Should a Spouse Correct a Servicemember?


You know the rules. You may even know them better than most. But you’re not a servicemember. You’re the servicemember’s spouse. Are you allowed to correct another servicemember in public when he is out of regulation?

We’ve all been there: you’re out running errands around town and run into a servicemember whose conduct is so far out of those regulations your spouse is constantly nitpicking over that you just can’t stop staring. Hey, that uniform is a matter of pride, after all (that’s why some find uniform purses so tackalicious) — and the dude that is wearing it in front of you is dissing it in one way or another. Maybe he’s wearing it all wrong (like the JROTC cadets I saw in Army ACUs yesterday with rolled-up sleeves! Silly children). Maybe he is drunk off his rocker and making a scene — instead of conducting himself the way the uniform demands.

Or maybe, like the instance noticed by our friend over at USMC Life, he is wearing it in the wrong setting.

Last night, right before I headed off to bed, USMC Life put this question on their Facebook page:

I saw a Marine in his cammies out in town, picking up his child from the same place my daughter attends. I’m not a Marine, but it felt weird seeing him out (like my pride was hurt) knowing this wasn’t authorized. Should I have said something, even though I am a spouse of a Marine?

When I got up this morning there were more than 100 comments giving this blogger a piece of their mind. Some said “yes.” Most said “NO.”

The Marine Corps’ rules about where and when the uniform is to be worn are more stringent than those of others services, such as the Army. For example, according to this regulation, the uniform may only be worn in a civilian setting during a “bonafide emergency” or in a vehicle to and from duty. They are allowed to wear it in a drive-thru, but they are not allowed to run other errands in it. Members of other services like the Army, on the other hand, can wear the uniform immediately after duty hours to almost anywhere under most circumstances.

So when the blogger saw the Marine picking up his child, she knew it was out of regulation. And since we all know (and have had to wait a long time for our husbands in the past thanks to) the rules, she wanted to say something.

I can see where the desire to do that comes from. Once Upon a Time, when I was pregnant, hormonal, exhausted and ready to hurl at any moment, I witnessed pair of MALE soldiers drive into the commissary parking lot, pull into the “expectant mother” spot, get out of their car and attempt to saunter confidently into the store. I say “attempt” because they never made it. I yelled “EXCUSE ME — WHICH OF YOU IS AN ‘EXPECTANT MOTHER?!'” and watched them do a walk of shame back to their car and move it to another spot (ha!).

Victory! Justice for all! Etc.

I won’t lie — it felt pretty rad to be on the right side of the rules (even though, technically, no parking spots other than “general officer” and handicap are enforceable under post regulations). I felt like Ruler of the World putting the smack down on those little dudes who thought they were going to steal a parking spot from someone who felt as equally disgusting as I did.

But was it the right thing to do? Was it my place? Probably not.

It was a pretty safe assumption to say that neither one of those dudes were pregnant. But I’m having a hard time coming up with another example in which I can say that I will, beyond a shadow of a doubt, know all of the circumstances around the situation to the point that I can correct someone I don’t know for doing something we assume to be wrong. Think of all the stories you’ve heard about amputee servicemembers with injuries hidden under long pants parking legally in handicap spots, only to be called out by a well meaning community member. You do not want to be the person who takes the walk of shame after the wounded warrior shows you his injury.

But that’s not even the biggest reason for a spouse not to say something to an out of regulation servicemember.

The biggest reason, in my personal opinion, is that you are not the boss of him/her. This isn’t a life or death situation. This isn’t a “see something, say something” terrorist watch. This is a regulation. Roll with it.

What do you think? Should a spouse correct an out of line servicemember?

About the Author

Amy Bushatz
Amy is the editor in chief of’s spouse and family blog A journalist by trade, Amy also covers spouse and family news for where she is the managing editor of spouse and family content. An Army wife and mother of two, Amy has been featured as a subject matter expert on, NPR, Fox News, NBC, CBS, ABC and BBC as well as in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post. Follow her on twitter @amybushatz.
  • Vanna

    Although it may seem annoying especially when you know they are just plain wrong in doing so. It is important to remember they earned the right to wear that uniform. Even though I am a pretty awesome spouse, it is in no way my place to correct them. I wouldn’t say something unless it was some sort of circumstance that immediately harmed the well being or safety of my family or me.

  • StarlaRose

    Even if the Marine was a lower rank it still does not give a spouse, a civilian, the right to correct them. It really bothers me the author of that post on USMC Life was so quick to judge based on what she saw, rather than what she might not know. For all we know there COULD be an emergency that has taken place, and he had to pick up his child. Should the child have to wait for Daddy to change into civies? Sorry, but I don’t think that’s fair to the child. No one knows what’s happened except the Marine and his spouse. He’s not going out to a bar in his uniform, he is not doing anything that is disrespecting to the Corps…he’s picking up his child. This is why a lot of us, MILSpouses, get a bad rap; people like that author butt into other peoples business when they need to mind their own.

    • Damsel

      Exactly. Maybe the emergency had to do with his child, and that’s why he was there in uniform!

