Thursday, March 24, 2011

Wrong Answer

The U.S. European Command has mandated that service members assigned to Europe shall not wear their uniforms off post.

The directive specifically forbids the wearing of uniforms for travel between duty and domicile, short convenience stops, conduct of physical fitness, travel between installations, and off post messing
This is in response to the shooting earlier this month of several Air Force personnel at Frankfurt Airport.

So, in order to keep Islamic fanatics from harming our service members, we are having them take off their uniform before driving home, usually in an American vehicle, with a license plate that says "U.S." on it.  But at least they won't be wearing their uniform.  No word on a dress code that keeps PFC Snuffy from taking the Strassenbahn home wearing his Chicago Bears sweatshirt while sporting a high and tight haircut. 

Rules like this have been put in place in different places whenever the perceived threat of violence or harassment of military personnel happens.  They're usually worthless.

If a lunatic wants to kill American service members, then he is not going to be inconvenienced by not being able to just find the people in uniform.  American military grooming standards and habits make us stick out in a crowd of any civilians.  American soldiers tend to buy most of their clothing from either the PX or from American mail order companies such as Amazon, not on the local economy.  Picking the American out of a crowd of Germans at the beer fest or at the airport is trivial.

What needs to happen is for the Status of Forces Agreements (SOFA) with our NATO allies need to be re-negotiated to allow American service members to protect themselves.   Our soldiers walk around the world every day, and unless they're in a combat zone, they're usually kept unarmed by force of regulation and law.  If Germany and the other European partners can't guarantee the safety of our soldiers in their countries, which they can't, then our service members deserve the right to carry something better than their European Shoulder Bags to protect themselves.  Maybe not firearms, because why would we expect people trained to be responsible with firearms to actually be responsible with firearms, but at least a knife bigger than something from Victorinox.

Commanders who think that a half-hearted effort to camouflage their subordinates in a civilian population will protect them are worse than fools, and should know better. 


Bradley said...

Just an FYI, most of the POV, Privately Owned Vehicles, attached to the US Military now have Local National plates, with DE as the country code, and with the correct local city letter codes.

For example mine starts out with KL.

DaddyBear said...

Thanks Bradley. It's been a long time since I was in USAREUR, so things have changed.

Old NFO said...

WTFO??? Stupid... stupid...

MrG's said...

When I was in Germany, I wanted to carry concealed, but the SOFA agreement didn't give me that option, so I kept a Gerber Mark II when I would go running off post, because the occasional turk would try to screw with the GI's off post. And I wasn't going to get stabbed in the buttcheek because some turk has masculinity issues. I was there from 1986-1991.

Mulligan said...

same/similar directrive came down the pipe in the 90's for troops in asia. we couldn't travel in uniform or with any GI gear in the open.

Helen Keller could still pick out all the Americans at the tokyo airport. I doubt anyone would get demerits for erroneously targeting U.S. civilians instead of Troops.

it was stupid then and it's stupid now

DaddyBear said...

My point exactly. Americans, especially American service members, are easily identifiable when compared to the European populations in their host countries, in or out of uniform.

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