May I see your ID please?

July 17, 2008

Today, after I completed my workout at the gym, I went to the NEX (the Navy’s version of a PX or BX) to buy some jerky and a Gatorade.  I was wearing my cammies at the time, with my rank identifying me as a Marine Captain.  Walking through the check-out line, the clerk at the register asked me to produce my military ID to prove that I was a member of the military.

I, of course, produced it.  But why the heck does she need to see it?  Does she think that I bought my cammies and boots (worth about $140) just so I can buy Gatorade at the NEX?  Are my military uniform, military haircut, military appearance, and military bearing insufficient to prove that I’m probably a member of the military, and consequently deserve the privilege to purchase some Gatorade and jerky at a NEX?

I understand the requirements for proper identification in certain places.  I understand why the TSA might be interested in my identity when I travel.  I understand that if I make a moving violation in my car, the law enforcement officer might want to know who I am.  I understand that the Navy’s security guards who monitor traffic entering naval installations have every right to require that I produce identification.  I even understand why a register clerk at a NEX would want to verify my identity when I am wearing civvies.

However…

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On Professionalism

July 6, 2008

Col Mike Wyly, of the Marines, has written a piece in Armed Forces Journal on the nature of Professionalism, using Boyd as the exemplar of the subject.  The article is completely correct, and is worthy of reading by all military men.

One of my pet peeves regarding “Professionalism” is the supreme misunderstanding of what the term implies.  On the eve of my first deployment in 2004, my detachment Officer-in-Charge, a Major, took the 43-Marine detachment aside and told us his expectations, which he said could be summarized on two words:  “Be Professional.”  Unstated were what his ideas of what professionalism entailed.  To him, Professionalism meant keeping the appearance of a Marine, combined with a touch of CYA:  Keep hair short, uniforms serviceable, be tactful, and do what you need to do to keep the detachment out of trouble.

This conception of Professionalism is wrong.

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