    • William

      All I care about is what I see. any nebulous thing I don’t know does NOT matter until I discover it. He has an emergency? Show me! I stopped a commander once for talking on his cellphone as he was walking ( legal now, wasn’t then). He “had an emergency”. His house was in an area with a hurricane. I sympathize, but that was no excuse for violating the ban on walking and talking in uniform. He was furious, but my chief and divo backed me up when he brought it to my CO. The captain said “all you had to do was stop walking and my sailor would have left you alone to finish your conversation”. Instead, he had a uniform infraction chit routed up through his CO as well as the base CO, and so both of them knew he was being unprofessional.

      • OS2

        You are a douche. You should grow up and learn to control your childish instinct to “get even” with someone who outranks you because you did not put in the time and effort to be in charge. If i was your LPO, i would have backed you, and then given you a few extra watches to remind you of your place in the food-chain. Grow up, and you may learn that your constant nitpicking of those that outrank you, just makes you look like an idiot, and weakens the Military as a whole.

        • William

          You don’t know me, and you make several poor assumptions. The CMAA shop wasn’t busy enough, so they had us out LOOKING for infractions. I did what I was ordered to do. Your failure to understand the regs that require us to point out the infractions of seniors contributes to the decline of the military. Do a little investigation before making sweeping condemnations, Only Sweepers second class.

        • michaelzwilliamson

          So, regs don’t apply to commanders? Where is that in the UCMJ or your Branch regulations? Can you show me that cite?

        • William

          Very grown up of you, and it’s amazing how much you know about someone you’ve never met. Unfortunately, it’s all wrong and poor guesses on your part. I’d be surprised if you’ve ever been an LPO. I have, at several commands.

      • Debbie

        “any nebulous thing I don’t know does NOT matter until I discover it.” Who died and made William God?

        • William

          You did! We all have to react to what we see, not what might or might not exist that we don’t. Anything less paralyzes us and prevents action.

      • The difference, William, is that you were a service member. The article was about a spouse correcting a service member. I have been a spouse, and a military member. The spouse should never correct the service member unless it is a horrifying breech of discipline or honor. As a retiree, I would not correct a soldier/service member even if I knew someone was incorrect. If I knew the person I might jokingly correct him or her about an infraction or say something off to the side nicely to correct but call someone out? Not my place anymore and it is never the spouse’s place.

    • Sniper88

      StarlaRose, I agree with you. I am a 74 years old retired first sgt. I still remember the resentment that I felt in the 60’s, as a young airman, when some of the officers wives thought it was their place to ( run the base). It was common knowledge on one Air Force base that the base commanders wife made the decisions; not the commander.

  • I try — difficult though it may be when I know I am right and the other person is wrong and, most importantly, I am SO right — to view such situations as opportunities to display my prowess at staying the heck in my own lane. ;-)

  • mel

    I am not in the military, so I would not reprimand a servicemember for being out of regulation. I am aware of those regulations, but it’s none of my business. I would consider this practice by a spouse to be presumptuous and obnoxious. Some may consider it being helpful to have them correct it before a fellow servicemember sees the infraction, but every servicemember is responsible for learning the rules and following those rules. It is not our job as spouses to protect them from actions.

  • Zman

    I didn’t know there was more than one version of wrong or out of regs. Wrong is wrong. If you drove by a cop without out his seatbelt on driving would you say something or just let it go? This is just another reason the Military is getting weak, scared to make a correction.

    • Cds

      If you’ll take another look, you’ll see the question is if a SPOUSE should make the correction. Service members should still be watching and making contact with each other if something’s wrong.

  • William

    If you KNOW they’re wrong, you SHOULD say something. But don’t ‘SHIPMATE!!!!” them. Walk up, say conversationally, “You know that the regs prohibit what you’re doing right now”. Now, as a servicemember, I can go further, and demand to see their ID, get their name, their command, and the name of their supervisor, and report them, and have done so. As a spouse, reminding them that they’re in the wrong is as far as you can and should go. But turning a blind eye encourages wrong behavior. Your spouse will continue to gripe about following rules others ignore if you ignore them, too.

    • Jared

      Demand to see their ID? haha, not unless you are military police! You would get laughed at!

      • William

        Anyone senior to you cn make you show it; they just have to show theirs. And go ahead and laugh, until they call those MPs. Then you’re looking at insubordination, disrespect, and failure to obey lawful written and verbal orders.


    Not to sound rude here, but the facts are what there are! Common sense and not your sense of pride should dictate on how you treat others. Bottom Line is you do not have the right to correct anyone other than yourself, you don’t know the other person’s circumstances so it’s best if just mind your own business!!!

  • Michael

    What a stupid question!! Only a weird, abusive spouse would order things with their spouse!! And I don’t think deep down you have both spouses serving that they actually correct each other, unless they are losers in their own minds!! And if you let your, spouse order you around your a weak military individual and shouldn’t wear a uniform!!!

