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Essay On The Importance Of Obeying A Lawful Order From A Nco

I am writing this essay on the importance of following order because I recently disobeyed a few General orders. Our commanders put out orders and make them very clear to us for multiple reasons. One of the main reasons is that these orders are there to protect us as Soldiers and not only our images but the images of our fellow Soldiers and the Army itself. The Army and our commanding officers have our best interests at hand and they put in place the orders they do for that particular reason. As junior enlisted Soldiers we follow orders on a daily basis from our NCO’s in command of us so in this sense following orders is a part of our daily lives and jobs. We are reminded every day of our unit standard operating procedures, lawful orders, and standards. They are posted in our troop AO for all of us to clearly see and in our Mortar Section, we have a policy book containing every order as well. Not only do we have them there, but at the end of every work week our Squadron Commander gives us a safety brief. In every brief he gives, he clearly states all of the orders that we are to follow. The commander gives us this brief every week to make sure that we all clearly understand and acknowledge that we do understand.

These orders are nothing new to any of us and we are all well aware of them, but due to the effects of alcohol and a few bad decisions, I broke some of these lawful orders. One of the General Orders I broke was to not fraternize or socialize with NCO’s. It is important not to do this because it has many negative effects. We should not be socializing with our non-commissioned officers because it could cause trouble in the work place. For instance befriending an NCO could cause favoritism in the platoon and therefor a soldier would not pull his weight to say in the platoon during a work day. It also presents a bad image upon all parties involved. Most NCO’s are significantly older than the junior enlisted soldiers and we should all stay within our age groups and the Soldiers of close to equivalent our rank. Last and most important whatever the reasoning behind this order, it is an order and we as Soldiers have to follow all orders we are given. Another order that I disobeyed was the USFK curfew time of being back on post by 0100.

This is one of the most important orders we are given as Soldiers in the Republic of Korea. It was General Thurman, the USFK Commander, who put this law into effect. He did this so that Soldiers would not get into trouble and to protect all of us. We are in a foreign country and we are not all familiar with the areas around us or even fully understanding of their culture. It could be dangerous and we could be put in harm’s way if out to late as US Soldiers in this foreign country. The Curfew Law is also here because a lot of Soldiers like to relax after work and have a few drinks and go out with some friends. We have the curfew in place so that soldiers do not stay out all hours of the night getting belligerently drunk. It alsp helps us not to be out so late and highly intoxicated so that we don’t know what we’re doing or even spending all of our money. Being out late could also prevent us from functioning at one hundred percent the next day if it is a work day. The curfew protects us from spending all night out consuming alcohol and showing up the next day at work still intoxicated.

This not only harms us but the Soldiers we work with, but our entire unit. We are one team and only as strong as our weakest link. On the night of 21 August 2012, I was our weakest link. I went out with some members of my platoon and those of us that were of the legal drinking age had some drinks together. This was wrong in the sense that in doing this I broke more than one General Order. I was out with two non-commissioned officers from my platoon and when we started drinking that is when our platoon outing turned to fraternization between junior enlisted Soldiers and NCO’s. In the safety brief previously mentioned, our Commander tells us that it is wrong for us to do this, and we all know that it is. Disobeying my General Orders has not only affected me, but everyone around me. Because of the actions I took and the decisions I have made, my whole platoon, troop, and my unit is all suffering. I would like to sincerely apologize for everyone affected by my decisions and bad choices. Not only are my fellow Soldiers suffering, but also my family.

This has upset my wife and my family, and brought them to disappointment with me. The actions I have taken have not only brought morale embarrassment to me, but it is also going to affect me financially and hurt my career. I am now facing the possibility of UCMJ action and I could also be relieved and discharged from the army. I will lose money, rank and pay grade, and if I were to get discharged with a General Discharge, or OTH (Other Than Honorable), it would affect me negatively for the rest of my life. I would never be able to obtain a good, well-paying job to support me and my family, and it would follow me around forever. From all of these mistakes I’ve made, I’m going to use this as a learning experience and hope the Soldiers around me do the same and do not follow in my footsteps. I have learned from this and given the chance I will better myself from it and never make this or any major mistake again. If I had the opportunity to do it all over again, I would take the correct action and avoid all mistakes. Unfortunately I do not have the option so now I must suffer the consequences.

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When one seeks to explain something, first they must define what they are explaining. In the case of a document or other media, the definition is usually the thing itself. But, sometimes, the 'by the book' definition doesn't do a thing full justice. So, in order to insure full justice, as far as the author is able to provide it, UCMJ Article 92 is defined as the following:

Any person serving in the Armed Forces of America, is guilty of violating this article if they, through any means that can be prevented, disobey any order given by a superior, as long as that order is not itself illegal.

Let us break that down into more easily-digested terms.

Any person in the Armed Forces. That means, anyone who is currently (currently being at the time of the infraction) serving in any component of the Armed Forces. That means active duty, ready reserve, inactive reserve, training, DEP, shipboard, shore, infantry, deployed, on notification for deployment, or even when attached to a civilian job and not wearing a uniform. Any person who fits those critera is eligible, regardless of rank, duties, time in the service, time remaining until retirement, or history of conduct (either good or bad).

-Through any means that can be prevented. If the servicemember has any reasonable way to prevent the disobeyal of that order, and failed to, they are guilty. Unpreventable lapses are generally excusable, unless the reason it was unpreventable was the fault of the servicemember. Example: Order is given to belay a line and you go to your bunk instead: Culpable. Order is given to belay a line and the pylon breaks: Not culpable, unless something you did led to the pylon breaking.

-As long as the order itself is not illegal. Any order that, if carried out, would result in a disobeyal of any of the other UCMJ articles, is illegal. Any order that the superior does not have the authority to give, is illegal. Example: Telling a servicemember to commit hazing: illegal. Telling a servicemember to go to another command, when that superior giving the order is not in authority to send servicemember: illegal.

Article 92 is perhaps the most important article in the entirety of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. It lays down the ground law, the absolute line which may not be crossed. Everything else in the UCMJ is explanation of the various forms that disobeying an order can take. Without the support given by Article 92, servicemembers would be free to do whatever they want, whenever they want, and wouldn't be any more accountable than a civilian court. And the Judicial system in this country has been, sadly, much perverted from the goals it was created with.

However, military members are held to a higher standard. We are the line that protects this country, we are the defense against the storm. Without us, this country would not exist, could not exist. And for that, we must be strong, unified, and together. One voice, crying out against the enemy. One team, fighting to keep our countrymen's dreams untroubled. And if one person is disenting against that, it undermines the entire system. If the captain of a ship can't count on his orders being obeyed, without question, right away and to the best ability of the servicemember who is given them, then he might as well be sitting out there by himself, shooting his sidearm at the enemy.

The military can only function if orders, when given, are obeyed. And, as much as we would like to trust in the honesty and integrity of the human spirit, of the men and women who made that oath, put their lives on the line for their country, and fight to keep our brothers and sisters free, the sad truth is that there are many out there that, if not given a clear set of rules, a clear set of punishments for transgressions, will not follow the rules, will not care about the punishments, will not be productive, efficient members of the military machine.

That is why Article 92, and the entire UCMJ, are necessary. They reinforce the behavior of those who do the right thing, promoting it and praising it. They punish those who do not do the right thing, undercutting and stamping out such behaviors. With such a system, the bad eggs, those who are unable to fit into the machine, will be ground up by it and spit out. Broken, incomplete, forever bemoaning the lack of foresight and flexibility that would have saved them.

When we all work together, we are the most powerful fighting force the world has ever known.
When we do not, we are no more powerful than the least cohesive among us.

Which would you rather be a part of?