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-12. What is the Difference between drill sergeants and AIT platoon sergeants?

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4-12. What is the Difference between drill sergeants and AIT platoon sergeants?

In AIT, you will be assigned to a different unit and will now have platoon sergeants and squad leaders instead of drill sergeants.
The difference between drill sergeants and AIT platoon sergeants is the environment in which they train you. Your basic combat training experience will be highly supervised by drill sergeants as you are encouraged and evaluated on your ability to reach the highest Army standards.
During AIT and the latter portion of OSUT, your training environment changes to one that best prepares you for your first unit of assignment. You will learn MOS skills and additional Soldier skills in an atmosphere geared to prepare you for the performance of that occupational specialty in a unit.
The roles of drill sergeants and AIT platoon sergeants are comparable even though they train Soldiers during different phases of initial entry training. Drill sergeants transform new recruits into Soldiers
AIT platoon sergeants, squad leaders and MOS instructors train Soldiers to become proficient at their Army job/MOS and prepare them for their transition to their first assignment.

I embody the Army Values and adhere to the highest standards of ethical conduct. I will share my knowledge and experience, and enforce the Army Standards in every Soldier by demonstrating character, competence, and commitment.
I will reinforce Warrior Task and Battle Drills, ensuring all Soldiers are prepared to win the wars of this great nation.
I am physically fit, an effective communicator and a sound administrator. I will never ask my Soldiers to do anything I would not do myself.
It is an honor to guide Soldiers through the transition process. I am a leader and will always conduct myself as a professional.

Chapter 5 – Personal Appearance and Uniforms

5-1. Personal Appearance

Personal appearance is important—it demonstrates the pride and self-discipline you feel as a Soldier in the U.S. Army. Being neat and well groomed contributes to the esprit de corps in your unit. Your uniform should fit well and be clean, serviceable, and pressed as necessary.

Your uniform is only part of your appearance. To look like a Soldier, you need to be physically fit, meet acceptable weight standards, and have a neat hairstyle in accordance with Army regulations.

Note: While attending BCT/OSUT/AIT some of the personal appearance allowances may be restricted while undergoing training. Your drill sergeants, platoon sergeants and instructors will inform you of these restrictions.

Note: Reference AR 670-1 for additional inquiries concerning Army uniforms and awards.
Note: When traveling from BCT to AIT wear of the Army Service Uniform (ASU) is required.


While at BCT, you will receive a standard haircut which will be shorter than many of you have had since “grade school.” The purpose of the short cut is for hygiene purposes because of the extensive physical and outdoor activities you will undertake over the next 10 weeks.

Once you graduate from BCT, you can get a haircut that may be more in taste to your desires but it will still need to stay within the hairstyle mandated by Army regulation. Most Army Air Force Exchange Store (AAFES) barbers have a poster which shows authorized haircut styles.

For male personnel, the hair must not fall over the ears or eyebrows, or touch the collar (except for closely cut hair at the back of the neck).

  • Hair should be tapered, except that "block cut" in the back is permitted in moderate degree.

  • Neither the bulk nor length of hair may interfere with the wearing of military headgear.

  • Sideburns must be neatly trimmed, not flared, and must not extend downward beyond the lowest part of the exterior ear opening.

  • The face must be clean-shaven.

  • If a mustache is worn after graduation from BCT/OSUT/AIT, it must be neatly trimmed.

  • No part of the mustache will cover the upper lip line or extend horizontally beyond or below the corner points of the mouth where the upper and lower lips join.

Male Grooming Standards

For female personnel, the requirements for hair regulations are to maintain uniformity within a military population for female Soldiers while in uniform, or in civilian clothes on duty, unless otherwise specified. Female hairstyles may not be eccentric or faddish and will present a conservative, professional appearance. For the purpose of these regulations, female hairstyles are organized into three basic categories: short length, medium length, and long length hair.

Short length. Short hair is defined as hair length that extends no more than 1 inch from the scalp (excluding bangs). Hair may be no shorter than 1/4 inch from the scalp (unless due to medical condition or injury), but may be evenly tapered to the scalp within 2 inches of the hair line edges. Bangs, if worn, may not fall below the eyebrows, may not interfere with the wear of all headgear, must lie neatly against the head, and not be visible underneath the front of the headgear. The width of the bangs may extend to the hairline at the temple.

Medium length. Medium hair is defined as hair length that does not extend beyond the lower edge of the collar (in all uniforms), and extends more than 1 inch from the scalp. Medium hair may fall naturally in uniform, and is not required to be secured. When worn loose, graduated hair styles are acceptable, but the length, as measured from the end of the total hair length to the base of the collar, may not exceed 1 inch difference in length, from the front to the back. Layered hairstyles are also authorized, so long as each hair’s length, as measured from the scalp to the hair’s end, is generally the same length giving a tapered appearance. The regulations for the wear of bangs detailed above, apply. No portion of the bulk of the hair, as measured from the scalp, will exceed 2 inches.

Long length. Long hair is defined as hair length that extends beyond the lower edge of the collar. Long hair will be neatly and inconspicuously fastened or pinned, except that bangs may be worn. The regulations for the wear of bangs detailed above, apply. No portion of the bulk of the hair, as measured from the scalp, will exceed 2 inches (except a bun, which may extend a maximum of 3 inches from the scalp) and be no wider than the width of the head.

