8th Army makes changes to blue book

8th Army makes changes to blue book

by Staff Sgt. Joel Salgado
U.S. Army

CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea - Big changes are approved for the Eighth Army Blue Book. The changes, dated January 5, 2018, align with recent updates of Army Regulation 670-1, including the standards for shaving and wearing certain jewelry while off duty.

The Blue Book outlines Eighth Army's basic standards for individual appearance, discipline, conduct and military courtesy for all personnel stationed or on temporary duty as part of Eighth Army.

Eighth Army Commander Lt. Gen. Michael A. Bills approved the changes in part to address concerns brought to Command Sgt. Maj. Richard Merritt, the senior enlisted advisor for Eighth Army, by Soldiers and leaders.

Bills said he wants constant input from the field to grow and improve the organization, and these changes are a result of direct feedback he gets via Merritt's interaction with Soldiers.

Merritt said, "In the past, we've been more restrictive in four areas of appearance of our Soldiers in order to keep a strong alliance here on the 'pen' in regards to the cultural norms of the Korean population but [times and trends] have changed."

Merritt said, the Korean people are very accepting of western standards of appearance now and it was these observations along with suggestions from Soldiers and leaders that lead to the Eighth Army Blue Book changes.

The following standards are in effect immediately:

- Civilian headgear may now be worn indoors at locations on post, with three exceptions. Hats are still not authorized while wearing civilian clothing at Dining Facilities, movie theaters or chapels in accordance with Eighth Army established norms. Civilian headgear may now also be worn sideways or backwards.

- Male Soldiers will no longer need to shave while off duty wearing civilian clothing on a military installation.

- Earrings may now be worn by males while off duty in civilian clothes regardless of whether they are on or off post.

- Female hair standards will now follow all guidelines of AR 670-1.

- Leaders may now modify the Army Physical Fitness Uniform to incorporate specific elements of the tactical combat uniform, including combat boots, protective vest, and assault pack, when performing conditioning foot marches on any day except Thursday.

Bills said these changes still allow Soldiers of Eighth Army to be good ambassadors of the U.S. Army when interacting with the Korean people.

Merritt noted that leaders must continue to ensure Soldiers are maintaining the high standards expected of them by Army regulation.

"Changing the standard doesn't change discipline," said Merritt. "The NCO Corps are still the stewards of our standards and are required to enforce them."

The Jan. 5, 2018 edition of the Eighth Army Blue Book is available on the command's official webpage. To download the full text with the changes, visit the Eighth Army website: http://8tharmy.korea.army.mil/site/resource/8a-blue-book.asp.

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