Not everyone understands the importance of The Code of the U.S. Fighting Force. However, many Americans do, from your boys and girls in ROTC to the spouses of military men and women and even their children. We all understand the standards, guidelines, and expectations that come with the uniform worn by our men and women in the armed services.
What I don't understand is how a president who attended a military school has no knowledge or understanding of the document that holds our military to a higher standard than any other military in the world.
There are six articles in the code and they are as follows:
I am an American, fighting in the forces which guard my country and our way of life. I am prepared to give my life in their defense.
I will never surrender of my own free will. If in command, I will never surrender the members of my command while they still have the means to resist.
If I am captured I will continue to resist by all means available. I will make every effort to escape and to aid others to escape. I will accept neither parole nor special favors from the enemy.
If I become a prisoner of war, I will keep faith with my fellow prisoners. I will give no information nor take part in any action which might be harmful to my comrades. If I am a senior, I will take command. If not, I will obey lawful orders of those appointed over me and will back them in every way.
When questioned, should I become a prisoner of war, I am required to give name, rank, service number, and date of birth. I will evade answering further questions to the utmost of my ability. I will make no oral or written statements disloyal to my country or its allies or harmful to their cause.
I will never forget that I am an American, fighting for freedom, responsible for my actions, and dedicated to the principles which made my country free. I will trust in my God and in the United States of America.
Five of these articles cover a specific action during wartime, and yes, we are still fighting the War on Terror. However, Article VI is the one that I am most interested in reviewing as it pertains to the current president and the actions of Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher. Gallagher was brought before the military justice system on multiple charges, including war crimes, and was eventually convicted of "wrongfully pos[ing] for an unofficial picture with a human casualty." He stood in front of his peers and was convicted. Gallagher put his personal conduct and behavior before his duty to his comrades and country.
So what did President Trump do? He issued Gallagher a full pardon.
My biggest fear from this administration is allowing our military professionals to turn into vigilantes and renegades. If we allow, excuse, or pardon such behavior from our own soldiers, what will happen when one of them becomes a prisoner of war to a foreign power or adversary? We can't expect respect if we aren't demanding it from our volunteer military.