Basic-SM Interactions

There were times when our senior members would basically push the flight staff aside and make us break regulations for sleep/showers/food/etc because of their rules.
This confused a lot of cadets and made us wonder who to have respect for.

Does a basic have "rights"? Did senior members have rules for interacting with cadets?

Let's hear the stories of when SMs would push flight staff aside and make basics break regulations.
C/Col Feinstein

Got it.
It was 9:00 one night and our flight staff was yelling at us to get into bed when Lt Col Ingram and Capt Zobel walked in and said they had some things to take care of. Flight staff, of course, told them of the regulations, but didn't really seem to have any power over the two SMs. It made me as a cadet wonder who was really in charge.
They kept us up for at least another 20 minutes talking about their "concerns" about things that were obviously the cadets' individual and personal decisions. (For example: sleeping on top of our sheets so our bunks would still be basically perfect in the morning)

Sleeping on top of the sheets is not a concern of the SMs. That is pure training. If you didn't know, we make you sleep under your sheets so you have to make your rack each day. There is really nothing that could have been done by the flight staff or basics. Hopefully, we can establish the standing orders which would then force the SMs to not do those things.
C/Col Feinstein

Another story:
I think it was the 3rd night of encampment when I took a personal issue I had with another cadet to my TAC Officer. I asked her to keep it completely private between me and her and she agreed. After about 10 minutes of talking my flight staff walked by and she called them over and explained the situation to them, saying they "needed to know this."
Also 1st Sgt Larson walked by and another SM and they got the full story too.
I'm not sure if they actually "needed" to know or not, but the point is, wasn't my TAC Officer required to keep it confidential? That's sort of why I went to her in the first place - not because I absolutely needed someone to act and fix the situation, but because I needed to sort of get it out to someone so I didn't end up getting in a fistfight with another cadet.
So what was the "right thing" in this situation?

The TAC officer is not required to keep your secrets and problems. Though she shouldn't have done that, she was technically able. The best move would have been to talk to the Chaplain, who is legally required not to tell someone. And honestly, Chaplain Fleage is way cooler than Mama Zobel.
C/Col Feinstein

SMs reprimanded our flight sergeant on many different occasions for saluting them as we passed, or when they walked over. He was following regulations, but several of them seemed annoyed by having to return salutes. I even heard one SM tell our flight sergeant to "Use you brain, son. Stop saluting every time you walk past me." This lack of respect toward our flight sergeant, let alone the regulations, felt an awful lot like a double standard to us basics, and made it hard for us to respect these certain SMs.
-C/TSgt Daniel Otto

One thing that really frustrated me was the senior members kept getting upset with our jodies. Personally, I don't see a problem with rivalry jodies as long as language is clean and they don't get personal. But most senior members were upset if we talked down another squadron (i.e. fail jodie) or flight. I even got in trouble for doing jodies that talked about how awesome our squadron was, and was told that we need to praise the other squadron and make them feel good. Isn't that THEIR staff's job, not MINE? Jodies are a way to motivate cadets. They aren't motivated if we talk about how awesome the other squadron/flight is.

Another thing that irritated me was when senior members got upset with staff or basics for saluting them. If a SM didn't want to be saluted, he should declare himself "in the area" or just stay away from the other cadets, instead of standing on the walkway or walking back and forth between flights. Also, I was annoyed when they cut in line in front of the basics to eat. I think this was unacceptable. And a key rule of leadership is to make sure your followers/basics are taken care of before yourself; this would include making sure the cadets were able to eat before they had to leave for their next activity.

A third item which should never have occured was senior members correcting or contradicting cadet staff to basics or in front of basics. If the SM has a problem with something the cadet staff (CS) said, they need to talk privately to the CS and get it worked out there, not do it in front of the basics, which leaves them wondering who really is in charge, and tears down their respect for their staff which CS worked so hard to build. Also, there is NEVER a reason for a SM to tell a cadet their CS is wrong, or is incapable, or in some other way not fit to be followed. EVER. Period. And there was some of this going on too. If a SM has a problem with CS, that SM needs to speak privately to the CS and get it worked out. The basics should never know there is a disagreement.

~ C/2d Lt Larson

On the positive side, I thought Capt Wuerffel did an excellent job with the Moral Leadership session on Wed. or Thurs. night.
-C/TSgt Daniel Otto

I agree with Sgt Otto about Capt Wuerffel's great Moral Leadership job.
To sum things up so far -

  • Senior members made staff's job harder and made basics wonder where to place their respect. Basics should always respect both their staff and SM's. Staff and SMs may have to work out their relative authority with each other during encampment, but can we require Staff and SMs not to argue in front of cadets (unless it's a serious safety issue)?
  • Especially when it comes to SM rules that are made up on the spot, what are a basic's "rights" that cannot be refused by a SM?
  • Even though staff thought we basics were incredibly stupid at times, I always had the impression that they respected us. Not so for the Senior Members. How can we stress to the SMs to respect cadets?

C/SMSgt Holly Riley

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