To obey someone means to comply with or fulfill the commands, restrictions, wishes, or instructions of that specific person. We are taught as children to obey our higher-ups. Starting from our parents, teachers, managers, police officers and etc… So how does this relate to the military? Well, when a person enlists in the United States Military, active duty or reserve, they take the following oath; “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice.” Right there you are making a promise to the United States Military. Before you even put on the uniform, you promise you’ll obey the orders of the President and the orders of the officers appointed over you. Military discipline and effectiveness is built on the foundation of obedience to orders. Brand new privates are taught to obey, immediately and without question, orders from their superiors, right from day one of boot camp. Almost every soldier can tell you that obedience was drilled into their heads at one point in Basic Training. For example, no talking in the chow line, don’t talk with your hands, head and eyes forward, no smiling, stand a parade rest, and of course the famous “Yes Drill Sergeant / No Drill Sergeant”. Those are just the simple orders you are made to obey in the military. Greater orders mean bigger consequences. Military members who fail to obey the lawful orders of their superiors risk serious consequences.
What is the punishment for disobeying a lawful order? According to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (also known as UCMJ), Article 90, Assaulting or willfully disobeying superior commissioned officer states, “Any person subject to this chapter who — (1) strikes his superior commissioned officer or draws or lifts up any weapon or offers any violence against him while he is in the execution of his office; or (2) willfully disobeys a lawful command of his superior commissioned officer; shall be punished, if the offense is committed in time of war, by death or such other punishment as a court-martial may direct, and if the offense is committed at any other time, by such punishment, other than death, as a court-martial may direct.”
Article 91, Insubordinate conduct toward warrant officer, noncommissioned officer, or petty officer states, “Any warrant officer or enlisted member who (1) strikes or assaults a warrant officer, noncommissioned officer, or petty officer, while that officer is in the execution of his office (2) willfully disobeys the lawful order of a warrant officer, noncommissioned officer, or petty officer; or (3) treats with contempt or is disrespectful in language or deportment toward a warrant officer, noncommissioned officer, or petty officer while that officer is in the execution of his office; shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.”
Article 92, Failure to obey order or regulation states, “Any person subject to this chapter who— (1) Violates or fails to obey any lawful general order or regulation; (2) having knowledge of any other lawful order issued by a member of the armed forces, which it is his duty to obey, fails to obey the order; or (3) is derelict in the performance of his duties; shall be punished as a court-martial may direct”.”
Another form of punishment is Non-judicial punishment otherwise known as an Article 15. Non-judicial punishment permits commanders to administratively discipline troops without a court-martial. Punishment according to UCMJ states; “(a) any commanding officer may, in addition to or in lieu of admonition or reprimand, impose one or more of the following disciplinary punishments for minor offenses without the intervention of a court-martial— (1) upon...
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