out of basic. The Navy enlisted uniform has never been my cup of tea, but he looked really squared away in his crisp, clean whites. I then saw an airman. Typically, his Air Force trousers were about two inches too short, but otherwise he looked good too. I thought, “another fine representative of our military.”

Some time later, I noticed two Marine privates, obviously fresh out of boot camp, most likely on their first leave home. I went over to them and exchanged a brief handshake and “Semper Fi,” and then left them on their way. Still later, I spotted an Army E-3. High and tight, clean well-pressed uniform and solid bearing. Quite a credit to his service.

I was reflecting on times when we all wore our uniforms everywhere and airport terminals looked like the local USO. As I was thinking how unusual it was anymore to see a representative from four major services in uniform at one time, I then spotted the two young privates again. This time they had their green blouses draped over their arms, and one had his tie loosened and his collar undone! And walking around Atlanta Airport in this fashion. I started to go over and say something, but I was with a business group and I didn’t think an airport terminal scene would have been well received on the eve of the 9/11 anniversary. I could only hope that this character pulls this again and some active duty NCO or SNCO spots him and jumps all over him.

It was very disappointing to me that on the eve of one of the biggest tragedies in American history and when patriotic fervor, for however fleeting for some, was again in high pitch, that the one military member who discredited his uniform had to be the Marine. To this nameless recruit (which I believe his still is), I would remind him of the intense pride he should feel in wearing the uniform which bears the eagle, globe and anchor; and remind him of the shame he should feel in the callous way he wore it. I could only imagine what his Drill Instructors, whose care he probably left only hours before, would have thought!

Regards and Semper Fi,

Bob Allena
SSgt. USMC 1971-1978

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21 comments


  • R M (Dingus)Dinwiddie SGT USMC 1969-1973

    No disrespect to the SSGT-But this reminds me back in’72 on “The Rock”just B4 coming back Stateside from our sunny vacation in SE Asia.-My buddy and I were in a bar in Futema town when 4 Marines came in-already to wasted to be in public-2 E1s/and 2 E2s—Wearing half-a**ed Tropical Dress–neck ties hanging fromtheir belts,no covers at all,Blouse completely unbuttoned,T shirt exposed-not to mention loud and obnoxious-They were 0311 from Camp Smedly Butler,just arrived on the Rock first night out on town! A REAL 1st impression for a Marine.We were combat Airwing from HMH462 headed back to The Real World and even tho we were in civies;we couldn’tlet this slide-We confronted them;showed our ID to show we were E4 Corprals and EPLAINED The Correct Way to wear the uniform.BOTH sides got ENGAGEd and when the MPs came,turned out tobe a SSGT and a SGT- After MamaSan explained the situation,theyrounded up the 4 and turned a blind eye to me and my buddy-saying have a good trip HOME! Even if we had beenE1 or E2 something SHOULD HAVE or WOULD HAVE been said. Even tho we were AirWing,we too left buddies behind.


  • GySgt J. Gray USMC Retired

    When I returned from Vietnam, in April, 1969, I was in my Class A uniform. I was with my family and passed a Navy Commander. I saluted him and replied, “Good Afternoon, Commander”. He returned my salute and stated “good afternoon, Staff Sergeant, and carry on”. I replied, “Aye Aye Sir.” My father, being a retired Navy Seaman, stated that he was very proud of the respect that I showed to his Navy. Today, sorry to say, we no longer see that kind of pride and esprit decor. My grandson who is in the Navy advised me that, for his safety, he isn’t allowed to wear his uniform when he travels. What is happening to our country?


  • Thomas Hudson Sanford CWO-4 USMC Retired

    I would have jumped their ass. Of course in a manner not to embarrass them. 🙂


  • bob lake

    Most of the service personnel including Marines appear in public places in utilities and bloused boots.At least these service members were in the uniform of the day.However there is no excuse for a sloppy appearance at any time especially Marines.When I served in the Marine Corps 1957-1960 we were required to dress in the uniform of the day ,greens or tropicals, at various locations on base ,gate duty and when traveling under orders


  • Jim Angelo

    At one time, (’59 – ’65), in order to get off base, (unless you had off base housing), the uniform consisted of Dress shirt/ with creases, field scarf w tie bar, dress trousers, dress shoes, and Barracks Cap ,, Not Garrison cap !! If you had off base housing, you were allowed utilities. To go on leave, you had to be checked out at the gate by MP’s. If you were caught ashore by shore patrol half dressed ,,,, It would be in the “Cooler”, and usually office hours. When did Uniform Regulations get relaxed ?


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