Within a Military environment it is a well known fact that punctuality holds an extremely high level of importance. If you’re the type of person who is NEVER on time then we suggest that you read this blog for a bit of a kick up the bum!
Within a Military environment it is a well known fact that punctuality holds an extremely high level of importance. If you’re the type of person who is NEVER on time then we suggest that you work on this prior to enlistment or appointment.
In the Military there is a saying. ‘If you’re not 5 minutes early, you’re late’.
A common misconception is that you just have to be on time otherwise you’ll get charged. Whilst it is true that you will more than likely have disciplinary action taken against you if you are late for any given timing, punctuality is a valued concept in the Military for much stronger reasons.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
Being on time shows discipline. This is instilled in you from the moment you step off the bus at basic training. If you’re the person in your group of friends who is renowned for being late, then this is something you will definitely want to work on. Being on time shows reliability. If we can’t rely on you to get yourself anywhere on time then how can we rely on you to pull your weight when the going gets tough?
Respect is shown through punctuality. A level of respect to your fellow soldiers, your unit, your hierarchy and to the ADF as a whole. The same goes for training prior to enlisting into the ADF. Respect your coaches by turning up on time. This way you are warmed up effectively and won’t get injured, the coach doesn’t have to explain the session to you a second time when they’ve already explained it to your group and you’re showing your coach that you’re taking the training seriously.
IMPACT ON OPERATIONS
Being punctual in the Military allows tasks to be completed. If people just show up whenever they feel like it then time sensitive tasks are unable to be completed and this could have a flow on effect for an entire operation.
I’ll give you an example. You’re all told to arrive at 0700h to pack a vehicle that is driving up to Shoalwater Bay to deliver equipment to a contingent that is conducting an activity at 1030h the following day.
Your boss gets there at 0600h, a few of you rock up at 0700h and the rest all trickle feed in between 0700-0730h. The vehicle needs to depart at 0800h sharp in order to make the timings for the first leg of the drive. Due to members not getting there on time, there weren’t enough people to help lift heavy items into the vehicle. You had to wait until there were enough people there to help with the lift which pushed the time it took to pack the vehicle out by half an hour.
The vehicle wasn’t ready for inspection until 0800 when it was supposed to be ready by 0730. The inspection takes 45 minutes. The driver and co-driver also need to be briefed and go through their safety checks before departing. They are now leaving base at 0900h which is 1.5 hours late.
They are now stuck in the morning traffic which they had planned to avoid and won’t make it to the end of their first leg of the drive until much later than expected. This has now thrown out the timings for the entire drive and the contingent in Shoalwater Bay who are waiting for the delivery of this equipment can no longer go ahead with their exercise. This contingent were conducting mandatory training for an upcoming deployment and now have their deployment in jeopardy as they cannot go without this specific training they were due to conduct.
If the soldiers who were told to report at 0700h had done so as ordered, then everything would have gone to plan. Now there are members of your unit who are due to go on a deployment who may not be able to go. They may not be able to provide their skills and services where it’s required. The simple fix for this is to treat timings seriously and be on time.
IMPACT ON INDIVIDUALS
The Military has a very strict disciplinary system. This is to ensure that order is maintained within the ranks and discipline is adhered to at all times.
If you are late, then you will get charged. There are, of course, extenuating circumstances that may be taken into account. It could also depend on your chain of command as to whether they choose to take disciplinary action or not.
I got charged for being late in the early stages of my career. I was on IETs down in Puckapunyal and had been up late most nights studying for my course and upcoming assessments. During my lunch break I ducked back to my room to have a power nap. I didn’t set an alarm on my Motorola flip phone (this was well before iPhones) because I didn’t think I’d actually fall asleep. But I did. I crashed out hard and napped right up until 1300h on the dot. We were told to be back in class by 1300h, which in Military terms means that you have to be 5 minutes early. I jumped up, grabbed my bag and sprinted to class. As I ran through the door, everyone swung their heads around and looked at me because they knew I was in trouble. In my head my first thought was ‘WHY DIDN’T ANYONE COME AND GET ME’, however I also knew that as an adult it was my responsibility to get myself to work on time. My instructor just said ‘Gunner Box, take your seat please’.
As soon as the class ended I went straight up to apologise because I knew I was in trouble and would be facing disciplinary action. I’d disobeyed a lawful command so it was only fair.
My punishment was 3 back-to-back guard duties. This meant 3 x 24 hour periods of being on duty which meant no free time, no gym, no socialising, no drinking and not a lot of sleep. Usually you will be rostered on for 1 guard duty a month, so 3 in a row was pretty rough and definitely helped me learn my lesson. It also taught everyone else on my course to never be late but to also look out for their mates and if someone wasn’t at class, to run back to their room and find them.
This example is pretty mild. So let me tell you a story about a more extreme example.
Punctuality demonstrates to your chain of command that you are serious about your job. It proves that you are ready and have the motivation to conduct your job to the best of your ability. When I was preparing for my second deployment to Afghanistan, we were ordered to be at work at 0700h one day to conduct additional training that was required of us. One of the soldiers didn’t show up for the morning parade - this was very unusual. He lived on base and another soldier was told to go back to his room and find him. He had slept in. He hadn’t set an alarm and had slept in and failed to report for duty.
He was taken off the deployment as his punishment. He was the only person who failed to show up for work at the expected reporting time and as a consequence his spot went to another soldier who was on the reserve list and had been performing at a much higher standard across all disciplines of soldiering.
This example is extreme. This example highlights the opportunity that you could lose if you fail to be punctual. The opportunity to serve your country on foreign soil is a privilege and something that every soldier aspires to do. Do not lose the possibility of a career highlight by being late.
‘If you’re not 5 minutes early, you’re late’
The Military isn’t a school camp. It’s an organisation that is run by highly experienced professionals across many disciplines and is there to protect our country. It’s serious and should be treated as such. Being on time shows that you take your position in the Military seriously and that you can be relied upon to do your job well.
The Military is known for being strict, regimental and having a high expectation on people with regards to punctuality. Being punctual is proof that you can manage your time well. Being on time shows that you value the time of others which is crucial in any workplace or training facility.
Remember why you decided to join the Military and what you want to get out of it. If you’re there because you like structure, fitness and discipline and hope for a long lasting career, then it’s important to work hard to change your habits so you can adhere to these elements of Military life.
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