Military Bearing

Ask the Captain - Q&A (continued)

Question (February 2015):  I was driving down Pleasant Valley Road when someone in a Navy uniform came speeding past me, zipping in and out of traffic. It was a school zone and there were children everywhere. Is this how we want our Navy represented?

Answer: Thank you for bringing this incident to my attention. This does not meet the expectations of ANY citizen much less a Sailor in our great Navy.  Every Sailor and our civilian shipmates take our core values of Honor, Courage and Commitment very seriously.  They are values that steer our lives and our actions. As a junior officer, I was told that Integrity means doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.  This individual was certainly not doing the right thing, and we must remember, someone is ALWAYS watching.

This is also a great reminder of the fact that even off duty, we are all representatives of the U.S. Navy. The community in Ventura County is very supportive of our men and women in uniform and we owe it to our families, friends, neighbors and nation to behave in a way that is worthy of that support. Whether in a government vehicle, your personal vehicle or having a drink at the local bar or restaurant, we are highly visible role models in this community.  Our behavior today influences how we are perceived tomorrow and all members of the military enjoy a great deal of trust from the American people.  A trust that we value and cherish.  

I have passed along your concerns to the various leaders and units that call Naval Base Ventura County home and am confident we will reinforce what it means to be a citizen and neighbor in Ventura County. 

Question (September 2014): I live on base in Port Hueneme; my spouse is active duty. Last weekend a Chief stopped me at the NEX and told me I needed to turn my t-shirt inside out, as it was offensive and in violation of policy. I am not a member of the military, and I have a first amendment right to say whatever I like, including on my t-shirt. I think your Chiefs need more training.

Answer: In this case, it sounds like the Chief is doing exactly what we ask Chiefs to do: enforce standards. COMNAVREGSW Instruction 1020.1E covers uniform policy and guidance for civilian attire aboard Navy installations in the region, and you may have been in violation.

Anyone wishing to come aboard Navy Region Southwest installations or facilities must abide by certain standards of dress, designed to ensure no discredit is reflected upon the Navy. The regulation says, in part, that “Profanity, pornography, or advocation of drug usage” is not allowed nor are “sexually provocative, suggestive or racial comments, vulgarities or displays of offensive language.” It goes on to say that “all personnel, whether active duty, dependents or retirees, are required to comply” with this requirement.

While you are correct that you have freedom to wear what you choose, you may not always wear what you choose wherever you like. For example, schools and restaurants have dress codes. So do Navy installations.


Question (March 2014): I have noticed the rise in popularity of electronic cigarettes around the base. Is there an instruction or policy that describes the specifics on where people can use them on base?

Answer: Thank you for allowing me to address what is an area of great interest. We do not have an instruction specific to Naval Base Ventura County (NBVC) because higher-level instructions are clear.

Tobacco use inside facilities controlled by the Department of the Navy is prohibited by SECNAVINST 5100.13E, Navy and Marine Corps Tobacco Policy. There are a few exceptions, such as personal housing units. The Food and Drug Administration classifies e-cigarettes as tobacco products, and as such they fall under this restriction.

Like smokeless tobacco, e-cigarettes are not considered to be a safe alternative to smoking and are not a Navy medicine-approved smoking cessation tool. Tobacco use is the single largest preventable cause of premature death in our country. Your health and wellness are important to the country, the Navy and NBVC, and helping you quit safely is important.

For more information about Navy medicine policies and initiatives related to tobacco cessation, visit or talk to your physician during your next visit.


Question (September 2013): I get conflicting answers when asking this question. I recently transferred to the Naval Base Ventura County area and was wondering what the policy is for wearing headphones while doing PT on base. On Point Mugu the running area that is measured out and used for PRTs is also a roadway, and I have been told different things as far as wearing of headphones while running on base. If you could clarify, that would be greatly appreciated.

Answer: Thank you for allowing me to address this question. You may be getting conflicting answers because the right answer depends on where you are running.

According to NBVC Instruction 5100.1, “Safety Policy for Running and Conduction of Physical Training Onboard Naval Base Ventura County,” individuals and small groups running along NBVC’s roads are not authorized to wear headsets or earphones. This is considered a safety issue, as you may not be able to hear hazards, like vehicles, traveling the road with you.

On the other hand, if you’re conducting physical training on a track or gym, headphones are authorized, as the safety concern is diminished.

However, you should always check with your command to be sure their policy allows headphones to be worn during physical training, as they may be more restrictive in their uniform policy than our own safety policy.

Question (May 2012): Some of the most foul language I hear while on the base disturbs me as I know the military men and women of today are educated and could express themselves in a much better way. I am 84 plus and it disturbs me when I have my wife and she has to listen to foul language. Maybe someone in the units could advise personnel not to use foul language when there are non uniformed people around.



Answer:  Sir, first let me apologize for the language you and your wife may have heard from our service men and women on base. Foul language, especially in public, is not professional and not condoned under any circumstances. Our Sailors and Seabees are taught to be disciplined and courteous at all times. Command Master Chief Cyr and I take your concerns very seriously, and want you to know that this will be addressed at the senior enlisted leadership level. Thank you for taking the time to submit your concerns.

Question (June 2012): Captain, I have a concern pertaining to working out in the gymnasium while in uniform. Every now and then I will witness a military service member lifting weights in their working uniform occasionally during their lunch break. Service member will usually remove their top blouse and lift weights with the rest of their uniform on. Now I know a working uniform is not also considered a PT uniform. I have corrected a few members on this including an officer. I think this is totally unsat, a poor practice of personal hygiene, and just a bad example to our junior service members. Can this issue be made aware to all gym staff members? What's your take on this sir?

Answer:  We’ve made the call at Naval Base Ventura County to allow service members to work out in a relaxed uniform as long as it doesn’t cause damage to the equipment or facility. For example, we wouldn’t allow Sailors in work boots to play on the basketball court, but getting in a quick set of bicep curls at lunch is perfectly acceptable. I’ve spoken with NBVC Command Master Chief Thomas Cyr, and he agrees. There’s no regulation requiring PTs to be worn when exercising alone or restricting the wear of the uniform of the day at the gym. MWR staff is on board with this guidance. We will continue to monitor the situation, and if personnel abuse this policy, I will revisit. Thank you for your concern.

Question (April 2013): I am a DoD civilian employee who utilizes the Point Mugu gym (weight room) during lunch hours on a daily basis.  Is there a policy on the use of foul language in this facility?  Case in point:  There is a young Navy enlisted man who often uses the weight room during lunch hours as well.  When he is amongst his buddies he uses repulsive and offensive profanities that creates a very negative and uncomfortable environment for many of the patrons there, especially women.  I've complained at least three times to the front desk and, to the best of my knowledge, MWR employees have warned him.  Last week I even approached the young man myself asking him to please 'watch his mouth'-- that he was in 'mixed company'.  He told me he was sorry, but he has since returned back to his old ways.

Can signs be posted throughout the gym forbidding the use of profanities? Thank you, Sir.  Your help in this matter would be sincerely appreciated.

Answer: First let me apologize for the language you have heard from our service members while at the gym. Foul language, especially in public, is not professional and not condoned under any circumstances. Our Sailors and Seabees are taught to be disciplined and courteous at all times, and signs should not be necessary to remind them of that requirement. Command Master Chief Cyr and I take your concerns very seriously, and want you to know that this will be addressed at the senior enlisted leadership level. Additionally, I’ve directed our Morale, Welfare and Recreation program leads to discuss with their staff how to address the use of profanity in our facilities. Your patronage is important to the continued success of our MWR facilities. Thank you for taking the time to submit your concerns.


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