To Salute or Not to Salute

To Salute or Not To Salute

For those of you who aren’t aware, there is a female Soldier that has been the topic of discussion amongst the military community.  She took a “selfie” and said something to the effect of “I’m in my car ducking the 1700 Flag, that’s how I do cause I don’t give a F***”,  then posted it on Instagram for everyone to see.  It spread through Facebook like wildfire and was also sent to Army Times.  Needless to say, the Soldier is under investigation for her actions.


In response to the people she enraged, PFC Sheffey posted a video on Intagram  saying it wasn’t that serious and she wasn’t a disrespectful soldier.  Her actions don’t support her statement.  Now she wants to get boo-boo lipped when confronted about her actions.  I refer her to R. Lee Ermey in Full Metal Jacket (something about sympathy being found in the dictionary between shit and syphilis).

The acronym for the Army Values spells Leadership.  What that means to me is from day one in the Army, you are being groomed to be a leader.  It is common knowledge especially in the Army that people are promoted based on their potential.  If this Soldier stays in long enough she will inevitably be a Noncommissioned Officer (NCO), a leader of Soldiers.  One of the things an NCO does is exercise initiative by taking the appropriate action in the absence of orders (don’t worry I’m not trying to quote the NCO Creed).  Initiative that she apparently doesn’t have.

Time management is an imperative to skill to learn in the Army.  That being said, this Soldier spent more time ducking in her car, taking a selfie, writing her comment and posting it then she would have rendering honors to the flag.  Retreat is about 30 seconds, To the Color is about 38 seconds.  It wasn’t like she was executing a task that needed to be done “Time Now”.  Even in doors (FM 3-21.5, Appen.K-11), you are supposed to stand at the “position of attention” and face the sound of the music if you can’t see the flag.

I will say the military isn’t for everybody but, if you do your time wisely and get out honorably it will make a great stepping stone for future endeavors.  I know of people joining the Army for many reasons and I have seen many people change their minds when they see the seriousness of what they put themselves into.  What this soldier fails to realize is the fact that the military is an institution of discipline.  It has the ability to control your life and if you get kicked out for misconduct, what civilian employer will hire you?  Remember, civilian employers don’t possess the same level of control as the military.  Why would I want someone like that working for me?  It’s hard enough for Soldiers that served their time honorably to find good jobs because employers are worried about them having PTSD or some other disability (but that’s another topic).

One of the things I think about is whether or not this Soldier really understands what she represents and will she actually fight for her country and/ or fellow countrymen?  I have a buddy who is a Combat Medic and when I posed that question to him he told me, “You never know Battle, you never know”.  I’m an Infantryman and I have to be able trust the men to my left and to right to fight with me.  This Soldier may fight back but will it be for herself or the other Soldiers on the battlefield with her?  We rely on each other much like the Spartan Phalanx.  If this soldier will duck away from something as small as standing up for a minute to salute the flag, what will she do when she faces a seriously difficult obstacle or life threatening situation?

The American flag is more than just a flag.  It represents something bigger than all of us.  It represents the ideas and principles this country was founded on.  Our flag represents everybody that has, does and will live in this great nation.  By saying she doesn’t give a f*** (to me) she is saying she doesn’t give a f*** about her nation, the people in it or herself.  It’s bad enough that we are already having issues in our country with schools not wanting to say the Pledge of Allegiance.  Now this soldier, who already swore and wears one of the uniforms sworn to defend this country is conducting herself in this manner.  Quite frankly if she doesn’t give a f*** about me or herself then why should I give a f*** about her?

The Army is currently trying to downsize, “Trimming the Fat” as it is commonly said.  She is a prime candidate.  I know she apparently won’t salute  our flag but she can manipulate a social media site so I know she can run a cash register.  If she can say, “Welcome to McDonald’s can I take your order?”, “Would you look like fries with that?”, and last but definitely not least “Have a nice day!”; she will find work somewhere.

Onyx Contributor:  R.L. Knight
photo credit:  Johnny Silvercloud

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