These are the dumbest US military rules and regulations

Every job has stupid rules, no matter the field. Although the military doesn’t have a monopoly on regulations, they take them to extremes: there are rules for how to walk, talk, dress – right down to how to tie your boots. , to wear a belt and whether or not flip flops are not permitted clothing for any occasion other than a trip to the public showers. There are so many rules it’s just when rather than if there will be idiots.

Last week we asked you, our readers, what the dumbest rules and regulations in the military were. On our Facebook, Instagram, Twitter accounts, and in the story comment section, we received hundreds of responses, many of which were outstanding, and not only made me laugh, but reminded me of how truly the military can sometimes be weird.

Here are some of those answers. Just keep in mind that I can’t reach them all and each branch has its own (very) stupid rules.

Let’s start with the most common responses from readers. These will come as no surprise to anyone with experience in the US military; however, they may surprise our civilian readers who will be waiting for an explanation. Unfortunately none can be provided as none exist. They’re just stupid rules, and they exist just because.

They are:

  • Not hands in pockets
  • do not walk on the grass
  • I can’t talk on the phone and walk
  • Wear reflective belts during the day (even indoors)
  • Do not eat or drink while marching in uniform
  • Boot socks can only be a certain color
  • White socks without logos for PT
  • Can’t carry umbrellas

These rules often seem to be invented on the fly, usually by sergeant majors, and without any explanation. In Afghanistan, our company’s first sergeant would fly if a Marine wore a beanie when the sun was up. You will regularly see soldiers wearing reflective belts inside buildings where there is no danger of a motor vehicle running over them. Many veterans, even years after retrieving their DD-214, are still hesitant to step on the grass for fear that a crusty E-9 will leap out from behind a tree and shine on them.

Commanding Sgt. Maj. Kenton Franklin, command sergeant major of the 115th Fires Brigade, introduces Governor Dave Freudenthal of Wyo. a state flag that was flown on Veterans Day and a reflective sash at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, Nov. 11. He visited the base with other governors on a Secretary of Defense-sponsored trip to Kuwait and Iraq to see first-hand the conditions under which service members operate.

Grooming standards, in particular: Haircuts

Next, we need to discuss haircuts and styles. Although the rules are different for each branch, there are a lot of “dumbs” to work around. The Marine Corps expects you to show up every Monday morning with a new haircut, although it says nothing about “weekly” visits to the barber anywhere in the order. Unsurprisingly, most branches relaxed grooming standards during the COVID pandemic, with the exception of the Marine Corps, which eventually caught the attention of members of Congress (although nothing came of it). . It’s a miracle we even won WWII without everyone having a high and tight, but we did.

The Army, Navy, and Air Force have pretty vague language regarding hair regulations, but all that does is give leadership the ability to interpret them however they see fit, which means make them stricter than the orders stipulated. This usually leads to troops really having no idea what is right or wrong and spending a lot of time trying to figure it out.

One of the main arguments for strict rules on haircuts is that they instill discipline, or are in some way a measure by which discipline can be measured. Either way, it doesn’t make any sense. Look, if you can’t discipline your troops because they don’t have a new haircut, you’re the problem, not them.

Men aren’t the only ones subject to stupid hair rules; females have just as many if not more stupid rules to follow. Updos and bobs, bangs and braids, there are so many rules that I won’t even try to decipher them all. At least they are updated, except for the Marine Corps of course.

A female soldier wears a ponytail with a helmet and gas mask.
U.S. Army Capt. Irene Mallet, UH-60 pilot and company commander, assigned to the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, Wings of Victory, dons her protective mask during a simulated chemical attack against headquarters during Exercise Swift Response, part of DEFENDER_Europe 21, at Bezmer Airfield, Bulgaria, May 10, 2021. (U.S. Army photo by Maj. Robert Fellingham)

Beards. We have to talk about beards.

Then there is the issue of shaving and beards. There are a few exceptions for religious or medical reasons, or if you’re a special high-speed hat type, but overall beards are prohibited. Why? Because of the gas mask gasket? There is a simple solution to this: if you are downstream or on a ship, then you shave. Just write the command to limit the length with some other verbiage to ensure a neat appearance and it wouldn’t matter. Whoever writes the order should also add that if you have patchy hair, you’re not allowed, and neither are goats…we need to at least have some respect for ourselves.

There is also a priority to allow beards. There are several foreign militaries that allow beards like the British Royal Air Force, Canadian Armed Forces, Germans, Norwegians (who can also have ponytails, even if they are men), and many more . So why not the United States? Beards were allowed in the navy until 1985, and sailors even wore them during World War II as they hunted Nazi submarines and destroyed the Japanese fleet. Is our current military disciple and professionalism so fragile that beards would see their loss? I am ready to be that this is not the case.

Some reader submissions were so good that we have to share them:

Days off (holidays) are billed to you, even for weekends or days when you would have time off anyway. It doesn’t happen in the “real world” because it doesn’t make sense.

These are the dumbest rules in the US Army

Forcing military academy students to attend football games is so stupid. Don’t even try to defend it with a superficial “esprit de corps” argument. It’s not even good football unless you’re a big fan of the triple option (which, spoiler, is almost always a race).

There’s nothing like walking past a truck in the middle of nowhere so it doesn’t hit anything but you.

These are the dumbest rules in the US Army

Imagine being this petty and literally having nothing better to do.

These are the dumbest rules in the US Army

Adapt, improvise, overcome.

These are the dumbest rules in the US Army

It happens… a lot.

These are the dumbest rules in the US Army

I had never thought of that but they are right. You’ll be yelled at for chewing gum and walking, but that’s okay if you have a huge lip stuffed full of tobacco.

These are the dumbest rules in the US Army

My personal favorite of reader submissions. Field day is the activity of the Marine Corps to make things excessively clean, which is incredibly stupid, especially since Marines still live in complete shitholes. You would have a PT on Friday morning followed by a room inspection and you had to shower and get dressed, but if the shower had a drop of water in it you would usually fail.

There are “dumb” rules worth defending. Several readers who will remain anonymous said that not being able to fraternize with officers was a stupid rule and I disagree. It boils down to this: why would you want to hang out with officers anyway, even if you are one? I get why officers would want to be enlisted because we’re just more fun, but why would anyone want to be around people who just want to chat about the OODA loop and talk about how fun college was? This is one of the few rules meant to protect enlistees, so take advantage of it and tell the officers they can’t hang out with you because it’s illegal.

Why do bad rules persist? The simple explanation is that it is nearly impossible to change rules and regulations in the military. Hell, it took an executive order from President Joe Biden to make sexual harassment a crime under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and it’s pretty obvious.

The complex explanation behind the persistence of stupid rules is that most leaders are only in place for three years, so they prioritize general issues over seemingly minor issues like uniform rules or body hair regulations. of the face.

A slightly longer explanation is that stupid rules have existed since the dawn of the professional military and will persist until the universe collapses in on itself. You can bet the troops will be complaining about them until they’re on the event horizon of the black hole that will engulf all of existence, and with it, the grass they just got yelled at. for walking.

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