Top Enlisted Soldier Calls Out Trashy Troops, MilFams

Trash in a shopping cart on Fort Irwin, California, snapped by then CSM Dale J. Perez. (Facebook)
Trash in a shopping cart on Fort Irwin, California, snapped by then CSM Dale J. Perez. (Facebook)

When you leave trash in your commissary cart, let your vehicle tags expire, allow your dog to poop outside unsupervised, and drive around with loud music, you are showing that you have no self-respect.

"Take your garbage and shop off post if you can’t pick up after yourself."

That's the message the top enlisted soldier on Fort Irwin sent to fans of that post's Facebook page late last week.

Command Sgt. Maj. Dale Perez first sent the internet into a tizzy early this month when he instituted a post-wide dress code and wrote about it on the post's Facebook page. The personal responsibility post, paired with this commissary cart photo, was posted Friday.

"The appearance of customers' trash in the shopping carts at our commissary and our exchange are just another example of just how far some people's individual responsibility has degraded, assuming of course, they even possessed a noticeable and appreciable degree of individual responsibility to begin with," he wrote. "It is indicative of the very low level of pride, self-respect, decency, and disregard for others that some members of our community have."

He also listed trash outside people's homes and bad driving habits as other signs of no self or community respect.

"You will also see the same piece of trash in the same spot for a week straight in our housing areas ~ sadly in both our junior and senior neighborhoods!" he wrote. "Individual responsibility has taken a permanent furlough in regards to seatbelt use, talking or texting on the phone while driving, rolling through stop signs, pets in the laps of drivers, loud music, unrestrained children, expired plates (or no plates), and speeding."

Some readers wondered why Perez is focusing on what they see as a small issue when there are what they consider to be other, larger problems.

"This post is why I never wanted to re-enlist. A CSM talking about trash and car registration? Wow," wrote Kris Porter.

"This is not the proper forum to address these issues on, just what a storm this stirred up ... over 100 comments!" wrote Megan Studdard. "Not everyone on this installation is going to keep their yard the way you like or dress or behave how you want them to. I do not think Fort Irwin has this great breakdown in standards that people complain about, and frankly I think it's the command group finding problems with this community. Having been stationed all over, I find this post to have the least amount of major problems I find on other installations because we are so isolated here so the smaller 'issues' are blown out of proportion."

But many readers agreed with Perez, saying that a lack of individual pride and responsibility had a trickle down effect and creates other problems.

"It starts small. When people stop taking pride in "the little things" bigger problems arise," wrote Tonya Covington Adams. "When they stop doing the right thing the wrong becomes acceptable."

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