August 2007 Sample information to help write letters to Congress and Senate

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August 2007 Sample information to help write letters to Congress and Senate
To whom it may concern:

I believe that since Air Reserve Technicians (ART’s) were created under section 3101 of title 5 USC with no condition of employment to wear their military uniform and National Guard military technicians were created under section 709 (b) of title 32 with the wear of the uniform as a condition of employment congress clearly intended for ART’s not to wear the military uniform. Furthermore congress had an opportunity to require ART’s to wear the military uniform as a condition of their employment in title 10 section 10216 (a) (1) when they separated ART’s from other title 5 employees and made them dual status with National Guard employees. Someone in the Air Force understands this because they have legislative initiatives underway to change this section of title 10 to allow service secretaries the option to require dual status employees wear the military uniform.

Clearly this AFI would be illegal if implemented prior to appropriate legislative changes. There are those in the Air Force that site title 10 section 1593 (a) (1) for current authorization. This section is referring to uniforms such as policemen, firemen, etc. not military uniforms.

Apparently there is a disconnect between General T. Michael Moseley USAF Chief of Staff and the individuals that want this AFI. General Moseley writes in his CSAF Airman’s Test “We are a seamless Total Force composed of Active Duty, Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve, and Air Force Civilians. Being an ‘American Airman’ has nothing to do with a person’s rank, AFSC, or uniform of the day.” This contradicts what Mr. Mann writes in his letter to Mr. Gage calling for “The need for continuity and good order and discipline…”

I am an AT-Large Stewart and over half of our union membership is dual status employees that would be affected by this AFI. Several have joined the Union as a result of this AFI; unfortunately several have said if the Union loses they will get out. In my opinion this issue is the biggest issue our Local Union has faced in the twenty plus years I have served as a civil servant. Since DOD is struggling with implementing NSPS for bargaining unit employees this is an attempt by the Air Force to start witling away at some members’ rights. As brothers and sisters an attack against some is an attack against all.

Thank you for your efforts,

Below are thoughts and concerns of some of the people this will affect.

To Whom It May Concern:

The act of wearing the uniform day-to-day while in a “civilian status draws us further into the “military status” that must be maintained as a condition of our civilian employment as stated in the memorandum. I believe that since there would be no difference in appearance or job duties during “civilian status” than in “military status” the compensation should mirror that of the active duty. Having served almost 12 years on active duty and having served over 12 years as an ART I can tell you I do know the differences between the two. I will not go into all the differences but, I would like to hit on a couple of things that I know bother a lot of us in the ART world.

1) Typically in a month at my duty location, the active duty receives 1-3 down days or goal reached days or family days or whatever other ways to give time off without the use of leave they can come up with. At the same time ARTS or “Reserve unit” personnel are at work and can only have time off if we take annual leave. So for that extra time off I need to use vacation time, the active duty doesn’t have to do that. They receive the 2 ½ days of leave per month or 30 days a year and as an ART I receive 208 hours of leave per year or 26 days maximum depending on how many years you have in service.

2) As an ART I can while in “civilian status” grow a beard or have facial hair but, if I’m wearing a uniform I can’t do that and I can tell you I enjoy doing that. That is unless the uniform said DOD Civilian on it like I see while deployed to locations like Afghanistan or Iraq which I have been to numerous times. I can tell you I will never look like some of them in a uniform! It’s called respect and while wearing the uniform that is how ARTS look at it. As stated in the memorandum, in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s it was different, not just the mission but the attitude!

Those are just two examples, one that we would lose being able to do and one that we wouldn’t gain but would have to become more “military status” with no compensation. Now I would like to refer to some of the statements made in the memorandum.

The statement in paragraph 4 of the memorandum reads,

“The need for continuity and good order and discipline in both employment capacities (military and civilian) have become an essential part of their constant changing of statuses. By requiring the wear of the uniform, this obligation remains clear and visible. The need to ensure good order and military discipline in the maintenance function is even more apparent as we expand into a wider spectrum of total force initiatives requiring even greater integration of reserve forces with our active duty counterparts.”

This statement broken down holds no water. First, “The need for continuity and good order and discipline in both employment capacities (military and civilian) have become an essential part of their constant changing of statuses.”

This is a slap in the face. I have been an ART for over 12 years as I mentioned earlier. All 12 years have been with the same unit. A unit that has shined at everything we have been involved with whether on our own or “total forced” with the active duty. I am a Citizen Airman, a dual role individual and I understand my role. I maintain the same discipline in my actions during my “civilian duty” day as I would during my “military duty” day. When I don the uniform it is with the same pride as anyone who wears it should have.

