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PT belt axed in Air Force - should Army follow?

Jan. 20, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
The Air Force no longer requires safety reflective belts be worn during PT. Should the Army follow suit?
The Air Force no longer requires safety reflective belts be worn during PT. Should the Army follow suit? (Army)
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Soldiers have long bemoaned the rules that govern reflective safety belts, ranking them somewhere between laughable and absurd.

It seems that even the Air Force agrees.

That’s right — the fly boys, on Friday, 86’d their reflective belts, at least when it comes to physical training. Service leaders, apparently riding a radical streak, also said airmen can wear black socks and any color of athletic shoe with the PT uniform.

While this does not exactly push the boundaries of good order and discipline, soldiers would see such a move as an unauthorized use of common sense. The issue is a running joke among troops who are required to wear this dastardly device whenever in PT gear. Even in broad daylight. Or indoors. Or on a parade field. Or in a swimming pool, one might assume.

Just do a search for “Army reflective belt” and you will be treated to an endless library of memes and satire.

Here’s the irony: Army Regulation 670-1 isn’t as rigid on reflective belts as one might think. Its guidance is that commanders determine whether the belt is required.

But that policy doesn’t seem to translate very well.

Leaders of the 2nd Infantry Division in South Korea in August said unit leaders would decide whether soldiers needed to wear the belt during physical training. One day later, 8th Army Command Sgt. Maj. Ray Devens shot down the new-found freedom.

Changes to AR 670-1 are in the works. In fact, they were expected one year ago. But nowhere has there been any indication that reflective belt rules would lessen.

We want to know what you think. Should the Army bury the belts? Have you ever been disciplined or denied access to post because you failed to wear the belt? Send your comments to armylet@armytimes.com. Please include your name, rank and location. Your comments could be used in an upcoming story.

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