Basic-Staff Interactions

The staff did a pretty great job.
Any opinions? Stories?

This is an important one for you who were basics to work on. We staff know we did our best, but getting feedback from you all is crucial to making sure future staff are prepared to be the best of NCWG. Please take time to leave feedback about how we did our jobs. ~ C/2d Lt Larson

I especially enjoyed when basics lost thier OI and I made them report to me for a new one. I would chew them out, but the set up was quite weird. Did anyone hear a story from a basic about thier experience with the XO?
C/Col Feinstein

Wow, that's kind of surprising. I believed you guys when you said that if we lost our OI we were not getting a new one, so losing my OI (or destroying it with wear and tear) was probably my biggest concern during Encampment.

I thought that the cadet staff did a great job. I really appreciated the fact that they tried to make it tough for us. I did not want Encampment to be an easy week, I wanted to earn it. And I did. Honestly, I think the all of the yelling and stress on the first day was a good thing because it really opened the basics' eyes to how different their lives were going to be for the next eight days. I wished the staff could have yelled at individual cadets because it felt like some cadets were content to slack off because they knew they couldn't be disciplined for it.
C/TSgt Daniel Otto

Our flight sgt and commander put an incredible amount of effort into making sure our flight did their best.
Regarding uniforms:
Flight staff should make a point to give practical uniform advice to their basics. I think they should not help the basics actually do their uniforms - honestly, it opened up more opportunities to slack off if your flight staff was helping press, shine boots, etc. Even doing the female hair seemed like something that should be left to the basics. However, once again, they should give advice, and demonstrate if necessary, especially with new/insecure/inexperienced cadets. Getting advice and learning how to do your uniform really well can be a big confidence booster. The uniform advice my flight staff gave was extremely helpful.
Regarding jodies/sounding off:
At least in my flight, our flight staff assigned more advanced basics to the front element. When we were commanded to Count Off, especially during the first few days, you could hear the cadets sounding off less and less as they got farther back. Basics usually sound off more if they're next to someone who's really sounding off - cadets in the back of the flight were less motivated to sound off as many around them weren't sounding off, while those in the front were mostly very-motivated cadets and sounded off a lot, motivating other cadets nearer them in the flight. The flight staff member who's not giving the commands could help by standing in the back, near cadets who need to sound off, during jodies. It should encourage the less-motivated cadets in the back to sound off more.

Comments about cadet staff:

  • Having a 14-year-old Cadet Command Chief was pretty motivating, actually.
  • How were you supposed to know what NCO Staff was who when we were debloused and all wearing sunglasses? More importantly, how were we supposed to know who was a chief, first sgt, or just a sgt, especially on the first few days?
  • Probably the most motivating thing was when our flight staff got hoarse and still yelled louder than all of us.
  • The Staff advice/motivation speeches on Sunday to the cadets who didn't go to church were incredibly helpful.
  • What was not respect-inspiring was the staff all sitting around in the back rows joking around during those talks.
  • First Sergeants were scary. This was a good thing.

More later… C/SMSgt Holly Riley

In response to C/TSgt. Otto's comment:
While singling out a cadet in order to correct a mistake/ step out of line is highly effective, it is considered hazing by the Air Force and can be grounds for dismissal from encampment (Yes, staff can be kicked out!). This comes from the fact that many basics have never been away from home, haven't matured to the point where they can handle such stress, and have never experienced someone their own age or close to it screaming at them for something they didn't know they did wrong. This was a huge problem among the NCO's of encampment (Including me) that should not return to the 2010 encampment.
-C/2d Lt. Huneycutt

In response to C/TSgt Otto and C/2d Lt Huneycutt:
Granted, staff ought not to blow up at basics for doing things they didn't know they did wrong. In fact, I would even say staff ought not to blow up at basics at all. However, the ability to single cadets out for correction is imperative. When it comes between yelling at an entire flight for something only one cadet is doing wrong, or telling that cadet to shape up, it is better for morale to confront the cadet who is doing wrong, not everyone. Also, many times cadets knew what they were messing up on, or didn't care enough to try. By Wednesday of encampment, all basics should be sounding off, removing their covers indoors, and saluting officers. By Wednesday, they should know the difference between a first sergeant and a "sir". And that is when they ought to be corrected. It is possible to get upset with a cadet and let them know you are upset without losing your cool, though, and that is what should happen.
~C/2d Lt Larson

I agree completely. In some instances, it is paramount that a single cadet is corrected on the spot and with haste so that there isn't a chance for them to make the same mistake again. Barry, if you see this, I would like this to be one of the main topics presented to NCWG staff.
C/2d Lt. Huneycutt

Taytay, I see everything. Yes, yelling at a specific basic for an extended period of time is hazing, as is getting in the basic's face. What I think the line staff should do is yell in general at the flight for a misdeed of one basic. Then the basic can be taken aside by the flight commander (not the flight sergeant) and told to not do what they are doing wrong (like moving at attention.
C/Col Feinstein

Okay, this is what I'm thinking; don't use names, but use ranks (e.g. chief, sergeant) or say "cadet", to correct one cadet in a flight. For example, you fall out your flight, and an officer walks by. Five cadets salute, one does not. Instead of saying, "Cadets! Salute your officers!" you can say, "sergeant, salute your officers!" Or if you are drilling your flight and everyone is on step except for one cadet, don't yell at the whole flight. Say, "Cadet, get on step!" Otherwise the other cadets become angry that they are doing the right thing and still getting yelled at, and the one cadet you meant to correct may be blissfully unaware that you were speaking to him in particular. Also, in some instances, its just not feasible to fall out the cadet and have a talk with him. Other cadets already know he's messing up, what you are trying to do is call his attention to the fact that he isn't performing/is messing up. That's not hazing. Also, it can be a lot more embarrasing to be fallen out of a flight for a "talk" with the staff, then it would be to be generically corrected on the spot. Also, often if you wait to correct a cadet in private over a small matter, they won't remember what they did wrong. And they won't have the automatic chance to press into their minds the correct way to do it, either. Talks with the staff should be saved for when a cadet repeatedly makes the same mistake, or does something really bad.

For this discussion, the definition of hazing is: any conduct whereby someone causes another to suffer or to be exposed to any activity that is cruel, abusive, humiliating, oppressive, demeaning, or harmful. Department of Defense

As long as you treat all your cadets the same way, and don't call them out personally, and don't explode at them or chew them out, a quick, generic, on-the-spot correction is often the best, most beneficial way to go.

~C/2d Lt Larson

- Basics must have respect for their staff.
- Staff must earn basics’ respect – not just a matter of insignia/grade
- Staff must always respect each other.
- Any disagreements among staff should be discussed out of earshot/observation of basics.
- If the disagreement cannot be discussed, higher-ranking staff should make the decision. This helps cadets to learn proper order of authority. [Note: unless it is an important safety issue]
- Line staff should stay with their flight/squadron at all times possible.
- Support staff must act professional and earn the respect of basics as well, this is really important.
- As basics, we only saw the support staff for short periods of time, so any mistakes they made were more memorable.

More on all of this later…
Everyone keep commenting!
-C/SMSgt Riley

In response to C/SMSgt Riley's thoughts-

The idea of staff respecting staff is beyond paramount. This year, there were highly immature interactions between some staff members that jeopardized the cohesiveness of the staff in general. Each staff member was selected for his/her respective job and thus has shown that they have earned the right to hold said job. Regardless of all preexisting feelings/ opinions apropos of certain staff members, utmost respect will be expected to be shown towards one another this year.

C/2d Lt. Huneycutt

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