Recent changes to the Army regulation now allow female Soldiers to wear their hair in two-strand twists. The Army also increased the size of acceptable braids.

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A wrist watch, identification bracelet, and up to two rings (a wedding set is considered to be one ring) may be worn with your uniform as long as they are conservative and tasteful. You may wear a religious medal on a chain around your neck provided neither medal nor chain can be seen.

Once you graduate from BCT/OSUT/AIT, female personnel are authorized to wear prescribed earrings with the ASU.

Earrings may be screw-on, clip-on, or post-type earrings, in gold, silver, white pearl, or diamond. The earrings will not exceed 6 mm or 1⁄4 inch in diameter, and they must be unadorned and spherical. When worn, the earrings will fit snugly against the ear. Females may wear earrings only as a matched pair, with only one earring per ear lobe.

Note: Females are not authorized to wear earrings with any class C (utility) uniform (ACU, hospital duty, food service, physical fitness, field, or organizational).

Body Piercing

Except for earrings worn by female Soldiers when wearing the ASU, no displaying objects, articles, jewelry, or ornamentation attached or affixed to or through the skin may be worn while in uniform. Neither can such adornments be worn while wearing civilian clothes (on or off duty) when on any military installation, or other places under military control. Females may wear any type of earrings off duty, on or off military installations.


Standards regarding cosmetics are necessary to maintain uniformity and to avoid an extreme or unprofessional appearance. Males are prohibited from wearing cosmetics, except when medically prescribed. Females are authorized to wear cosmetics with all uniforms, provided they are applied modestly and conservatively, and that they complement both the Soldier’s complexion and the uniform. Leaders at all levels must exercise good judgment when interpreting and enforcing this policy.

Eccentric, exaggerated, or faddish cosmetic styles and colors, to include makeup designed to cover tattoos, are inappropriate with the uniform and are prohibited. Permanent makeup, such as eyebrow or eyeliner, is authorized as long as the makeup conforms to the standards outlined above. Eyelash extensions are not authorized unless medically prescribed.

Females will not wear shades of lipstick that distinctly contrast with the natural color of their lips, that detract from the uniform, or that are faddish, eccentric, or exaggerated.

Females will comply with the cosmetics policy while in any military uniform or while in civilian clothes on duty.


All personnel will keep fingernails clean and neatly trimmed.

Males will keep nails trimmed so as not to extend beyond the fingertip.

Females will not exceed a nail length of 1⁄4 inch, as measured from the tip of the finger. Females will also trim nails shorter if the commander determines that the longer length detracts from the military image, presents a safety concern, or interferes with the performance of duties.


Note: Violation of tattoos policy by Soldiers may result in adverse administrative action and/or charges under the provisions of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).

Tattoos and brands are permanent markings that are difficult to reverse (in terms of financial cost, discomfort, and effectiveness of removal techniques). Before obtaining either a tattoo or a brand, Soldiers should consider talking to unit leaders to ensure that they understand the Army tattoo and brand policy. The words tattoo and brand are interchangeable in regards to this policy.

The following types of tattoos or brands are prejudicial to good order and discipline and are, therefore, prohibited anywhere on a Soldier’s body:

  • Extremist. Extremist tattoos or brands are those affiliated with, depicting, or symbolizing extremist philosophies, organizations, or activities. Extremist philosophies, organizations, and activities are those which advocate racial, gender, or ethnic hatred or intolerance; advocate, create, or engage in illegal discrimination based on race, color, gender, ethnicity, religion, or national origin; or advocate violence or other unlawful means of depriving individual rights under the U.S. Constitution, and Federal or State law (see AR 600–20).

  • Indecent. Indecent tattoos or brands are those that are grossly offensive to modesty, decency, propriety, or professionalism.

  • Sexist. Sexist tattoos or brands are those that advocate a philosophy that degrades or demeans a person based on gender.

  • Racist. Racist tattoos or brands are those that advocate a philosophy that degrades or demeans a person based on race, ethnicity, or national origin.

Tattoos or brands, regardless of subject matter, are prohibited on certain areas of the body as follows:

  • Soldiers are prohibited from having tattoos or brands on the head, face (except for permanent makeup, neck (anything above the t-shirt neck line to include on/inside the eyelids, mouth, and ears), wrists, hands, or fingers.

  • Soldiers may have no more than four visible tattoos below the elbow (to the wrist bone) or below the knee. The tattoos in these areas must be smaller than the size of the wearer’s hand with fingers extended and joined with the thumb touching the base of the index finger. The total count of all tattoos in these areas may not exceed a total of four.

    • A single tattoo is defined as one or multiple tattoos spaced apart that can still be covered by a circle with a diameter of five inches. Tattoos spaced apart that cannot be covered by a circle with a diameter of five inches are considered separate tattoos.

    • A band tattoo is a tattoo that fully encircles the circumference of the body part. Band tattoos may be no more than two inches in width. Each band tattoo counts as one authorized tattoo. Soldiers may have a total of one visible band tattoo on the body. The band tattoo may either be below one elbow (above the wrist bone) or below one knee.

    • A sleeve tattoo is a tattoo that is a very large tattoo or a collection of smaller tattoos that covers or almost covers a person’s arm or leg. Sleeve tattoos are not authorized below the elbow or below the knee.

  • Soldiers may not cover tattoos or brands with bandages or make up in order to comply with the tattoo policy.

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