Friday, 24 January 2014

Being Reflective in Nature

Being retired Air Force (22 brief years)....I tend to go over and review once or twice a month....Air Force news and changes.  This week came a mighty big and important announcement.  The reflective belt....a requirement of sorts since the late 1970s for everyone in uniform in non-daylight hours....is deemed 'optional' for the work-out uniform.

The Air Force about a decade ago....went to a standard exercise outfit....which meant you had to buy it and keep it in somewhat clean order.  Naturally, it was sold to you with reflective material already on it.  The idea of your unit forcing you to carry the stupid reflective belt around.....on top of this....was generally deemed silly.

When you get to a unit these days....along with the first twenty things that occur on day one....is the issuance of this belt.  You can buy the belt over at the BX....typically for a couple of bucks.  Most units will give you a new belt ever twelve months.  I'd take a guess that twenty percent of folks lose their belts at least once or twice a year.  I worked with a guy from the late 90's who lost at least six belts in one year.

The sales job on this belt business?  The safety guys will harp over and over.....as darkness starts to come....your clothing doesn't outline your profile enough, and thus....you get hit by a car easily.  About once a year in the Air Force....such an accident happens, and it just gets folks all peppered up to endorse the reflective belt for the 300th time.

So you can imagine this change.  Sarge gets out of his car in civilian clothing at the gym at 6AM.  Sarge dresses in the Air Force mandated gym outfit and looks like a professional Dallas Cowboys player.  Sarge gets sweaty while playing twenty-five minutes of volleyball and lifting weights for eight minutes.  Sarge showers, and dresses in his uniform.  Sarge starts to leave the gym at 7AM....discovering it's still dark outside, and must immediately look into his gym bag for the stupid reflective belt which is still required for outside use while in uniform.  Sarge walks down the street, safely and survives....only because of the reflective belt.  All is good with Sarge, and hopefully.....he remembers the 10,000 occasions that the reflective belt saved him from dying....as he retired at twenty years.

Well.....you'd hope this.  There's six pallets of reflective belts delivered at supply each year, and at least fifteen thousand reflective belts issued for the three thousand GI's on base.  So far, no one from Congress has asked where all these belts come from, and where they go.  I'm just waiting on this to start up one day.

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