Commentary

October 19, 2012

How we look in uniform can make a difference

Maintaining a professional appearance at all times while in uniform is every service member’s responsibility. Airmen have Air Force Instruction 36-2903, Dress and Personal Appearance, to assist them in sustaining a professional image.

HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. — It’s said that “a picture is worth a 1,000 words,” but what is said when a military member is wearing his uniform wrong or looks unprofessional, especially since sending information around the world is a lot quicker with today’s technology?

Being a military photographer, I’ve seen how looking good or looking bad in uniform can affect the public’s perception of the military. Maintaining a professional appearance at all times while in uniform is every service member’s responsibility, because you never know who is watching, and public opinion can be a powerful thing.

As the military continues to be in the public eye, it’s important to remember that people are looking at not only our actions but also how we look while performing those actions. If we look like a professional, we are more likely to be taken seriously; however, if we look like a slob then it may reflect negatively on the Air Force.

Air Force Instruction 36-2903, Dress and Personal Appearance, directs uniform wear. The AFI covers every uniform and variation that an Airman may wear: mess dress, service dress, blues, Airman Battle Uniforms, flight suits, physical training and maternity. Also it covers personal grooming and appearance for males and females including hair, fingernails, cosmetics, tattoos and piercings.

There are Airmen whose duties require special uniforms (such as honor guard members, food service specialists, fitness center employees, flight attendants, medical personnel, band members and more). The uniforms we see the most often are the dining facility and fitness center uniforms. Sometimes you’ll see the Airmen in the dining facility wearing a chef’s coat and cap, and in the fitness center you’ll see Airmen wearing blue t-shirts with tan pants. All of these uniforms are governed by the AFI.

When taking pictures, there are a few exceptions to the rule; for example, you wouldn’t want a “dirt boy” (also known as a civil engineer squadron heavy equipment operator) down in the dirt with a clean uniform and appearance because then the photo looks staged. You want to see them down and dirty because the job they’re performing is down and dirty.

Even though these Airmen are “dirty,” their uniform still must be within regulations. For example, if they are not wearing their tops, then their shirts still must be tucked in and they must be wearing belts and covers (if outdoors) with the correct color socks and boots.

In public affairs, we are always looking for Airmen who look and act professionally to put on camera or document (with photos and videos) to tell the Air Force story.

I know my photographs tell the story of the men and women wearing the uniform. Whether they are a civil engineer or an aircraft maintainer they are parts of a whole. While performing their jobs all of these people contribute to mission success – and with their dress and appearance they directly contribute to the reputation of the U.S. Air Force.

Keep in mind is that the military is a profession, and appearance can mean everything no matter what environment you are in. Just as a sonic boom from an F-22 Raptor can stir up public opinion, so can how you look and act while in uniform on- and off-duty.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jason Couillard

Top AF leaders speak at Nellis AFB

U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jason Couillard Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody speaks to Airmen April 7 during a town-hall style meeting at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Cody, along with Air Force Chief of...
 
 

Your BAH at work

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — Nellis Family Housing provides military families a quality home environment and amenities including a pool, playgrounds, community center, and fitness center for the enjoyment of the residents. The basic allowance for housing you transfer monthly covers rent, security patrols, fire protection, community amenities, as well as a monthly utility allocation....
 
 

Gifts between employees

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — As the summer permanent change of station season approaches, it is important all Department of Defense employees understand the ethics rules on gifts between employees. Oftentimes, a gift will be given to show appreciation to a departing individual. Although these gifts are common practice, there are applicable regulations that control their...
 

 
U.S. Air Force photo by Lorenz Crespo

Air Force Wounded Warrior Trials begin

U.S. Air Force photo by Lorenz Crespo Master Sgt. Christopher Aguilera, an Air Force Wounded Warrior participant lights the cauldron signifying the beginning of the Air Force Wounded Warrior Trails April 7 at Nellis Air Force B...
 
 

Nellis AFB goes green for Earth Day

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — The 2014 Air Force Earth Day theme is “Conserve Today — Secure Tomorrow.” The theme focuses on mission sustainability. Mission accomplishment is achieved without compromise and operates into the future without decline of the natural and man-made systems. The first Earth Day occurred on April 22, 1970, introduced by U.S. Senator...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Tam

99th SFS wins 2013 AF Large Security Forces Unit Award

U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Tam Staff Sgt. Jordan Young, right, 99th Security Forces Squadron training instructor administers pepper spray to Staff Sgt. Anthony Dykhuis, 99th SFS unit training manager, Apr...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin