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Can my Chain of Command or Commander order me or force me to buy a watch for PT?

Can a commander force Soldiers to buy a watch and wear it to PT? If we do not do it the threat is we will be counseled?

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Short Answer

No

AR 670-1

AR 670-1, Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia, para 2-6f, Commanders WILL NOT REQUIRE individuals to purchase optional uniform items. Likewise, they will not restrict or discourage them from wearing optional uniform items authorized by this regulation, except in those instances where uniformity is required, such as parades or formations.

Para 3-4a. states, “Soldiers MAY wear a wristwatch, a wrist identification bracelet, and a total of two rings (a wedding set is considered one ring) with Army uniforms, unless prohibited by the commander for safety or health reasons. (emphasis added).

 Discussion

The key take away is that Commander, by regulation, cannot force a Soldier to purchase optional uniform items per AR 670-1, para 2-6f.  The wristwatch is considered jewelry IAW with AR 670-1, para 3-4a, and as such, an optional uniform item.  Ergo, the Commander cannot order a Soldier to purchase a wristwatch.

 Items to Consider

Is this the battle you want to fight?  Not all battle are worth the fight!  The command can highly encourage Soldiers to have one.  Do you want to be THAT GUY who bucks the system at every turn?  At some point every Soldier screws up.  If you are the Soldier who creates grief for his NCO leadership over trivial issues, you may not get the support you desire when you have to stand before the 1SG or Commander.  I am in no way saying this is correct I am just saying to think through your response.

Your Attitude and Tone

Your attitude and tone in handling issues like this are very important.  It is very important that you be factual, respectful, calm, and professional.  Take the high road.  If you get emotional it will not workout in your favor.

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Mark is a Retired Command Sergeant Major with 26 years of military leadership experience. He held 3 military occupational specialties (Field Artillery, Nuclear Weapons Tech, and Ammunition Ordnance). Mark is one of the leading military authors in the fields of leadership, counseling, and training.

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