Navy must act quickly against personnel who defy oath
KEY POINTS FOR THE MILITARY
Enlisted personnel, officers must take an oath when joining the military
Military personnel are bound to support and defend the Constitution
SCOTUS states a different application of rules differs for civilians, military
The Navy schools sailors on proper social media etiquette
Navy must act swiftly toward those who defy the regulations
When 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick decided to take a knee during the national anthem in August, he provoked a dialogue for what he called inappropriate use of law enforcement treatment against blacks. What ensued was a firestorm of reaction from those saying Kaepernick had the right to express himself because of his First Amendment rights to politicizing the NFL venue with polarizing discourse that was not done on the appropriate stage.
Copy-cat reaction resulted after Kaepernick’s protest from more NFL players expressing their feelings toward oppression to high-school players in Oakland, Calif., lying on their backs.
Several sailors protested the national anthem, but unlike their civilian counterparts, they now face punishment for their actions and rightfully so; furthermore, a sailor coming under fire for her actions decided to post comments on social media, which also increased condemnation of her actions from both the Navy and veterans.
Serving in the military comes at a price. Once men and women take the oath to serve, they surrender many of their rights afforded to their civilian counterparts. Sailors living in a Navy town know exactly what the oath means … to defend the Constitution not Black Lives Matter. Additionally, the men and women who serve in the military must remain politically neutral.
Two female sailors recently protested during the national anthem and referred to the Black Lives Matter protest as their basis of not honoring their oaths. Both sailors can be punished under the Uniform Cody of Military Justice, yet it appears the Navy is only willing to take administrative action … or they say.
The Navy Reserve Forces Command, though, recently published a guidance reminding sailors that they can be punished for their protests. The guidance cited Navy Regulation 1205 that mandates active duty and reserve sailors in uniform must stand at attention and face the flag during the playing of the national anthem. Failure to comply is also punishable under Article 92 of the UCMJ that states service members who conduct themselves in a manner contrary to Article 92 are subject to disciplinary action.
No middle ground exits. No personal political protest is allowed; additionally, military personnel in civilian attire attending a function such as watching a movie at the theater are also required to stand for the national anthem.
One sailor took her cause further by posting on Facebook that the Navy took action against her for remaining seated during the national anthem, which the Navy said was under review.
There is no review about it. If sailors or soldiers, airmen or Marines do not abide by Article 92, then they are in violation and action needs to be quick. A reminder informing the troops about their responsibilities does nothing more than delay the punishment for poor behavior.
To the sailors who brought their political agenda to the playing of the national anthem, you volunteered to enlist and by virtue of that, you took an oath. Article 92 is not muddled in verbiage; as a matter of fact, it is quite specific and enforced by the U.S. Supreme Court as re-emphasized by the Navy guidance.
“While military personnel are not excluded from the protection granted by the First Amendment, the US Supreme Court has stated that the different character of our community and of the military requires a different application of those protections.”
The Navy has also schooled sailors with the usage of social media and that usage must not discredit the Naval Service.
Since the two sailors made a conscientious effort to discredit their oath and one decided to make her case known on Facebook, the military must act swiftly instead of reissuing guidance to the regulations that are already in place. All the military services are bound to take some type of action when defiance rears its ugly head and military members use poor judgment. Serving in the military is not about “me”!
While some comments on social media support administrative action against the sailors in question, we feel the service should not tap dance around the issue and either separate the sailors from the military or allow them to resign.
Editorials written by the LVN Editorial Board appear on Wednesdays.