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The “Disco Belt”

June 2nd, 2010 by Andrew

For those who wanted to know:

While “in theater” at certain military installations throughout the world you must wear a highly reflective belt during low-light and night time conditions. The thought process being that it makes you more visible to friendlies and less likely to be hurt in an accident such as being hit by a vehicle.

Now this thinking is good in the minds of military leadership. However the thinking is flawed because you must wear it regardless of where you are, what you are doing and what you are wearing. The only exception is security forces when working on the perimeter. So at night it is not unusual to see soldiers in their reflective PT uniforms wearing lurid green, yellow, blue and pink belts as the lounge around drinking in a highly lit area. Or to see the soldiers in their state-of-the-art camouflaged uniform, that the government payed millions of dollars to design and implement, wearing a belt that completely defeats its purpose. To top it all off, most the areas where you would find said soldiers had no form of traffic with cars and such. And even if it did, it was so flat you could see a vehicle coming from five miles away. As Carlos Mencia put it, what kind of a retard cannot get out of the way when you can see a car coming from five miles away! Even Rainman would say “There’s a car coming. We need to move because there’s a car coming. Yup, definitely a car coming.”

As such, the reflective belt is commonly scorned over there. Some people disagreed so much that they’d “lose” their belt and not have time to get a replacement. To fix this the General made all reflective belt issuable and trackable. This means that when you receive one you must sign for it, keep account of it, and return it when you outprocess. It is also a LOR (Letter of Reprimand) offense to be caught without out one.

So needless to say, reflective belts are a touchy subject over there. If you want some good stories though, sit down at the bar with a recently returned soldier and ask him/her about the “Disco Belt.”

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33 Responses to “The “Disco Belt””

  1. kat Says:

    of course, because why not wear a reflective belt over a state of the art camo uniform….
    This is why all command decisions should be made by someone who was an NCO before they became an officer. Actually, I don’t even think you should be able to be an officer if you haven’t been an NCO first.
    Also, skippy’s rule about decisions being ratified by a two-thirds majority would be great.


    CCO reply on June 2nd, 2010 8:52 pm:

    That’s the Heinlein did the Federation military in Starship Troopers.


    StoneWolf reply on June 3rd, 2010 3:30 am:

    Yup. Really good book too. Course he also required Federal Service (not necessarily military, civil counted too)to be a Citizen (basically you get to vote. That’s the only perk. And you can still be called back up in an emergency).


    Catherine reply on June 2nd, 2010 9:52 pm:

    Well, there’s a reason “military intelligence” is considered an oxymoron.
    I’m sure the enemy snipers appreciate the efforts of our generals. And it’s true; anyone in higher command should have to serve their time in the trenches first.

    Captcha; Girdle in. Why, yes they do have to turn the shiny girdles in…


  2. Schwal Says:

    The big question for me is how well standard issue body armor protects against M16 fire.

    If it will protect you, I see no (good) reason for the belts. If not…

    Captcha: not crooner
    It’s a disco belt, not a crooner belt. Now shave off that ridiculous pompadour. Where did you even get a white tuxedo around here anyway?


    SSG Hay reply on June 3rd, 2010 6:28 am:

    The current body armor the Army uses (IBA and ESAPI plates) works really good against 5.56mm NATO rounds, and 7.62mm from AK-47s. I do fail to see how that’s pertinent to how well a reflective belt will help the driver of a vehicle see you at night, but to each their own.


    Schwal reply on June 3rd, 2010 8:23 am:

    As the article points out, it’s nearly impossible to get yourself hit by a car (or tank, or APC) if you or the driver is paying the slightest bit of attention.

    Friendly fire on the other hand, is far more likely. And if the body armor protects against that, I fail to see a reason for the belt.

    Captcha: Mid-emceed
    I guess you could say that’s what the belt does.


    Wyvrex reply on June 4th, 2010 9:59 am:

    Even if you are wearing the newer vests with side plates, and wearing your helmet there is still over %50 of the surface area of your body exposed. In that %50 are arteries and other things that can make you dead.

    But still, reflective belts are the bane of my existence.

  3. steelcobra Says:

    This is what I liked about deploying to an SF task force – no belts. I didn’t even have one with me.


  4. Catherine Says:

    Also, for some reason I now have Lady Gaga stuck in my head. Just one phrase, over and over…

    “Let’s have some fun/This beat is sick/I wanna take a ride on your disco stick…”

    Thanks. Thanks so much.
    You know, actually I can see Lady Gaga wearing a reflective belt and not a whole lot else. She might have done that already, come to think of it.


    StoneWolf reply on June 3rd, 2010 3:32 am:

    But if that’s she’s got on, that would be a GOOD use, not a bad use. Unless of course you want her to take the belt off…

    Captcha: Pounding that-really Captcha? That’s what you give me right after making a suggestive post? Cause you know, I would…


    AriesOmega reply on June 4th, 2010 1:55 pm:

    Lady Gaga…in a disco belt…with little else. Mmmmm…I mean she is kinda hot when not dressed up like a Batman villian. Sooo glad they didn’t have that crap when I was in as “mandatory” when I was in Colorado. When I was in Kentucky I thought it was just some weird TRADOC dick dance thing.


  5. SSG Hay Says:

    The absolute best is when you get a bunch of vets filking the “this is my rifle” scene from “Full Metal Jacket”:

    This is my reflective belt, there are many like it, but this one is mine! Without me, my reflective belt is nothing; without my reflective belt, I am nothing!