  • William

    If I don’t know another service’s rules, I ask the servicemember I suspect of violating the regs what they are, so hopefully they’ll think about it. But I do know the rules for my own service, and will challenge even senior officers tactfully. I asked a captain at a casino buffet if the regulations for the old woodland greens had changed to permit their wear in that venue, and told an admiral that wearing his flight suit to Wal-Mart set a bad example for the junior officers and enlisted I was always meeting there in THEIR flight suits. On the other hand, I’ve also had to tell a master chief that my command had ordered me to wear my NWU type IIIs to the airport to pick up sailors while on duty, and the reg he cited referred to liberty wear. So even when you know what the rules are, sometimes others have a different interpretation and will challenge YOU, too. I still say spouses should at least bring up the issue with offenders, so long as they don’t act like they have any authority.

    • Karen

      Spouses have no business saying anything!!! Period. It is not their place! Period. If they want to join the military and start correcting people then so be it. But if you have the nerve to butt into someone else business and you don’t know what his story is, walk away! I hate meddling spouses, when it comes to the military. Especially when you got the wife talking for her man, cause he doesnt have any spine to speak up of himself!!!

  • SemperSteen

    If I heard a military spouse “correcting” a servicemember I would say something to the spouse, because that is not acceptable. I don’t care who their husband is or what business they think they have doing that, no spouse has that right and they should know better.

    • JAW6541

      Hey SemperSteen were you a Marine Officer stationed at MWWU-3 in Yuma AZ? This is John Winberry.

    • William

      ANYONE seeing something wrong should be able to SAY something. “Hey, soldier, is that in the regs?” is perfectly acceptable, and I would say something to YOU for harassing a spouise saying that to a servicemember in the wrong. Now, a spouse saying “IAW article such & such, you are in violation…” is going too far, and I’d agree with you.

      • Stephan

        Then we should correct you. Marines are not soldiers, they are Marines. Thank you for your service but please, if you want us spouses to correct a wrong, there you go.

        • William

          You make the assumption I am speaking to a marine. I’m generalizing. I see members of all services regularly. So I occasionally have to say something about uniforms or conduct to soldiers, airmen, marines, sailors, and coasties. And, btw, marines ARE soldiers, just a specialized subset – Venn diagram theory.

          • Debbie

            William – you are incorrect – to the point I question your claim of military service.

          • William

            Debbie, you are buying propaganda when you accept the “marines are not soldiers” rhetoric. My service is not in question.

  • Cathy

    Maybe instead of correcting them for being out of regs it would be more appropriate to thank them for their service because we of all people know the sacrifice they are making for us and our country. We will always find what we are looking for and I think we would all be a little happier if we spent our time looking for the corageous acts rather than the little slip ups. We all make mistakes and I have to admit having a stranger point it out has never helped me, it has just upset me. Just my 2 cents

    • William

      Bad philosophy. If a stranger pointing out your mistakes angers you, grow up. Accept constructive criticism gracefully, and ignore malicious criticism.

  • Katie

    If it was someone I knew, I would politely remind them in a “hey, I don’t want you to get in trouble” kind of way. Other than that, I’m just not that gutsy though there are times I would desperately like to reprimand soldiers for “acting a fool” be in in or out of uniform. We are stationed in Hawaii and even out of uniform, you know who’s who. I used to work food service and there were times I would “forget” to mention the discount if they acted or dressed especially trashy. (Granted, we weren’t supposed to remind customer of the discount anyway, but hey I’m a spouse, I’m going to do it anyway.) Did I feel bad that I didn’t give someone a discount that fights for our country? Sometimes. But for Christ’s, sake be proud of YOURSELF and what you do for a living.

    • Debbie

      “But for Christ’s, sake be proud of YOURSELF and what you do for a living” Nice.

  • jared

    As a veteran and current military spouse, the answer is NO! A spouse has no rank, and therefore no authority to correct service members about strictly military affairs. In short, it is none of the spouse’s business, and will only cause a scene.

  • Stephanie

    It is a matter of pride to me that if they stand next to my husband on the front time then they should at least know how to wear their uniform properly. I would correct them because I find it offensive when one blatantly does not follow rules. Being a marine is a service, BUT it is also a responsibility and a privilege. I may not be able to enforce it, but I will make a fool of them in public if they try it multiple times. Just because they wear a uniform doesn’t mean they should wear it everywhere.
    This comes from what my mother raised me on, she being a retired marine as well. She also finds it offensive when marines wear their cammies out of place.

    • mel

      And you know what they are going to say to you when you try to make them look like a fool? They are going to say “who the hell are you?” and walk away without changing a thing. I am always amused when a Marine gives my husband attitude when he makes a correction. They always get that foot in the mouth moment when they find out who he is and he asks to see their ID. You do not have the pull that a Marine would have when giving a correction. They are going to look at you like a busybody wife who thinks she deserves the same respect as her Marine husband. Let the Marines police themselves.

      • spouse2000

        Stephanie – you need to join and earn the rank – right now you are nothing. Do you also correct boyscouts and girlscouts?

        • William

          No rank needed to point out something wrong.

    • Debbie

      Stephanie, I find it offensive when a spouse wears the service/rank of her husband. (you never, ever see male spouses do this. They must have lives or something). How about you get off your back and join up yourself?

