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NEWS | March 23, 2011

"Diamond Compliance Corner" - week of Mar. 25 - Apr. 1

By Master Sgt. Timothy J. Reim 779th Medical Support Squadron first sergeant

It is Saturday afternoon and you are on your way to a cook out at a house on base. Just prior to leaving, you receive a call from another Air Force servicemember asking to ride with you to the cook out. As you pick up your friend, he begins to show off his "bling bling" diamond earrings that he just purchased. You acknowledged the earrings and continue conversation about other things during the ride.

You arrive at the cook out and everyone is having a good time. While there, you noticed that other active duty male servicemembers are wearing earrings as well. You know the Air Force uniform standard states that males are not allowed to wear earrings on or off base, whether in or out of uniform. But you don't want to be labeled as "anal" and "ate up", so you keep quiet. Huge foul!

As Air Force members, we are required not only to not only meet standards but to enforce them and correct substandard behavior - at all times. For us senior non-commissioned officers, we have to exceed and enforce these standards at all times.

Most of us have encountered male Air Force servicemembers on base in civilian clothes, with their "blings" in their ears. Some of us have also observed female Air Force servicemembers in uniform using their middle ear piercing, if they have multiple piercings, for earring wear. Others have square-shaped earrings. We have to correct and educate these individuals on the proper wear of these gadgets. If we fail to do so we are only weakening our Air Force and the true meaning of what we stand for. This exhibit of selective leadership compromises our core values of integrity and excellence. Air Force standards were instituted to enhance virtues such as such as discipline, organizational integrity, total force cohesiveness, etc. Therefore, we have to strive to ensure they are kept, at all times.

By not acting to enforce the standards, we become a part of the problem rather than a part of the solution. So whether we pick up our fellow comrades with "blings", or meet them at social gatherings, we must always remember that we have a responsibility to enforce the standards.

References on earrings wear are as follows:

AFI 36-2903 Dress and Appearance. Table 2.6. Clothing/Accessory Standards

Females: Small spherical, conservative round diamond, gold, pearl, or silver earrings with any uniform combination and worn as a set. If member has multiple holes only one set of earrings will be worn in the lower earlobe. When members wear civilian clothes for duty they will conform to AFI requirements. Matching earrings must be worn and should fit tightly without extending below the earlobe. EXCEPTION: Connecting band on clip earrings.

Note line three when referencing body piercing/modification standards.