“By requiring the wear of the uniform, this obligation remains clear and visible. The need to ensure good order and military discipline in the maintenance function is even more apparent as we expand into a wider spectrum of total force initiatives requiring even greater integration of reserve forces with our active duty counterparts.”

Another slap in the face! The obligation is clear in my mind as it has been for over 12 years. We too are defenders of this country and will answer any call from our country just as my unit has done numerous times and will continue to do. As for the visible part, who are we trying to be visible to? Our active duty counterparts? Why? We do our jobs & from what I’ve seen while being deployed with active units (total forced), we do it better than most of them. I believe this stems from the fact that we usually have more experience than them but, it seems we still must prove our worth to them even though we are wearing the uniform. So how will wearing a uniform everyday change the stereotype active duty has if the actions don’t? We (AFRC) are the ones doing all the changing for integration to gain acceptance by active duty.

It is offensive to see a statement such as paragraph 4 being used as an explanation for this initiative.

The memorandum also states that AFRC is much different than the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s and that is true. We are pressed to do more than at any other time in history. We are matched one for one with active duty when we deploy. We are asked to be more & more like the active duty and continue to go down that road but with no more compensation.

Though not limited to what I’ve stated these are some of my concerns and opinions on this matter. Thank you for the opportunity to voice them.
Why are we compared to the National Guard, they are governed by the state?
If wearing of the uniform is mandatory, will we receive the same benefits as active duty?

As you know I’m opposed to wearing the uniform on a day to day basis. I feel that we don’t need to spend the money on uniforms so we can look like active duty. That money could be better used on equipment, systems, and parts that we need to meet the mission. I also read the letter written to the national union and would like to know how we fall under the aircrew status that was used to justify the AFI change? Secondly if I wanted to wear the uniform each and every day I would have signed up for active duty. One final note the active duty members get FULL retirement after 20 years of service and a reservist has to wait for age 60. Is that a fair system?

Thank you,

When I made the decision to take a pay cut as a Union electrician and become an ART, among the benefits that I liked was the ability to wear comfortable clothing while working a job that I enjoyed doing. The daily wear of the uniform would have definitely influenced my decision to take the ART position. I don’t feel that my wearing civilian clothing while in CIVILIAN status takes away from the importance of my service to the country or the professional manner in which I perform my job.

I am proud to wear the uniform when working in military status, but I also enjoy the freedom of being able to wear a baseball cap, jeans, shirt, and tennis shoes to work during the week. The Reserve force has nothing to prove to Active Duty that we haven’t proved on numerous deployments, and the wear of the uniform while in civilian status only blurs the lines between the active and reserve forces.

I am sure this has been addressed however there is a simple solution to the problem. That is to issue the same uniform with a DOD civilian tag were the USAF goes and do not put the rank on the uniform. This should ease the Active components fears. I am sure that I am preaching to the choir but it would be nice for the Air Force Commanders to stop assuming that there civilian workers are ignorant. That is, they understand that they do the same job will less pay and a later retirement than their active duty counterparts, so stop trying to thing of ways to pacify the work force. Just come out and say that we needed to keep an active duty force doing the same work load cheaper and this is the way we are doing it.

Dave, not being a union member anymore my concern is for the folks that this issue will affect. To compare the Reserves with the Air National Guard is like comparing State Troopers to the FBI. The Air Guard as we all know is a State Agency where as we are Federal employees. The Air Guard is required by State to wear the uniform so the State can receive Federal Funding. When was the last time, any Reserve member deployed over seas on civilian orders and worked in civilian clothes. Just Food for thought.

I like the idea of wearing some sort of uniform—like Dynacorp or any other contractors—but don’t find it appropriate to wear a military uniform while I’m in a civilian status. Had I wanted to wear the uniform everyday, I would have stayed on AD.

My real problem with the wear of the uniform stems from the lack of equal treatment compared to AD:
* They make more money than we do—BAH & BAS. They also have their dental and health insurance covered.
* They earn more time off—30 days a year vs 26 for us. They also get multiple down days a month that we don’t.
* They have opportunities for job growth and promotions that we do not.

These things are inherent to being an ART and accepted as such when you take a position. On the plus side, I have the opportunity to wear what I want—shorts, t-shirt, jeans, or whatever is acceptable—and can chose to shave or not as applicable. I proudly don my uniform of the day—as I chose—and head off to work to do the best job I possibly can. That won’t change if I put on a military uniform; however, if I’m wearing the uniform as a civilian, I feel I am being shorted what is due to me as a Senior NCO in the Air Force. When I am in uniform, it is usually the result of a Drill weekend, Annual Tour, or a Manday—all of which yield me the pay/allowances I should be getting. Doing it in civilian status yields me nothing additional.

