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Lesson 8: There is no such thing as private property.

From the moment that you get off the bus on that first day to the day you either separate or retire from your military service, there is no such thing as private property.  Personal belongings are a myth. Everything is subject to inspection or review and even if you are considered proficient when it comes to the knowledge of military rules and regulations, there are no exceptions.

That first day of military training is the day you surrender all the rights you enjoyed as a civilian and you start learning to embrace an entirely different style of governing in your daily affairs.  The only thing that can prevent the access of others into your personal things is your level and skill of ingenuity when it comes to the art of hiding or concealing things. The better able to are when it comes to concealment, the less likely you are to have any secrets you want to keep, exposed.

For example, let’s say you like a certain type of music or movie genre but it is not exactly smiled upon in your unit.  It is a hobby that you feel is personal and you don’t want your team members to know about it or to see you in a different light.  The ability to maintain that secret will rest entirely on how crafty you are when it comes to hiding anything that might indicate these things to your colleagues.  It is absolutely OK to want to keep certain things to yourself. It is a liberating feeling to have something that is pure and unmolested by the rest of the things going on in your life.  I get it, but if there is something you want to keep private, you have to take extra measures to protect it.

There is an expectation of privacy in the military, once you are beyond basic training and your technical schools.  There are rules and regulations in place to protect these rights. BUT, there is also a military policy that completely circumvents any and all others and gives the military complete access to absolutely everything in your world.  It is called “Health and wellness inspection.” These four words are Uncle Sam’s key into the entire world of any individual that the Uniformed Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) applies to.

A “Health and wellness inspection” is the military’s way of saying, “we need to look into the personal life of the said individual to ensure that they are living a happy and healthy lifestyle that will positively contribute to the mission of the armed forces.”  What they actually mean is, “your right to privacy is temporarily suspended while we look for anything that might negatively impact the operations of our armed forces.” Pretty cute huh? And there is no counter or legal justification to combat a “Health and wellness inspection.”  It is a part of the military lifestyle.

The moral here is if you want to keep something private, you have to learn to hide it.  I do not encourage using this for bad, but there are plenty of bad habits out there that you might want to keep private, and you have every right to.  Smoking, chewing tobacco, an addiction to sour gummy worms, whatever it is if it is something you love but wish to keep from people for whatever reason, learn to be creative in the art of concealment.

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