    • Troy

      I always get a kick out of the “do you know who my husband is?” ladies. They may mean a little something to their fellow spouses, but to the members, they pretty much mean squat. Now, if they want to come off as caring about the member getting in trouble, that’s fine. Marines, on the other hand, probably know better than members of other branches what’s right and wrong since it’s drilled into their heads from the day they step onto the yellow footprints. If they’re out in town in uniform, they either know they’re wrong and it was unavoidable, or they just don’t care and need to be taken out back and shown the regs.

    • Ruth

      You better enlist cause your mama and your man don’t count in giving you any rank. Best moment of my career was when the Base Commander told his wife to move out of line at the Exchange to let me through the Military In Uniform line!

  • spouse2000

    How dare a spouse or anyone else correct a service person!!

    • Sheena

      Unless it was the service person’s boss.

      My husband “corrects” people below him, as in who he works with and whose ranks are under my husband’s. He even makes them shave with a cheap razor if they forget to shave, hoping it’s a reminder for next time.

      • spouse2000

        Well gosh – anyone would correct a subordinate. Not really what we are talking about here.

    • William

      If they’re wrong, they SHOULD be corrected. Back in the 80s, when the army wasn’t allowed out in town in cammies, I saw it all the time. It was a military town, we all knew they were wrong. But your attitude supported their misbehavior.

  • Tara

    This article and many of the comments are for sure focusing on the uniform aspect of things–and I say a firm NO to whether a spouse would EVER comment on a uniform related issue to another servicemember. Never!
    However, it also was referring to misconduct. If I did see a group of guys out (or on base) that I recognized as from my husbands unit, and they were doing something so far out of bounds that it required me saying something, I would speak up. One example that comes to mind was when I would often see groups of servicemembers out on the town–if I saw they about to drive drunk or were in a situation where they were about to get booted out of a bar or restaurant, I would say something–mostly just to keep them safe and keep them from getting into trouble! But beyond extreme circumstances, I would not intervene–we all need to be accountable for our own actions and as long as they aren’t putting others safety at risk or about to be arrested or something….then its none of my business. However, that is pretty much the same thing I would do if I saw a group of civilians I recognized out in that situation!

  • Theadore

    One point that I see no one comment on, and perhaps not this issue, is the use of handicapped parking. Without regard to the designated space being on base/post or off the use of the space is governed by the traffic laws of the state, district, territory, or country in which the military facility is located. And all that I am aware of will issue a sticker, or placard,or license plate of some form, according to the laws of that state In most cases this requires the operator or passenger for whom the vehicle is being operated is disabled and a certification signed by a doctor or other authorized individual be on file or available to any law enforcement officer so requesting. The problem with this is that most people believe this means a person on crutches or in a wheel chair. I know of a group of hearing impaired people that felt that should apply to them because then they could park in the handicapped spaces by their office building, and not have to walk from the parking structure. The first requirement for a placard in that state was the inability to walk 80 feet with out stopping to rest, or if the individual was required to use portable oxygen. The Director of Disability Resources at that school took the personal position that if you were in a wheelchair, either electric or hand powered and had no difficulty getting around campus then you did not need disabled parking on her campus. That director was in a wheel chair, had an artificial breathing device, and an electric motor on her chair.

    The point is that the placard is not limited to people on crunches or wheelchairs but includes those individuals with mobility problems. So the next time you see an otherwise healthy individual get out of a vehicle parked in a handicapped space check first for a placard or license plate. And if you must stop an individual and inquire about their disability first you might remind them that they forgot to display their placard, if this brings a blank stair. Then you might consider asking them what their disability accommodation is. And this is the only question you as a spouse may ask, As for the current crop of wounded warriors, if they are still in uniform then two situations are possible. They have completed a physical review and are fit for service or they have failed the physical review board and are not fit for service. As such they should qualify for a handicapped placard.

    Medical Retired 1985

  • Jon

    I would just tell the spouse go f… off.

    • William

      And you would not only be wrong for doing so, you’d be a classless troglodyte, an embarrasment to the service, and subject to correction from any servicemember who saw you do it.

  • GregG

    How many GI’s carry their civies with them to change into after work? The AF has made it a reg that quick errends are allowed in cammies/flight suits, with the intent to get in and get out. Common sense? I would hope so, because I do it.

  • In this case, absolutely not… I am a former servicemember, and with this guy picking up his kid – who knows if there were circumstances… I would not have said a word. Have I corrected soldiers before? You betcha… it peeves me to no end to see a soldier without his headgear outside… If you’re gonna be a soldier, be one when no one is looking. When I do say something, it is from a point of being a former officer, not as a milspouse though… don’t know if that makes a difference, don’t care. My husband changes his clothes before he leaves work, but if he’s going to pick up the children… that might not happen…

    • William

      In the navy, childcare is one of the legal occasions for wear. But if I have any doubts, I’ll ask. They may try to blow smoke, assuming they can make up army or marine regs and I won’t know. I may not know, but if they know they were wrong, I hope it’ll affect their behavior later, and if they were too stupid or ignorant to know better, maybe me questioning them will make them look it up.

