MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. -- Marines and Sailors don’t think twice about wearing a flak jacket and Kevlar when going into combat training, but they have second thoughts about, and even disregard, wearing reflective safety gear during physical training.
Although an $8 belt that lasts a lifetime doesn’t make a troop look as tough as the flak jacket and Kevlar, it saves lives and is a direct order from Headquarters Marine Corps and the Combat Center.
Not only is it required to wear reflective safety gear during physical training, but also any time military personnel are subjected to automotive traffic during their assigned duties, such as controlling traffic, repairing roadways, working construction and repairing telephone or electrical lines on or near roadways, according to Marine Corps Order 5100.19E.
These orders apply before morning colors and after evening colors, when light is limited.
Individuals are not allowed to walk, jog or run on roadways during high traffic density, and installation commanders are required to designate and publish which roadways and time periods apply, according to the MCO.
Combat Center Order P1630.8C identifies Del Valle Road as a high traffic density area. Crossing Del Valle Road is permitted with road guards posted to warn and guide oncoming traffic. Road guards are required to wear reflective vests, in addition to carrying flashlights, as stated in the MCO and the CCO.
Bicyclists are directed to follow certain safety precautions as well. Bicycles are not allowed to be operated during hours of darkness unless equipped with specific reflective items that include:
•A headlamp emitting a white visible beam from a distance of 300 feet in front and from the sides of the bicycle.
•A red reflector on the rear, visible from 500 feet when directly in front of a vehicle with its front headlights on.
•White or yellow reflectors on each pedal visible from the front and rear of the bicycle from 200 feet.
•White or yellow reflectors on each side of the forward center of the bicycle and red reflectors on each side of the rear center of the bicycle.
•The rider is required to wear a reflective vest.
Motorcyclists are required to follow certain guidelines as well, according to CCO P1630.8C. They are required to wear a properly fastened protective helmet, impact or shatter resistant goggles or full-face shield, brightly colored long-sleeved shirt, full-length pants, reflective vest, hard-soled shoes and protective gloves.
Violators of these orders are subject to punitive action under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
“The biggest thing is safety,” said Sgt. Maj. James M. Ricker, Combat Center sergeant major. “It’s about survivability of Marines and Sailors and using common sense.”
A unit leader takes on the responsibility of fellow troops and it can be considered neglect when a unit leader doesn’t ensure his troops have all required safety gear, Ricker explained.
“It comes down to, ‘What will the investigating officer say,’” he added. “It’s a tragedy to have to explain an incident you could have controlled.”