FirstSpear TV

Stolen Valor in AETC?

This photo by Kemberly Groue was posted last week to the US Air Force Facebook page under the heading Freestyle Friday!

The caption:

335th Training Squadron freestyle drill team members performed during the 81st Training Group drill down on the Levitow Training Support Facility drill pad at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi. Airmen competed in a quarterly open ranks inspection, regulation drill routine and freestyle drill routine. Keesler trains more than 30,000 students each year. While in training, Airmen are given the opportunity to volunteer to learn and execute drill down routines.

Here is a screenshot of the full post:

Just take the dubious activity depicted in the top photo out of the equation for a moment and concentrate on the headgear of the participants. This is where the question of stolen valor originates.

The Gray berets worn in the photo have long been solely authorized for wear by Weather Parachutists and the new Special Reconnaissance Air Force specialty.

It’s difficult to tell from the photo but the darker berets are either Blue or Black which belong to the Security Forces and Tactical Air Control Party AFSCs respectively.

Here are the appropriate passages from Air Force Instruction 36-2903 “Dress and Personal Appearance of Air Force Personnel” which governs who wears what.

Either way, it is highly unlikely that any, let alone all of the Airmen depicted in these photos are from the AFSCs in question.

This begs the question of how long this has been going on and who authorized the behavior. It’s an Air Education Training Command base and unit, a command which is generally hypersensitive to following Air Force Instructions and yet, here we are, AFI 36-2903 out the window.

I’ve got a lot of friends in all three of those communities who are proud of their careerfield heritage. Naturally, they don’t want their beret worn as an ornament for someone who isn’t in their AFSC. I can respect that. Apparently, AETC doesn’t.

Some will say it doesn’t matter. If it doesn’t, then I suppose it would be okay for troops to just put on any old doodad they think would look great in uniform. Imagine A1Cs putting stars on their caps and Master Pilot Wings on their chests.

But, it does matter, and AETC needs to put a stop to this buffoonery.

29 Responses to “Stolen Valor in AETC?”

  1. Roger says:

    WTF is “freestyle drill” and what kind of “leadership” decided to toss military bearing out with yesterday’s trash?
    Probably the same kind that installs beret vending machines in the barracks. (or dorms…)
    We are doomed.

    • GANDIS says:

      I was at Keesler in AETC in 2011. It’s from a training group drill competition. Teams from different squadrons compete in drill and the last event is a free style drill. Basically it turns into a dance contest very loosely based on drill. They are all wearing the drill team ropes. In freestyle they are allowed to dress mostly how they want for the presentation. Not saying I agree with any of it. That’s just an explanation of what is happening in those photos.

      • jbgleason says:

        “…a dance contest very loosely based on drill. In freestyle they are allowed to dress mostly how they want for the presentation. ”

        SO MUCH WRONG HERE. Not sure where to start.

      • Roger says:

        Thanks for the background info.
        Have to admit though, am stunned this is “state sponsored”. The lack of respect this fosters for the uniform is a cancer.

      • Jeff S says:

        Sounds like a modern Monty Python skit.

      • Papa6 says:

        So, it’s basically just like the “graduation” scene in Stripes?

  2. Gator59 says:

    Chicken fight?? Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot?? This can not be real.

  3. Strike-Hold says:

    Maybe they ‘self-identify’ as those career fields, in which case you can’t say boo.

    FFS.

  4. GM says:

    The AETC 2903 supplement has been allowing it for drill teams during performances only, on the basis that the AFI directs wear of the flash and crest. If there’s no devices, then it’s just a hat.

    The 335th is also the Weather schoolhouse, so the greys are probably 1W trainees.

    • Roger says:

      It’s never just a hat.
      And trainees shouldn’t be wearing it (“device” or not) until they have finished earning it.
      Anything less, and it means nothing and becomes “just a hat”.

  5. Jordan says:

    So this has been a thing for more than half a decade.

    Every single TRS under the GRP has a team that competes against each other “in a test of good order and discipline” in marching, face movements, coordination etc. as an extension to keep all the shit they learned in BMT fresh. They also would “compose” their own freestyle drill and I’m sure whatever TF that pattycake thing is a result of that.

    Ultimately, this happens each quarter in front of the group and the installation officers, to include the 1-Star presiding over Keesler.

    Good luck changing that lol.

  6. Jordan says:

    So this has been a thing for more than half a decade.

    Every single TRS under the GRP has a team that competes against each other “in a test of good order and discipline” in marching, face movements, coordination etc. as an extension to keep all that marching info they learned in BMT fresh, since this is only a Tech Training GRP. They also would “compose” their own freestyle drill and I’m sure whatever TF that pattycake thing is a result of that.

    Ultimately, this happens each quarter in front of the group and the installation officers, to include the 1-Star presiding over Keesler.

    Good luck changing that lol.

    • SSD says:

      I don’t care if they play patty cake. They need to stop wearing unauthorized headgear.

    • Marcus says:

      “So this has been a thing for more than half a decade.”

      So- about 5 years?

      You want to drill, I’m all for it. You want to freestyle and wear gear that’s not authorized, sign up for a college spirit squad.

      • GANDIS says:

        It’s been going on for over a decade.

        • AbnMedOps says:

          Yeah. And the current set of low-intensity wars have been going on for about TWO decades.

          When we get rudely smacked into a higher intensity war, we are going to get our asses handed to us in bloody, mass-casualty fashion, a humiliating defeat which will reorder world alignments and hasten the collapse of the US as a nation-state republic and free society. This shit is the bleeding scab of a fast-moving cancer rotting out our military and national will.

  7. Marcus says:

    Lower the physical standards and promote this garbage. And please don’t tell me it’s “team building”. You want to build a better team? Focus on the mission, don’t distract from it.

  8. Chuck says:

    At least if Paul Howe is wrong and these people ARE coming for the guns it won’t be much of a fight.

  9. Gary Libano says:

    I think they are JROTC, the schools in Tennessee have the same uniform.

  10. Alpha2 says:

    I don’t care what excuse the AF comes up with, you don’t wear headgear that you haven’t been authorized to wear. Period. Full stop.

  11. Stickman says:

    Why stop at headgear, why don’t they all wear the MOH because they aspire to be heroes?

    A base commander needs his or her backside kicked hard.

  12. Tank says:

    The next freestyle drill performance will probably be SWCS candidates, fresh out of SOPC, sporting green berets (no flash though, so it’s just a hat) break dancing and suggestively twerking in front of the COL. Bull Simons statue. The event will be presided over by SOCOM’s next choice for Diversity and Inclusion Chief. Candidates in the preparatory course are in the pipeline, so they pretty much deserve that green beret, right?

  13. Strike-Hold says:

    “Its just a hat.”

    Spoken like a true leg (or “hat” as the British Paras call them).

  14. Mark says:

    If one chan steal a gender then why can’t one steal an identity?

  15. FormerSOWT says:

    As a currently serving very senior NCO (now Army), I can tell you the military has become a joke. It’s disgusting the depths the upper echelon, now more worried about being politically correct, will go to show their stupidity. The hand writing is on the wall. The U.S. will get it’s ass kicked in the next real war.

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