  • balaso

    I am both a veteran and a military spouse. When I was an NCO, it was my job to enforce standards, correct violations. Since I have become a spouse and no longer active duty, I refrain from correcting violations. Believe me, it isn’t easy. Having been out of the military for less time that I was in, it is hard to break the habit of correcting. However, I refrain because it is no longer my job to do so. It is for the military members to make the corrections, they are bound by regulation to do so. The military spouse is not involved with military regulation any more than a spouse of an employee of a civilian corporation would have the right to hand out work assignments.

    As a side note concerning the expectant mother parking spot. As you stated, the spot is not protected by military regulation, and therefore you were not attempting to enforce such regulations. You were however, reminding two young men that there is a thing called common courtesy and that they should consider the hardship they are causing by acting in such a rude manner. You did a civic duty, not a military one and as such were well within your rights.

  • Doc2/12

    Stay in your lane. Pick your battle. Both accurate ways of looking at this issue. Military courtesy… now that is something that applies to both military members and their civilian spouses. Regs in each service indicate proper decorum should be given, so if a violation worth note is observed the proper and polite thing would be to address the issue in a tone of proper deference to rank and position. On the spot corrections are a duty of every service member, but are always a matter of tact.

  • Chuck

    The author offered a great example of a community correction with the expectant mother parking spot; and, in my opinion, offered a better resolve for other spouses, you might be the boss of YOUR husband, but no other soldier or service person (male or female) stay in your lane and let soldiers police soldiers, or marines, airmen or sailers. You have no official status. If you want to make the corrections, earn the right by serving yourself, otherwise, bite your tongue.

  • Patrick

    1st. as far as making a correction about the parking spot, I think you were right on! those parking spots are yours as much as mine on post. However for a spouse to “correct” a soldier in uniform I think youll find tha answer is definately a NO.. Frankly as a Soldier for the better part of 19 yrs I dont even like retired soldiers correcting me. The only correcting to be done is by current soldiers within the ranks. That being said its a shame that todays NCO corps is seriously lacking the integrity needed to do that especially when there are spouses out there willing to do it! A note on that though, I see nothing wrong with poitely approaching a soldier and letting them know they are out of whatever regulation it may be. and frankly if its an NCO or an Officer nneding the correcting, they deserve the embarasement it may cause….

    • William

      I think we have a difference of interpretation here. For me, ‘correcting’ may mean casual mention up through a written counseling, and it sounds like you mean it as more of a formal verbal counseling to a written counseling. Yeah, spouses have no authority to come on like gangbusters and try to make a report, but anyone in the wrong should have the good grace to accept a spouse or retiree pointing out something wrong, as long as they don’t try to complain to your CO (unless your response to them is nasty enough to justify complaining on THAT score).

  • Mavinten

    What if you are a spouse that is a Veteran? Do you think they have the right to correct military members?

    • A “right”? No, veterans do not have the “right” to make uniform corrections. If you wanted to be in a military leadership position and make on the spot corrections regarding uniforms, rendering courtesies of the day, etc., perhaps you should have stayed in the military. I was in for almost 25 years and although I might roll my eyes at some of the things I’ve seen since I took off the uniform, I know it’s not my place as a veteran or retiree to correct anyone.

  • freakydeaky

    “The Marine Corps’ rules about where and when the uniform is to be worn are more stringent than those of others services, such as the Army. For example, according to this regulation, the uniform may only be worn in a civilian setting during a “bonafide emergency” or in a vehicle to and from duty. They are allowed to wear it in a drive-thru, but they are not allowed to run other errands in it. Members of other services like the Army, on the other hand, can wear the uniform immediately after duty hours to almost anywhere under most circumstances.”

    —The Army must of changed the rules since I was in. I got discharged in ’85 and the Army had the same rules as the Marines, apparently, still have.

  • freakydeaky

    “The Marine Corps rules about where and when the uniform is to be worn are more stringent than those of others services, such as the Army. For example, according to this regulation, the uniform may only be worn in a civilian setting during a bonafide emergency or in a vehicle to and from duty. They are allowed to wear it in a drive-thru, but they are not allowed to run other errands in it. Members of other services like the Army, on the other hand, can wear the uniform immediately after duty hours to almost anywhere under most circumstances.”

    When I was in the ARMY in the ’80s the rules were the same as the Marines. Apparently, now, someone has stuck their head up their ass.

  • freakydeaky

    By the way, no don’t correct a service member unless you want your ass kicked.