I’ll gladly put on my military uniform for my civilian job when I am given the additional pay/allowances/benefits that are commensurate with my military rank. Otherwise, I will continue to wear my uniforms of the day.

I’ve been on numerous deployments with the Reserves and have seen us looked down upon for being a Reservist initially, until we prove to have the superior product and knowledge—as we always do. Wearing the uniform will not yield any additional credibility for any ART. As the saying goes, the proof is in the pudding.

No or
1. Pay a military point for every day of wearing the uniform for retirement purposes
2. Pay the difference between civilian pay and military pay to the civilians for wearing the uniform
3. Just activate us

I think military uniforms should only be worn when a person is in military status only. The end.

1- Rank disparity. Military grades not in line with civilian grades/ IE GS-9 CMSGT, GS-11 SMSGT
2- Cost of cleaning
3- Will I have to sign a letter subjecting myself to the UCMJ as the guard technicians do as a condition of their employment. I am already an employee and feel I have every right to refuse to sign it.
4- This does make us an enemy combatant as I understand it.
5- Why are we being singled out? If we have to wear a uniform then every employee in DOD should have to.

There are many concerns that I have about this issue, but it can eloquently be spoken by Buck Roberts himself. I believe that during the “town hall” meetings, he had about every point covered as to why we shouldn’t be placed into that category.

My biggest concern is the issue of the rank structure. I am a GS09 and a TSgt, while other colleagues of mine are also GS09 their rank varies between TSgt, MSgt, SMSgt and Chief. I don’t feel that I would be able to competently do my job as a TSgt only. It is important to keep the 2 separate, always.

My other concern is now it is a time of War for our country and as ARTs we are told by higher headquarters by Policy and through “suggestion” that ARTs should not deploy because we need to be here to train reservists. Policy now mandates that all ART Officers will have to have 10AF/CV approval for a deployment over 120 days (which is every AOR deployment now for ECS Tours) and AFRC/CV approval for 180 days or more. And I see this as just the beginning, because the majority of support offices are one deep (one person doing the job) and it causes an “undue burden” when one person deploys. They may start regulating whether or not we can deploy at all so why have the dual role? Take the equation out and make us straight civil service employees. The continuity will be there for a lot longer then as an ART because you can stay employed as a civilian longer then if you are tied to the Part B of the military position where it has a HYT and Mandatory Seperation Date, as ARTs you lose both the continuity of the civilian and the military side, so it is harder to train reservists then ever before. (by the way, if we don’t get to deploy it starts effecting promotion potential on the military side)

Yesterday, I was watching 509th CES working on an AC unit, I saw 2 military members being trained and taught by 2 civilians and never once did I ask why? I just thought they were being trained by the best and most knowledgeable. Because that is what you look for in a civilian, a master at his trade.

If we, as ARTs are doing our jobs and doing it well, (that’s what everyone says) then why does it matter what we wear, as long as the reservists are getting trained, trained well and by the best and most knowledgeable in that field?

To Whom It May Concern,

The policy change for the wearing of Military Uniforms while in civilian status for ARTs has caused so much animosity across the Reserve Wings. It is not only the mandated wear that is upsetting, but the rational being used to promote/force its compliance. The whole issue is about “Status”. No matter what clothing we are wearing an ART’s status would still have to be changed from civilian to military if there is a mission that arises the cause our units to deploy, as we have had to since 911. Using the example that Military Technicians of the National Guard are required to wear the military uniform does not justify the change, because they are in active duty status. So make us active duty and give us the same benefits.
Also I have not heard a concrete reason why we can’t work along side of the active duty in civilian attire. My specific job, for one, does not interact with our AD counterparts, but I can’t see how that would be any different the working along civilian employed by the Active duty. Most work centers on active duty units have been civilian contracted. (i.e. my specific career field with the AD is all civilians.)
The other rational given is “the need for continuity and good order and discipline in both employment capacities (military and civilian) have become an essential part of their constant changes in status”. Sorry, but I could use some examples on this statement. Have we done something to warrant the need for good order and discipline? And if so, please notify us what that is so we can make the appropriate behavior changes. I don’t think mandating the wear of the uniform will instill discipline, just that the powers to be can misuse their authority.
I also believe that mandating the policy would only hurt the already low morale in the Reserve Units across AFRC. Our war tempo is higher than it has ever been, why destroy what little morale we have left.
I feel it is my obligation to provide my comments with the endeavor that this policy not be implemented and the change be discarded.

My view on this is that it is completely unfair. For one thing active duty people get to retire after twenty years we do not. When active duty people do retire they get there retirement pay right away we do not. We have to wait until we are 60. Active duty get better health care benefits, and they can test to be promoted we have to wait for an open slot. Making us wear the uniform everyday is like taking away some of our freedom, because we are not military we are civilians. Wearing the uniform everyday while not in some type military status would be a lie.

