Question regarding corrective action VS Hazing

I am an NCO in a small combat service support unit. I am a re class soldier from the combat arms side of the Army. I am having issues with my approaches toward correction/action and instilling discipline within my current unit. Soldiers in the unit disrespect NCOs on a regular basis and do not follow proper guidance (not from myself alone) I've tried tactics they my prior leadership utilized and have received an IG complaint against me for said actions.

These tactics include:

Scenaro 1: While conducting Land Nav training soldiers received multiple briefings on safety including staying together and being paired with battle buddies to prevent personnel loss. While transporting soldiers to training site, a soldier was not accounted for. When we looked towards his team they informed us that the soldier had informed them that he had gone to the latrine and they had simply not informed the leadership like they were instructed. After locating the individual myself and the PSG decided that since the soldiers were unable to keep track of each other and follow directions we dummy corded the teams together with 550 cord (approx 6 feet in length to prevent safety issues) Is this considered "hazing" or "demeaning" to current standards?

Scenario 2: A soldier that continued to be "snarky" and say unprofessional things after being told to quiet down. After verbal counseling did not rectify the situation I told him to do a couple push ups, then he said he was on profile and could not perform any exercises. I then said OK then the next step i took was placing a piece of duct tape over the soldiers mouth and told him if he could not control his mouth i would control it for him. Again my leaders have done similar things in the combat world and no issues arose.

After this occurred a soldier was recommended an art 15 for assaulting an NCO. She then filed an IG complaint listing the above actions and Im told that I am demeaning and "hazing" soldiers...This of course was not my intent but i feel that I'm at a loss to what creative corrective action I'm able to take..Yes i can write counseling until my computer explodes but it feels like the impact of this is very minimal especially since the officer leadership is very anti-art 15 and it feels like I'm a lawyer just trying to correct discipline issues. How do i grow as a leader and approach these situations where the impact is there but I do not take what I refer to "kid gloves" off
Original Post
I was trying to decide about the 550 cord incident but then I read the duct tape on the mouth incident, yes you are demeaning Soldiers, and just because your old chain of command did it or let it happen does not mean is right...another thing you need to consider is that the stuff you get away with in the infantry world almost never flies in the support side. By no means am I saying you should just let them run wild but at the same time you cant do the stuff you being doing...
I appreciate the clarification after self reflection Im thinking I need to "re wire" myself for this new side. Im trying to grow professionally but when i see soldiers essentially doing whatever they want and you cant: smoke, raise your voice or do corrective action that can mentally "impact" the only option is a counseling statement which only frustrates the other NCOs becuase its like talking to themselves because others "clean" there packets when they go to a promotion board. The feeling allot of us in the unit is that we have our hands tied behind our back and its like the "insane are running the asylum"

A metaphor that comes to mind is: the new model for parenting...don't physically discipline give them time outs and if they continue to be disrespectful then your a bad parent and its YOUR fault

Again I do NOT believe in abusing soldiers because in the end I am here for THEM not myself. a side not when my command addressed me in the issue I asked for advice on alternatives and they simply said "I don't know what i would have done in that situation but i wouldn't have done that"