  • Warren

    What I fail to understand is if someone is doing something WRONG, then they SHOULD be corrected. I don’t care whom does the correcting. There is a way to tactfully correct or at least inquire if what someone is doing is correct. Call the individual over and have a quiet conversation. If they are an individual with any integrity at all they will thank you or politely advise you are miss informed. I always look at it from this angle. It is better for someone to correct you than for the Base/Wing Commander or their spouse to see you. Trust me, that will not go well. It starts with the Group CO being called on the carpet in front of the other Group COs during morning stand up. Then it happens to the Squadron CO, then the 1st Sgt, then to the Section/Branch, then to me the Supervisor. That tu*d has built up speed on the way down. Perhaps the one correcting you was the Base/Wing COs spouse, and you chose to make a jack**s out of yourself. Or even if it were a civilian, and you were an a**, they will often call the Base/Wing COs office and complain. Your name is on your chest after all. All of this could be avoided by maintaining your personal standards. And if you do make a mistake “WE ALL DO”, then be polite and correct it. SET the example, do not BE an example. You represent the uniform and all it stands for.

  • Nigeriannightmare

    Their is tack in how you correct someone. Maybe must of you forgot that you’re serving the USA. I serve for 21 years as an enlisted. My last 5 at the Fitness Center on Base, then returned as a civilian. I cannot tell you how many times I had to tell Airmen that the forgot their cover coming or going the Fitness Center. Mind you some of then are full birds Colonels. Majority are Lts just fresh out of the Academy or college and are here for pilot training. This is the bigeest pilot training base in the Air Force. I sure do not want folks to look like morons. Even as a civilian I corrected then tackfully. 99 percent of the time the plane just forgot. I have seen folk in sneakers and uniform and I nicelly asked them if the are on profile. They nicely said yes I got hurt the other day. She has every right to correct him, but nicelly. Maybe you folks forgot she is a tax payer in some shape or form and your employer…LOL.

    • It’s different if you work at a Fitness Center and you tell someone he or she forget their cover. It’s different if you’re a busybody spouse telling a soldier he has a bootlace hanging from his boot. I think we all the know the difference.

  • Nigeriannightmare

    Okay about the parking space for expecting mothers or handicaps. Yes it is a regulation,for you to post a sign on Air force installation you have to have approval from the civil Engineering Commander deligated from the Group comander. As a disabled VA I do not park in spaces designated for Handicap. I see folks do it at work or Wal-mart etc. It burns me. Just plane lazy.

  • Matt

    Service members know the regulations. If they are not obeying them a correction from the spouse is not going to mean anything. They are choosing to ignore the regulations, they will choose to ignore the spouse.

  • Walter Hofman

    A Marine spouse is not a Marine, she is a Marine depenent. Dependents are not in the chain of command. A senior Marine should be the only one offering correction to a Marine.

    MGySgt (Retired)

    • William

      That’s how rules get ignored. If you need someone senior to correct them, then they just do what they want until that senior shows up. I don’t know the marine regs like the navy regs, but the navy regs make evrery sailor, regardless of paygrade, responsible for pointing out errors to all others, regardless of paygrade. Then crusty old seniors like you tell them to stay in their paygrade and follow your practice, so they scuttle back into their shell and say nothing when they see fireman Timmy in a plain white t-shirt and cut-offs.

  • Brittany

    No, and I don’t think there should be expectant mother parking either.

    • I’m guessing you’ve never had a complicated pregnancy and had to haul other kids to and from where you were going. I can tell you I appreciated the parking with a toddler and when I was pregnant, newly diagnosed with pneumonia.

      • Jordan

        You should have just stayed home. no need for the 200 parking spaces for expectanct mothers, then the 200 for handicap, and then 100 for the rest of us to fight over. Or we can park a couple miles away and ruck there. But since you were sooo high risk you obviously were there for an emergency right?

  • Spikeygrrl

    This poses a particular problem for Navy “Docs” (FMF Corpsmen) when attached to USMC units.

    Whenever his duty station changes, my NCO Doc husband LITERALLY OVERNIGHT is newly allowed/newly prohibited from running minor errands in his cammies on the way home from work. He first ran into this brick wall full tilt almost a decade ago when he dared to return public library books on his way home from the USMC base at Twentynine Palms, CA; the head librarian — widow of a Marine — read him the riot act about it at top volume in front of dozens of bewildered kids and their parents. (So much for “Quiet in the Library,” neh?)

    I really wish regs would clarify whether these strictures apply to the UNIFORM ITSELF or to the servicemember wearing them (e.g., “This certain category of USMC *UNIFORM* may not be worn [by ANYBODY] during Activity X” as vs. “*A MARINE* may not wear this certain category of uniform during Activity X”).

  • michaelzwilliamson

    As far as the father picking up his child, regs are regs, but there may be extenuating circumstances, and having to deal with kids is a complication to anything. I would suggest making a polite suggestion to the Chaplain and have him make a note for the commander to remind all his Marines of the reg. That way, you’ve addressed the situation, not hassled the father, and the CO can decide if there’s a pattern he needs to follow up with, a general reminder he needs to make, or to ignore it as nitpicking.

    As far as corrections in general, you certainly have both a right and a civic responsibility to MENTION the discrepancy. “Excuse me, PO/Sergeant/Marine, your top button is unbuttoned. I wouldn’t want you to get gigged, so I wanted to make sure you were aware of it.”

    Then it’s up to the member if they correct it or blow you off, but they will know it’s been noted and they’re visible. And they might appreciate the correction, if they were unaware.

