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NEWS | June 13, 2011

Diamond Compliance Corner - Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

By Senior Master Sgt. Shannon Burrier-Morris Air Force District of Washington first sergeant

A popular book title says, "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff...and it's all small stuff." The "small stuff" however, reflects each Airman's respect for Air Force rules no matter how small of importance they may appear to have. At times, it is the "small stuff" that is not done or is overlooked because it seems tedious.

Air Force customs and courtesies, uniform policies and Air Force Instructions are established to create and maintain order and discipline. One thing that presents acceptance of this order and the discipline to follow it includes doing the "small stuff" of standing or walking with your hands in your uniform pockets. "Small stuff?" Really - it's a simple thing.

Placing your hands in your pockets may feel like a natural stance. We often take this posture while standing, during a discussion or outside with the cold nipping at our fingertips. AFI 36-2903, Dress and Personal Appearance, specifically states that members will not "stand or walk with hands in pockets of any uniform combination, other than to insert or remove items." To ensure your continued compliance, if standing while engrossed in a conversation place your hands behind your back or just let your arms hang naturally. It may feel awkward but it looks fine. And once you get talking, your gesturing hands will take over. And if you find yourself outside with Jack Frost, follow Air Force District of Washington commander, Maj. Gen. Darren McDew's advice, "buy some gloves!"

Do not anchor your hands in your pockets. Stated, it sounds so simple, yet it is observed and no one appears immune to its temptation. As Airmen we've accepted the responsibility to adhere to our Air Force rules, even the "small stuff." A warrior is always ready for battle! You can't fight the enemy if your hands are in your pockets. If you see it, address it. If you do it, correct it. After all it is the little things that count.