Posted on Jan 1, 2021
SFC Kathy Pepper
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When I was in Basic Training in 1981, our Drill Sergeant told us that we may not speak against the President because he is our boss; over the next 35 years, I heard only one Soldier make an offensive comment. I have been reading opinions about LTC Alexander Vindman, and have seen Trump being both vilified and deified. Is it considered okay to make disrespectful comments when one is no longer active?
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MAJ Dale E. Wilson, Ph.D.
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Maybe Douglas MacArthur, James Mattis, or John Kelly will weigh in on this. Seriously, though, for all the complaints about Trump's "thin skin," he has been remarkably tolerant of the vituperation heaped upon him.

I suspect many of us critical of the president elect, the left in general and of a Christian conservative bent are going to find out when Big Tech and the DOJ finish their review of our social media footprint. . . .
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CPL Henry Miller
CPL Henry Miller
1 mo
See case of Major General Edwin Walker my Divisional CO in Germany. At the time of the founding of the John Birch Society. He pushed 'Birch written material on the troops.
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Frank Leverett
Frank Leverett
1 mo
This is exactly it! Twitter and FB started it before 20 Jan, banning President Trump, and then ramping up their "if you defy us you're banned." Schumer of the "I want to restrict free speech" fame is now "Majority leader" and you will see attempts to repeal or amend certain rights, then, the SHTF.
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SGT Richard McArthur
SGT Richard McArthur
1 mo
Once out of the military, one is no longer bound by guidelines or restrictions that apply to the military. In short, Sgt. R.P. McArthur (discharged) can make any comments I want on a President etc. Of course, if they are defamatory and false, I can be sued; if I incite violence, I might be prosecuted. But that has nothing to do with my brief service.
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SPC Edward Oliver
SPC Edward Oliver
1 mo
but if you are drawing pension better check deep deep deep.
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Capt Gregory Prickett
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The UCMJ prohibits serving officers from using "contemptuous words against the President, the Vice President, Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of a military department, the Secretary of Homeland Security. . . ." (Art. 88, UCMJ). An enlisted member would be charged under the general article, art. 134.

But the UCMJ doesn't apply to reservists who are not on duty. So reservists can do so to their hearts content.
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Capt Gregory Prickett
Capt Gregory Prickett
1 mo
SFC (Join to see) - It's going to vary, but you clearly have a good idea. If you are on active duty, or if you are in a drill/AT status, I would err on the side of caution. If you go Guard, make sure that you are familiar with the state code. For example, in Texas, Art. 88 covered the governor, and not the president, but they would like charge "conduct unbecoming." Just be careful.
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SSgt Chris Francis
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1LT Human Resources Officer
1LT (Join to see)
1 mo
As a Reservist I can say I have recently been in two separate divisions and both have warned agsinst exactly this.

Social media is the world these Soldiers live in and grew up in. Yes, we can get jammed up for things that occur "off duty." Here's a very realistic scenario: Joe posts disparaging remarks about the POTUS on Wednesday. The post generates a lot of laughter and feedback, affirming and disagreeing. Weekend drill comes around 3 days later and that post is still visible and active. You can see pictures of Joe, his buddies, and his uniform on the page. Joe is not safe because he typed those comments before drill. Am I missing something here?
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Capt Gregory Prickett
Capt Gregory Prickett
1 mo
1LT (Join to see) - yes, whether or not Joe has a decent lawyer, either military or civilian. Joe's not subject to the jurisdiction of the UCMJ for something that he posted while he was not on duty, period. That would mean that he would have to take it to a court-martial, with all of the attendant issues. A military judge would dismiss the charge, but Joe still has to deal with a pissed off chain of command who is now intent on building a case against Joe that won't fail.

I didn't do anything that would come close to the line until after I retired. That's the advice I would give Joe, but the law is as I stated.
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Cpl Software Engineer
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I've seen a few of our active duty members make some questionable comments about the current president. The UCMJ seems to be a suggestion for the modern military. The type of comments I see today would have AD's in some hot water just 30 years ago.
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Cpl Software Engineer
Cpl (Join to see)
1 mo
George Avery That appears to be a well educated response. The only thing that is missing is the UCMJ which was first established in 1950 with major revisions in 1968 and 1983. The rules of military conduct have changed since Lincoln was called a "well-meaning baboon."
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1LT Human Resources Officer
1LT (Join to see)
1 mo
George Avery Ahhhhh! The refreshing scent of history forcing us from our narrow worldview of the first time we see an event being the first time it existed in such form. Thank you!
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1LT Human Resources Officer
1LT (Join to see)
1 mo
Cpl (Join to see) You seemed more fair and on task at first and then you took your hard turn off the road. This thread isn't about the man, it's about the office...and what holds true for any person in that office. Most of us have had enough of the presidential election urinating contest...your preferred choice of the two isn't relevant to this conversation. I am under president number 4, two dems 2 repubs. I don't like Soldiers disparaging the POTUS in uniform and on duty, hasn't mattered whether I like the guy or not. Didn't like it under Bush, Obama, Trump and now Biden. See how doable that is?
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George Avery
George Avery
1 mo
Cpl (Join to see) - On the other hand, the Articles of War existed back to the Revolution. For example, Article 62 of the 1912-1920 revision of the Army Articles specifically addressed disrespect to the President, Vice President, and Secretary of War. Article 5 of the Civil War era version stated that "Any officer or soldier who shall use contemptuous or disrespectful words against the President of the United States, against the Vice-President thereof, against Congress of the United States, or against the Chief Magistrate or Legislature of any of the United States, in which he may be quartered, if a commissioned officer, shall be cashiered, or otherwise be punished, as a courts-martial shall direct; if a non-commissioned officer or soldier, he shall suffer such punishment as shall be inflicted on him by the sentence of a court-martial."

In essence, nothing has changed about the status of disrespectful conduct towards the President. Remember, military law did not begin with the National Security Act of 1947.
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