    Adam reply on June 3rd, 2010 12:34 pm:

    For some reason, I was thinking of the “this is for fighting, this is for fun” scene…


    AFP reply on June 14th, 2010 4:05 am:

    Now I’m picturing a soldier choking a bad guy to death with an elastic reflective belt.


    Catherine reply on June 14th, 2010 9:32 am:

    That mental picture is so awesome that there are no words to properly describe it.

  6. Phelps Says:

    Does the order require that the belt be worn over the uniform, or can it be “worn” under the uniform? Yes, I have it on, even if it is not visible.


    oneluckyduck reply on August 27th, 2010 1:24 am:

    *waggles eyebrows*
    /insert cliche suggestive comment here, just to keep with the theme/


  7. CCO Says:

    I had a CO who forbade hooches (stringing a poncho over your cot in the summer) on FTX’s so people wouldn’t get run over in the encampment (AA for you military minded personnel). But a reflective belt–in a warzone??? The phrase “echelons above reality” comes to mind.


  8. Anonymous and STILL Employed Says:

    Captcha: Nephews for
    What’s that, sir? KEEP the belt? Awww man, I already sent it home to my nephew – it’s his birthday.


  9. M578Jockey Says:

    Typical military nonsense. In basic we were taught to NEVER salute and officer in the field. Every unit I was in required us to salute officers in the field. In the mid eighties when US military personnel were considered to be a great target for just about anyone, DOD decided to relax haircut regulations to make personnel overseas less vulnerable. The Marines allowed their people some leeway. The Army decided it was better to make us targets than to let us grow our hair out a little. I could go on and on.

    Captcha: Mourned Washington: George, yes. DC, probably not.


    kat reply on June 5th, 2010 8:01 am:

    And for all that, I can usually recognize Soldiers and Marines on sight. I’ve actually chided Marines in civvies because I know that they have restrictions on what they can wear.


    Andrew reply on June 7th, 2010 1:08 pm:

    Ah, that brings to mind the newest addition to stupid regs. In some areas over there you must now salute all officers upon recognition reguardless of what you or they are wearing.


    CCO reply on June 8th, 2010 7:54 am:

    IN THE ARMY? That sounds like the Navy! Even in the shower?


    Catherine reply on June 14th, 2010 9:34 am:

    That could lead to some awkwardness…

  10. Dragdamar Says:

    I’ve seen the pictures, really stupid. In my day we had to wear orange vests when when moving in formation, day or night, and 4 guys (2 in front and 2 in the rear) had to have the flashlight with orange cones on them to stop traffic when you crossed roads, even in the back 40 where there is no traffic.

    When I did field training I only saluted officers I didn’t like, and they knew it.

    Captcha: Lamest 18? Really? 18 what?


  11. cmdr. crashlander Says:

    I was Army stationed on an airforce base in Colorado in the mid 80’s (the now defunct Lowry TTC that straddled the city line between Denver and Aurora) and all the airforce trainees fresh from Lackland were required to wear a flourecent green disco belt and carry a gray flashlight with the bright green “donkey dick” on at all timess during formation movement.(on a base that was comprised of five square miles of perfectly flat asphalt with one main road down the center and scattered buildings) The Army battle cry when ever we would witness this foolishness wes “GO LUKE SKYWALKER!! It really didn’t go well with their pickle suits either.


    David B reply on March 9th, 2014 10:53 pm:

    Same with greenhorn conductors, brakemen, and switchmen perm FRA rules. They are a sickly shade of yellow, earning them the name of piss vests. We even had to wear them in the damn cab!


  12. MAJ.Ret Says:

    We were required to comply with the belt rule dirung my entire deployment at Camp Buehring. (Yeah, I know, don’t start talking about that suck post until you’ve been stationed there an entire year.) I found that the belts served 2 puroposes: 1) they made pedestrians less aware, because they had a false sense of security (“I have my belt, they’ll see me and stop”) and 2) they made vehicle drivers less aware, because if you weren’t wearing a belt, they weren’t looking for you. Buehring at night is blacker than four feet up a bull’s ass, and the belts do their job – they reflect light. That doesn’t make up for the stupidity of people driving way too fast through populated areas, or dumb fuckers walking four abreast down one of the few paved roads.

    Take it for what it’s worth, but the belt is a crutch to make up for two training deficiencies: driver training and basic safety.


  13. AFP Says:

    One area I think the belts work awesome in: Fog. This is also the one area that the ABUs camouflage perfectly, in my experience. Evidently they are the same shade of neutral grey as a dense fogbank.

    CAPTCHA: Nerdy Agreement – All nerds agree, the ABUs blend in well with the fog!


  14. twilight hater Says:

    lol some airforce firefighter was just dishonerably discharged in korea for not wearing his disco belt during a fire on base even though he was in all his reflective gear


  15. Willdo Says:

    The best part of these belts is being a smart ass and getting uniform colored belts as well as black reflective belts lets just say I had to add will not wear smart ass belts to Willdos list of things the Airforce told him not to do The pink ones also mean hooker in Afghanistan and are now banned


  16. A. Jones Says:

    We have launched a new product to our ONLINE-STORE, it’s called Neat Reflective Band, it’s four (4) pieces of 2″ inches wide ELASTIC with VELCRO FASTENERS at each end, a total of 90″ inches in length, we don’t know your size or how you will using them. But if you are on the go in the EARLY Morning, or at NIGHT, this is what you are looking for. You can use it as a ARM BAND,WAST BAND OR A LEG BAND, and we can COSTOMIZE it for you.


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