Violating standards projects unprofessional image

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Dawn Morgan
  • 28th Munitions Squadron first sergeant
I would like to take this opportunity to point out a few common standards violations that first sergeants notice the most.

All of my references for the following items are from Air Force Instruction 36-2903, Dress and Personal Appearance of Air Force Personnel :

Uniform Pockets 

While the Air Force issues uniforms with pockets, they are intended to store small items, not your hands. If your hands are cold, ask for or purchase gloves. See Paragraph 1.3.2 for reference. 

Stocking Caps 

Stocking caps, winter hats, whatever you choose to call them, are only authorized to be worn when wearing an approved outer garment. If it is cold enough to wear a hat - put a coat on. See paragraph 3.2.4.

Improper covers 

Speaking of hats, when you are wearing one, it must sit squarely on your head with no hair protruding. This means exactly what it says; there are no exceptions when riding in vehicles. I often see Airman with tipped hats while driving - this is not correct. Again, see Table 2.2, Line 6 if there is confusion.

Women's Hair 

Concerning women with long hair, the AFI states: "... long hair should be styled in a manner that prevents loose ends from extending upward on the head. (For example: when using the claw clip or hairpins, hair will not present the appearance of a "rooster tail"; when hair is in a bun, all loose ends must be tucked in and secured; when hair is in a pony tail, it must be pulled all the way through the elastic band and may hang naturally downward, not extending below the bottom of the collar). Additionally, bangs, if worn, are not allowed to touch the eyebrows. As with all hairstyles, a neat and professional image is essential."

So... if you don't think yours or someone else's hair presents a neat and professional image, correct it. Refer to Table 1.5, Line 3 and Note 8 for need further guidance.

Winter Coats 

Gortex parkas and field jackets need to be zipped, snapped, buttoned, etc. Guidance is found in Table 2.6, Item 1. Coats are not to be left halfway open, simply because you got warm. Additionally, the only coat authorized to be worn while indoors is the lightweight blue jacket. See Table 2.1, Line 8 and Table 2.2, Line 8.

As with all standards, knowing your facts or where to find them is absolutely essential to a professional image. Also, don't be afraid to correct those who are not complying, because every individual is representing the Air Force as a whole.