We outperform the active duty in flying and readiness already why would we want to become more like them, in Afghanistan our planes flew while their planes sat there broke. We do more with less, active duty have far more manning to work on the same amount of aircraft. Just wearing because active duty wore a uniform did not make them better then us.
Why not just make us all active duty so those of us with more then twenty years in can go ahead and retire. I join the military back in 1982 and have twenty four years of aircraft experience most active duty personal don’t have half that experience. Just take a look at active duty airplanes then look at ours, see which one you would fly on.
Making us wear the uniform and following all rules of being in the uniform while at the same time being treated differently in regards to benefits is not right.
Basically what this comes down to is some one higher up does not like to see us wearing civilian clothes, which makes no sense because we are civilians.
I feel like we are being punished, for being better.

Had to type this up quick. I wanted to at least get something in.

I am a civilian employee, and as such, I should not be made to wear a military uniform. Not wearing the uniform does not make me any less proud to be a member of the USAF Reserve or to serve my country. The fact that I don’t wear the uniform as a civilian is a benefit that I cherish. It is a benefit which drew me to the ART program in the first place. By wearing the uniform, I share NONE of the benefits that my active duty counterparts receive. I DO NOT receive BAH, BAS, Base Housing or clothing allowance and I STILL have to pay for my own health and dental insurance. I cannot retire after 20 years like my active duty counterparts and I cannot collect my military retirement immediately when I DO retire. By not wearing the uniform, we as ARTs, do not have to meet AFI grooming standards.
As civilian employees, our pay grade does not necessarily match our military rank, which is not a factor when wearing civilian clothes. However, when wearing the uniform,
in some instances, the chain of command is blurred by military rank.

I am a civilian employee, and as such, I should have the rights of a civilian.

I am not interested in wearing of the uniform. There are too many questions concerning the impact of wearing the uniform as a civilian. I am worried about the UCMJ and being forced to wear the uniform against my wishes

I feel that the only time the uniform should be worn is when the member is on military status.
After having just left the active duty side of the Air Force recently I feel that the wearing of the Military Uniform for ART’s would be a mistake. I was an active duty crew chief for 6 /12 years. During that time I wore my uniform every day with pride. I will say however that it is not without drawbacks. First are the regulations on hair. Now that I am an ART I can relax my standards on the length and style of my hair and grow facial hair if I choose. These are two personal freedoms I had lost for a long time and while they don’t seem like much any limitation on a persons ability to express themselves in any form does have a serious impact on there life. Not having worry if my hair is touching my ears or making time to shave every morning are chores I do not miss. The second major impact is the uniform it’s self. I know from working as a crew chief the hours can be long and dirty. Now nothing ever seem to make me as mad as when I would be given time to break for lunch only to be stopped on the way because of the appearance of my uniform. It has happen more times than I can count when I would be stopped by a NCO or officer to be reprimanded on the condition of my uniform or boots not being up to standards. At a time like that there is no point in fixing say the shine on your boots because you’ll just be returning to the aircraft and all your work would be undone in just a few moments. The only people who seem to get so bent out of shape over uniform standards are typically the ones who do not even work outside and have no concept of how it could be hard to take care of a uniform in an outdoor workplace. This only adds to the frustration as you know this person cannot relate to what you are doing in any way. I have been told to just wear coveralls but as any crew chief can tell you hydraulic fluid will go right through them and stain your uniform as if you didn’t even have them on. This job takes enough of a toll on a person that any undue stress that can be avoided should be avoided. Now my question would be what if this person wants to take it farther? What if they decide to reprimand me for my hair not being in regulations or your boots not looking good enough? Is that the point where I stop them and try to explain that I’m not really TSgt Webb but GS-1152-09 Mr. Webb, I’m just wearing my uniform.

When I separated from active duty I had to take a $1200 pay cut per month. Not only that my bills increased because as an ART many of my expenses that the military covered I now have to pay for myself and it will now take me an extra 12 years to retire. I was wiling to make these sacrifices because of the freedom the ART program allowed me to have. I now not only have the ability to do the job I enjoy and be an important part of my country, but to also regain some of the personal freedom I had lost on active duty. I personally do not see any benefit to ART’s wearing uniforms.

To whom it may concern:
My belief is that the uniform should only be worn when actually in Military status. Wearing of the uniform entails much more than just putting it on. None of the benefits would go along with wearing it, such as health care, leave accumulation, retirement benefits. We would not fall under the UCMJ, and could not be governed by it. Another issue would be expense. Uniforms are much more expensive than blue jeans, which can be purchased for as little as $9.00 per pair as opposed to $90.00 per uniform.

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