essentially im told that im wrong but no one has an answer to what is RIGHT
I the Marines, the 550 cord would of been corrective action because for 1, it was in the interest of safety, and 2 it was correcting the initial issue. the duct tape would have been a def no go. A Marine, after being told to watch what he/she was saying and continuing to do so would have been charged with article 91, willfully disobeying a direct order from a non commissioned officer, and article 92, failure to obey a lawful direct order. I have a charge sheet on my computer and my phone for this exact reason. They dont want to listen, its their career, not mine. I understand commands are against NJPs (article 15) but is said soldier actually living by the armys core values and would you want that same soldier leading troops when shots are being fired. i certainly wouldnt.
My husband struggles with this too because he went from 11B to a support MOS. I'd have to say the 550 cord isn't really violating anything. Is it degrading? It could be argued. But I personally don't think so. As far as the duct tape goes, I'd say if it involves you putting your hands on a Soldier or their equipment/uniform, it's a no-go. I've always been in a support MOS (obviously, I'm female) but I was in an FSC for a field artillery regiment so I used to see those guys getting the snot smoked out of them but it never happened in our FSC. I personally think it's garbage, but if I were in your shoes, to stay out of trouble, I'd simply counsel the Soldiers on each offense and when you have a few negative counselings, recommend UCMJ. Since you can't make their muscles hurt or make them feel stupid, you can always take their time and money. Best of luck on the support side!
During my last months as an NCO in 2007, I was told by my NCO support channel that hazing and corrective training was changing and this was being stressed from CSMs on down. So it is interesting to see that there is still ambiguity when it comes to this. Now and days, if you drop a Soldier, you have to drop with them. If they tell you that they cannot do something due to a profile; demand that you see it and look at their limitations.

Now as a Warrant who have had NCOs and Soldiers under me, I constantly stress counselings. I was a former Marine, combat engineer and military policeman and was 101st Airborne in which you smoked Soldiers for hours in those types of units (especially if they did not have their wings). I was hazed as a Marine/Soldier and when I became an NCO, I hazed. I remember I had to low-crawl a whole parade field in 120 degree head because of another Soldier's stupidness (and that is a light event that I can recall). I had my Soldiers in Iraq hold their SAWs above their heads for hours because someone forgot their spare barrel. And I feel I was right because, I was lied to after we were outside the wire on patrol and I felt justified. But those days are long gone and I do believe the military is becoming softer and our society as a whole with all these PC changes.

Soldiers are being led again by their Squad Level leadership. Gone are safety briefs by Commanders, so I suggest that you learn to change your leadership tactics with Soldiers under your charge and mentor; use patience and develop your Soldiers (and learn to change with the times). Make them understand and that you will not tolerate insubordination and with the drawdown, Soldiers will easily get chaptered. I have had more situations with intolerable NCOs and Soldiers since 2007 and my new outlook on dealing with those situations had made me a better leader. Good luck.
You have to be very creative to effectively modify behavior with counselings and corrective training now days. Not only does the corrective training have to fit the crime but it also has to be painful enough to achieve the desired results (without being hazing). Yeah taking a Soldier out back and dusting their ass off will correct deficiencies for the short term, but we as leaders have to be able to dig to, and remedy, the root cause of the behavior. Your fellow NCO's, PSG, or 1SG should all be able to assist in this until you can shake off your old leaderships influence.
AR 600-20 Ch.4-20