  • Leelee

    I happen to be the spouse of a service member and a veteran, I am also a DoD contractor that works with service members everyday, I tend not to say things to service members who are out of regs, I usually have my husband do it as he only work a few cubical s away, but I feel as a veteran and a military spouse that I have that right as I know Military regulations when it comes to wearing the inform and when it should not be worn, but I think you have to really know what you are talking about to be able to correct a service member.

  • Chris

    Hate to disappoint you all, but a spouse should nicely correct any service member. As an airman I have corrected Navy Chiefs. My wife has corrected a few Airmen (O/E both). For most part you need to be grateful when you’re corrected by anyone, tactfully and respectfully.

    I’ve left the gym a couple times with pants unbloused. A young airman’s wife caught it. Glad she told me. My CC was around the corner.

  • Sh1rt

    I applaud you for calling someone out for a uniform violation. There are SNCOs that won’t even do this. Yes, as one poster noted, they have earned the right to wear the uniform, but that means they are to wear it properly. If you need help from a civilian spouse to remember how to properly dress yourself, you have forfeited your “rights”. And if the Corps has a rule that you aren’t supposed to wear it off post, you follow the rule. The one thing I might ask the command if the intent of the regulation is a Marine can’t stop and pick up their child. The original intent (my interpretation) is that folks would not be out and about shopping or hitting the bars, bringing embarrassment to the Corps.
    To this spouse…keep it up!

  • Recon82

    To the original poster. Do you seriously have nothing better to do than to sit around stressing out over little things like this?

    The uniform is a symbol of pride, those that don’t wear it right obviously don’t really have all that much to begin with. Wagging your finger and acting as the playground chaperone is not a good way to take the high road. I mean, you could always make it entertaining by putting on a ghillie suit and set up an OP outside of local establishments and call for a close air gun run every time they commit a spot check minor.

    Taking out your frustrations on retards that will remain retards is just a waste of your energy, and you never know when karma will catch up with you. Everyone makes mistakes, and how would you like a taste of that finger wagging if it were pointed at you?

    Just let it go, okay?

    Cavalryman/Combat Veteran
    Golden Spur Member

  • Polished by Rocks

    I was a young Air Force Captain, sitting in my flight suit in the passenger terminal at BWI, waiting with a large group to board our flight to the Middle East to begin my deployment. I had been up for 17 hours and had flown in earlier from Fayetteville, NC. I was thinking of the time I’d be away from my family and the leadership role I would have in the sand & wondering how effective I could be dealing directly with other NATO officers and the Saudis—especially as a female, especially in light of our cultural differences. My thoughts were interrupted by a booming voice coming from a US Army Major standing directly in front of me, over me, telling me to remove my diamond stud earrings, because DIAMONDS were not authorized for wear with the flight utility uniform. I silently removed the earrings, and he walked away.

    I could have picked a battle, right there with a couple hundred stressed out, fatigued deployers, but I chose not to, for everyone’s sake. I would have WON—because he was WRONG. In the Air Force, diamond studs ARE authorized with flight suits, and I will never forget what a *genius* he was for making that an issue when there were so many other more important things to focus on as we all waited there.

    I’m retired now, after 20 years of service. I’m also widowed—my husband died on active duty after returning from his deployment from Iraq in 2007. I completed my deployments, served my 20, and obviously my husband “gave all”—and I still wear the diamond earrings that MAJ was so wrong about.

    As a retiree & veteran, I’ve been humbled enough to know that I never knew all of the other services’ rules, I don’t keep up with the current uniform rules for the Air Force, and if someone is appearing to be “out of uniform”, there are plenty of ways for that to be remedied that have nothing to do with me.

    To retirees & spouses who would step in to correct a minor uniform detail, in my opinion and experience, “Discretion is the better part of valor. ”

    • William

      If, to the best of his knowledge, they were not authorized, the Major should have said so quietly. In 05, after the navy backpack rules changed, I was sent to a school. I showed up in my joghnny cashes with black backpack over the left shoulder, in accordance with the new regs. A chief at the quarterdeck yelled loudly at me to remove it, saying it was not authorized. I did so, saying “actually, chief, the regulation changed last August”. At this point, a senior chief ran at me, yelling at me not to talk back to the quarterdeck. She didn’t like it wen I said “all due respect, but I was not talking back. I was informing the chief that the regulation had changed”. She told me I was wrong, and they would pull me from class later to show me so. My chief heard about it when he showed up, and said I should have just gone along. He was wrong – if you don’t tell them, they will continue to be wrong. They never did pull me out to show me the regs, because they weren’t going to apologize for their mistake.

    • I’m sorry for the loss of your husband and thank you for your service. You absolutely took the high road, ma’am. Thank you for a great example.

  • Chris Merli

    You could have said; “My husband is a Marine too. When did the regs about wearing uniform on errends change? He didn’t tell me.” The Marine could have then said he was only running in to get his child etc. He would know he had been caught but no harm would have been done.

