There are many aspects of being a soldier, a soldier must have certain attributes and skill to maintain an everyday army lifestyle. They must not be lacking in any one of the attributes required. Punctuality and responsibility are among two of the most important attributes any one soldier must have. Punctuality is the ability to be at the right place in the right time in the right uniform. On any one day in the United States Army a soldier will be required to be at a certain place at a certain time in a certain uniform several times each day. The first example would be PT formation.
Every day at PT formation prior to conducting PRT several important things happen. First of all, all soldiers are accounted for. This is important to make sure that all the soldiers are accounted for by the platoon sergeant and they are in good health and still alive. Second the platoon sergeant will often have important or useful information to the soldier. Third the first sergeant holds formation, making sure he has accountability of all of his soldiers and puts out any information that he may have. Last but not least the soldiers will conduct PRT.
Being late and missing any of these events can have negative effects on the soldier other than just disciplinary action. If the soldier is not at formation in time, the platoon sergeant does not know where the soldier might be or in what condition that soldier might be in, for all they know the soldier could have gotten arrested the night before or worse. This in turn will cause an NCO to have to go to the barracks to look for the soldier, taking them away from the formation and any other business that may need to be handled by that NCO.
Then the soldier will miss important information that needs to be put out by the platoon sergeant and mistakes on the soldiers part may be made due to the fact that he simply did not know. If the platoon sergeant has still not gotten ahold of the soldier by the time first sergeant holds formation, the platoon sergeant must inform the first sergeant that they do not have accountability of that soldier. If the soldier still does not show up, they are now missing PRT and physical fitness is an absolute must have attribute to maintain a lifestyle in the United States Army.
The soldier will then be required to report to their place of duty after conducting personal hygiene. In my case it would mean reporting to the SSA by 0900. Working at the SSA is unlike working at the company, there is always work to be done and with as much work as there is to be done we are extremely understaffed. There are many days when everyone arrives to the SSA we will have a little meeting to discuss everything that needs to be done on the particular day and assign each individual to their area of duty for that day.
Not being there in time could mean missing important information that will then have to be explained again to that individual. Also, being one person short at the SSA is a big deal due to the sheer amount of work to be done. Among these other downfalls of being late to work call I also do not own a car, this can cause even more complications. If I miss a ride and do not make it down to the SSA by the time everyone else gets there this means I now have to find other means of getting there.
If that means taking the bus then I must wait for the bus to arrive and wait on all the other stops along the way taking valuable time out of the day that I could be helping to complete the task at the SSA. If I do not take the bus then this means I must find someone to give me a ride to the SSA. Having to get a ride to the SSA from someone who is already present at the SSA is a huge inconvenience due to the distance of the SSA from the barracks. It is about a 20 minute drive both ways.
This means that another soldier besides myself will have to leave the SSA, leaving two less people to work for at least 40 minutes. Another issue arises with this because gas prices are extremely high at this day in age so driving an unnecessary 40 minutes is definitely someone that everyone would like to avoid. Other than that, sometimes there are special formations, for example a battalion formation for a safety briefing Friday afternoon. I must admit that there are many things that I would rather do than walk up to battalion formation, late, during sergeant majors safety briefing.
I’m sure I don’t have to explain the kind of hell being late to that formation would bring me. On top of that safety briefings are extremely important. Yes, there are many points that are repeated at every formation which I have heard many times but there are often certain things that are stressed some weekends more than others due to situations that have been occurring around the barracks. There are many other examples I could use of special formations and/or places to be but overall the point is the same, it is very important to be at the right place at the right time in the right uniform.
This is all part of a larger learning experience because when I go downrange being late becomes more than a matter of disciplinary action or writing an essay, it becomes a matter of life and death. There will be situations that arise that require me to be punctual or put my battle buddies and my own life in jeopardy. Having said that I understand the importance of being punctual. I know that there are many more measures I must take in order to create the littlest possibility of me being late because to be a successful soldier in the United States Army I must always be punctual.