4–20. Hazing The Army has been and continues to be a values-based organization where everyone is encouraged to do what is right by treating others as they should be treated—with dignity and respect. Hazing is fundamentally in opposition to our values and is prohibited. a. Definition. Hazing is defined as any conduct whereby one military member or employee, regardless of Service or rank, unnecessarily causes another military member or employee, regardless of Service or rank, to suffer or be exposed to an activity that is cruel, abusive, oppressive, or harmful. (1) Hazing includes, but is not limited, to any form of initiation "rite of passage" or congratulatory act that involves: physically striking another in order to inflict pain; piercing another’s skin in any manner; forcing or requiring the consumption of excessive amounts of food, alcohol, drugs, or other substances; or encouraging another to engage in illegal, harmful, demeaning or dangerous acts. Soliciting or coercing another to participate in any such activity is also considered hazing. Hazing need not involve physical contact among or between military members or employees; it can be verbal or psychological in nature. (2) When authorized by the chain of command and not unnecessarily cruel, abusive, oppressive, or harmful, the following activities do not constitute hazing: (a) The physical and mental hardships associated with operations or operational training. (b) Administrative corrective measures, including verbal reprimands and a reasonable number of repetitions of authorized physical exercises. (c) Extra military instruction or training. (d) Physical training (PT) or remedial PT. (e) Other similar activities. (3) Whether or not such actions constitute hazing, they may be inappropriate or violate relevant civilian personnel guidance, depending on the type of activities and the assigned duties of the employee involved. b. Scope. Hazing is not limited to superior-subordinate relationships. It may occur between peers or even, under certain circumstances, may involve actions directed towards senior military personnel by those junior in rank or grade to them (for example, a training instructor hazing a student who is superior in rank). Hazing has at times occurred during graduation ceremonies or similar military "rites of passage." However, it may also happen in day-to-day military settings. It is prohibited in all cases, to include off-duty or "unofficial" celebrations or unit functions. Express or implied consent to hazing is not a defense to violation of this regulation. c. Command responsibilities. Enforcement of this policy is a responsibility of commanders at all levels. Command- ers will devote particular attention to graduation or advancement ceremonies as well as other occasions or settings that might put Soldiers at risk for voluntary or involuntary hazing. These situations will be supervised properly, respectful
28 AR 600–20 • 18 March 2008/RAR 4 August 2011
of all participants, perpetuate the best of the traditions that the Army embraces, and leave all participants and spectators feeling proud to be a member of or associated with the U.S. Army. d. Command options. This paragraph is punitive with regards to Soldiers. Violators of this policy may be subject to UCMJ, ART. 92 (Failure to obey a lawful general order or regulation). Other applicable UCMJ articles include UCMJ, ART. 80 (Attempts), UCMJ, ART. 81 (Conspiracy), UCMJ, ART. 93 (Cruelty and maltreatment), UCMJ, ART. 124 (Maiming), UCMJ, ART. 128 (Assault), UCMJ, ART. 133 (Conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman), and UCMJ, ART. 134 (Drunk and disorderly conduct, and/or Soliciting another to commit an offense). Civilian employees who violate this policy may also be subject to adverse action or discipline in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. Commanders should seek the advice and counsel of their legal advisor when taking actions pursuant to this paragraph
Physical Corrective Training IAW 3-22.20 PRT is not considered Hazing. No, you cant say "smoking a Soldier" anymore but Corrective Physical Training IS authorized.

AR 600-20 paragraph 4-6:

Corrective training must be related to the offense, oriented to improve the substandard performance, Can be after hours, can only be implemented until the deficiency is corrected.

AR 600-20 paragraph 4-20:

When authorized by the chain of command and when not unnecessarily cruel, abusive, oppressive or harmful, the following do not constitute hazing: administrative corrective measures including a reasonable number of repetitions of authorized physical exercises.

FM 7-22:

Corrective training is often used incorrectly resulting in over training or overuse injuries. These sessions are not smoke sessions. Authorized exercises include: Rower, Squat Bender, Windmill, Prone Row, Push up, V-up, Leg Tuck and Twist, Supine Bike, Swimmer, 8 Count Push up. Only these exercises may be selected. The number of repetitions should not exceed 5.
You deserved to get an IG complaint for duct taping somebody's mouth. I don't care if it's a support MOS or Combat Arms MOS, this is still a NO GO. The 550 Cord incident wouldn't be that big of a deal if you were kidding around when you made them tie themselves together. Remember these soldiers are TRUSTING you to guide them forward. As it has already been said, if a soldier doesn't want "verbal counseling", then put it on paper. Plain and simple.
550 cord, no issue. Safety and training related.

The duct tape, NO GO. Tell them they are unable to speak to you or they must write all their communication to you but not duct taping their mouth. Too many NCOs rely on what used to be done or what they think may work but not on what they have learned or studied. From a medical or behavioral health standpoint, duct tape is not the answer.

I had a combat arms Soldier come into a clinic I worked at for a routine appointment. He was acting very agitated and irritable. I looked up his medical record for the PA to review before his visit and found the Soldier had been seen for PTSD related to childhood event, not combat. He had a physical reaction to the sound of duct tape or the tearing of tape as a result of his childhood abuse.

Add Reply

Likes (0)