  • WJm

    If it does not have to do with safety or absolute inappropriate behavior, the spouse should not attempt to correct the member. Unfortunately some members may not react well and make a situation worse. If you (Spouse or civilian member) see a problemor potential problem, there are ways to report it to the proper authorities.

    • William

      Which WILL get a lot of them in trouble. You saying something quietly gives them the chance to fix it without bringing trouble down on them.

  • Hahaha

    Lol! Absolutely not! I say mind your own business, or get a life! Who cares, does it affect you? Or ruin your whole day? Carry on……

  • First Sergeant

    NO! If a spouse feels that strong about uniform violations, maybe he/she should join the military. Now you have the authority.

  • Bobby Jones

    A spouse is a spouse, no rank, no title, no authority, i do not care if you are the CO’s wife. you are a spouse. Nothing more, nothing less. I deal with many spouses on a day to day basis due to my job who always want to throw out….oh my husband is a chief or some officer. ok thats cool but what does that have to do with the price of tea in china? absolutely nothing is the answer. You have no right to correct a servicemember unless you want to get the eat poop look and probably several profane insults thrown your way. So the answer is a strong NO!!!!!!!

  • SfcRertired

    If your not sleeping with the service member keep your mouth SHUT. You are not in the military ,wanna
    boss someone around(other than your ?significant?other) enlist or get commissioned.MYOB

  • bigdaddy

    The MOST arrogant of spouses are the Senior Enlisted (E-6 and above) and almost any Officers spouse, I had a similar interaction, where i had to actually ask one, Are you in the service? Which she replied, No, but my husbands an Officer, to which i replied, so your JUST an officers spouse and I walked away to her sputtering behind me. basic is, YOUR NOT IN, YOUR A GUEST, SO DON’T BE A PEST, to those of us that signed/swore in, whether you Think You Know Better, or not as much as you Nosey Nellies think you do. The military is stressfull enough without worrying about spouses calling you out on some BS, I was In 21 years, retired, been married over 26 years to SAME wife. Mind YOUR own business, Your OWN husband, unless its actually harmful to others, (talking physical harm here).

  • John Aldrich

    The answer to this question is an absolute NO.

    The military has a chain of command and rank structure for a reason. It is not the place of a spouse to correct a service member. You are not in the military, nor do you hold any rank. You do not wear your spouses rank. It is the responsibility of other service members to correct the soldier in question. Not yours. We take care of our own. We don’t need spouses to do it for us.

  • Vaughn

    No a spouse should not say a word to a member in uniform about regulations. A spouse has a very important job …. but in no way does it give them the right to wear the rank except in there own home. I did 20 years my spouse was and still is by my side. It ticked me off when I would hear officers and some chiefs wives make comments like ” we made rank on this date”

  • Rae07

    Having pride over your spouse’s career is a great thing, and shows your support to your family, but you do not wear the rank or responsibility your spouse wears. There is no chain of command, and you have no one to report to. I can see how it would irritate you, but the only one it should irritate is a Marine.

    There was a response that said, “You could have said; “My husband is a Marine too. When did the regs about wearing uniform on errends change? He didn’t tell me.” The Marine could have then said he was only running in to get his child etc. He would know he had been caught but no harm would have been done.”

    He does not report to the spouse, nor does he owe a response. We hold each other to high standards. If a Marine is violating a regulation, he will get caught with due time. It is not the place of a spouse, who has not earned the title of a Marine, to identify and correct those out of regulation.

    One of the posters, William, brought up the point of correcting someone because “they will continue to be wrong.” While I agree with that statement, it is only appropriate for the actual service member to correct. It is not the duty of a spouse, or the responsibility.

    I wouldn’t mind the correction of a boot unbloused or my button slipping undone. That is a just a courtesy that I would appreciate even out of uniform (i.e. – your fly undone). When it comes to correcting regulations, tell your spouse and leave it to the Marines.

  • Mary W.

    If you’re a spouse that is looking to correct someone’s uniform, NO. You’re not a military member, don’t act like you are.
    But if like in the example given, you see a military member doing something wrong in general (parking in an expectant mother spot, cutting you in line at the store, throwing trash on the ground), give them a piece of your mind! That’s public manners you expect from everyone.
    If you’re a veteran spouse… I would stay stick to your branch. Retired AF can correct other airmen… but it would be incredibly rude to correct a Sailor.

  • Senior

    Wives need to stop living vicariously through the career of their husband. You do not deploy, stand duty, go on watch, etc. While I agree being a military spouse is no easy job, keep your nosey asses out of military business. If you really want to be involved, get a damn career of your own. Man there is nothing worse than a military wife that actually thinks they are in the service too.

  • Guest

    YES, if ANY person, military or civilian, knows for a fact that they are seeing something a service member is doing that is without question wrong, SAY SOMETHING. If you pay taxes, you are paying their salary. Otherwise, the behavior is reinforced or people think no one notices.
    Have pride in the uniform you wear. If anyone needs to correct you, you don’t care enough about your job and need to find a new one. You are ALWAYS representing EVERYONE in the US when you are in uniform. If you don’t like that, or find following the regs inconvenient, get out and let someone else have your paycheck.