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migliore
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Posted on Sun, Oct 17, 2010 17:46

This post takes a look as some of the past and potential consequences of fraternization.  Here's an honest warning: if you continue reading, what you will read may put you in a sad and despairing mood. Often we are convinced that understanding is always a good thing -- and that may be true -- yet knowledge can also be a burden.  As Bob Seeger once wrote, "I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then."

 

Over the last few decades, rather than having separate officers and enlisted clubs for off-duty socializing, some posts created "all-ranks" clubs.  In 1993 a talented and energetic Second Lieutenant who had recently graduated from Princeton attended one such club while she was awaiting her first assignment. A respected enlisted soldier asked her to dance with him, and she turned him down.

 

She was pronounced dead the next morning.  A military jury found the enlisted soldier guilty of her murder.  In apparent violation of another aspect of the principle of non-fraternization, he was housed in the same temporary barracks as her, so he knew where to find her.  Fraternizing blurs the professional relationships which must remain clear in a military environment and creates dangerously unstable conditions.  How her parents must have wished the traditional non-fraternization policy had been enforced.

 

A commanding officer of a company I was assigned to got around the non-fraternization policy by dating a female enlisted soldier who was in another section outside of his command.  Although not technically a violation this type relationship is still discouraged.  They began living together and when he tried to leave her she used a pistol in their home to shoot him and then herself.   As the rifle fire rang out during his 21-gun salute, crackling unpleasantly in my ears, I thought of what I would say to his father.  "Sir, I am very sad about your loss and I will pray for you and your family."  She had a family too.

 

During a tour of duty in NYC I met an outstanding police officer who had been a hostage negotiator for many years before beginning a new assignment in counter-terrorism.  She was a person of immense intelligence, compassion and insight.  My understanding is that she was dating a man who held a high rank in the police department before retiring.  According to news accounts, she was found dead of an apparent suicide in the building where he lived.  A week after meeting this gifted woman I had the opportunity to meet her family at her memorial service.

 

When handling a difficult circumstances I can hope for the best, yet I also need to be congnizant of dangers inherent in many situations.  The non-fraternization policy exists because playing with fire is unsafe and life is worth living.

 



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migliore
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Posted on Sun, Oct 24, 2010 04:53

D,

A more enlightened approach is the one the NY Jets appear have adopted, where they bring in voluptuous female reporters and hostesses for the employees to socialize with.  They have had good luck with that.



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migliore
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Posted on Fri, Oct 22, 2010 04:08

Pat, 

 

You explained what is in play perfectly: human nature.  We ignore this reality at great peril.

 

Andy



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Curious2078
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Posted on Thu, Oct 21, 2010 20:15

Quoting Tinkerbelle:

I know next to nothing about military matters and although its not politically correct in todays modern world, I have to agree that the non fraternisation policy has to be a good one. Granted your examples were extreme ones , however the principle still stands Even in the workplace theres still a case to be heard for keeping a discrete distance from ones employees. I have been an employer for over 30 years and I have to say the team works best when theres a little natural distance between me and my staff. As soon as the lines become blurred respect disappears and problems arise. In the military these observations must be even more acute. Maintaining authority at each chain of command must be imperative so the distance created is very necessary. You write well Migliore and have given us some interesting insights into the Military


An "AMEN" to that!  For the first time in some 20 years I am in the position of "boss."  Thank God some of my "smarts" have kicked in to keep me at a discreet distance from the employees. 

 

Quoting Tink, As soon as the lines become blurred respect disappears.  This is not some "evil" brought about by less than scrupulous employees--or bosses.  This is just the way it is.   Just the way it is when you have levels of authority.  Period.  It's been this way since forever because human nature has been this way since forever and will not change no matter how much some folks try to change it....  This is just human nature.  

 

I'd make an effort to explain this better, but it's late, and I have to get to sleep so I can get up tomorrow morning and be at work in time to "boss" the employees around properly.  LOLOLOL.

​ 

Pat   ​



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migliore
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Posted on Wed, Oct 20, 2010 15:36

John,

Old school rocks!  We get the job done.  Keep the faith, my friend.

Andy



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attaboy127
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Posted on Wed, Oct 20, 2010 06:31

Yes, Tinkerbelle, M does write well and gets to the point well also!    Crossing the Enlisted/Officer lines, to date, has been a topic in the Military for years.     Mixed barracks and Clubs would not seem to work in my mind (old school military) because of the possible breakdown of authority in times of crisis. 

M, life is definitely worth the living.

God bless,

John



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migliore
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Posted on Mon, Oct 18, 2010 05:10

You sum up the issue nicely Tinkerbelle. Roger that the team works best when we work together as professionals rather than "mates".  123, you're right there are alot more places to hide in the civilian world, particularly for scam artists.



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Tinkerbelle
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Posted on Mon, Oct 18, 2010 00:23

I know next to nothing about military matters and although its not politically correct in todays modern world, I have to agree that the non fraternisation policy has to be a good one. Granted your examples were extreme ones , however the principle still stands Even in the workplace theres still a case to be heard for keeping a discrete distance from ones employees. I have been an employer for over 30 years and I have to say the team works best when theres a little natural distance between me and my staff. As soon as the lines become blurred respect disappears and problems arise. In the military these observations must be even more acute. Maintaining authority at each chain of command must be imperative so the distance created is very necessary. You write well Migliore and have given us some interesting insights into the Military


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wwww12345
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Posted on Sun, Oct 17, 2010 22:15

Fraternization occurs in civilian life even more--when you hang out or date people who are not your equal, who are unstable, or lack character. Unfortunately civilians do not have rank, etc. that indicates their accomplishments, training, education, stability, fitness for command, leadership, etc. There are no controls at all, and as a result a lot of crooks and evil people become rich, or famous, and obtain high "status" in civilian society. Think about it.


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