You may not want to know this …


All those of us who took up military service under the US flag took an oath which most of us have engraved on our souls.  

In the context of last week's attack on the US Capitol, the question of the status of; active duty soldiers, reservists, former military and military retirees has come up in the press.

Many of us think that our oath is sacramental, i.e., spiritual in meaning and that it is indelible and eternal.  You may feel that to be true but that belief is not legally true.

In the course of my 30 year enlisted and officer service and then 8 years as a DoD SES I had occasion to discuss the oath with many JAG officers and General Counsels.  This came up repeatedly because of  a need to determine what the continuing obligations of people were.

In fact, the oath is contractual rather than sacramental.

If you are "discharged" or "dismissed" (officers) from the service you are no longer bound by your oath.  Your service has legally ended.  OTOH if you are "retired" from the military whether officer or enlisted  you remain a member of the military and are still bound by your oath.  pl

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28 Responses to You may not want to know this …

  1. Chuck Light says:

    Would this mean that Larry Rendell Brock, Jr., Lt. Col. USAF (Ret.) violated his oath as an officer when he participated in the attack on the Capitol, wearing camo and a military style helmet and carrying handcuff style zip ties?

  2. turcopolier says:

    Chuck Light
    The clothing means nothing. Otherwise, IMO, yes.

  3. BoyDownTheLane says:

    Interesting article on the oath…
    Would like to see someone compare and contrast that perception with the pledge of allegiance which was owned and embedded cognitively and otherwise from early youth on and came into focus as I matured to watch JFK get slain in public and my parents and their peers being pretty hush-hush about it, and then of course Bobby and Martin, and the Gulf of Tonkin, and My Lai, and COINTELPRO, and 9/11, and the WMD’s, and reading dozens of books on those assassinations, and the truth about Skull and Bones, and Operation Paperclip, and the secret surrender, and the Gehlen organization, and MK-Ultra, and watching your brother get eaten from the inside out by Agent Orange, and your wife suffer from the cancer embedded in the polio vaccine.
    Speak to me about oaths.

  4. Fourth and Long says:

    Ten steps ahead of me Sir. At first I didn’t think so.

  5. Chuck Light says:

    Agreed the clothing is irrelevant. I described it to link him to the photograph which most probably led to his arrest.
    Another question, Colonel, if I may. Assuming his actions violated his oath, could the Air Force ask the Justice Department for permission to try him under the Military Code of Justice, and if so, would he have placed his retirement benefits in jeopardy?
    Just trying to understand what would motivate a retired officer to place his military career in jeopardy. Do you think he did not know he was violating his oath as an officer, or that he just didn’t care about that?

  6. J says:

    And then there is the sticky wicket……who is the REAL Commander In Chief? Is it Chinese Espionage Joe, or is it DJT?

  7. turcopolier says:

    I have been busy drinking and and watching the boob tube. In your egotism you think that I would answer you on demand? You demand my attention? Who the hell are you kid? Now I take notice of your stupidity. You must be an academic or a grad student (same thing). This is yet more childish, adolescent evasion of any responsibility for history. You poor thing! Life is hard! History is cruel, but you think it should be kind. What an ass you are.

  8. Chuck Light says:

    He may be an ass Colonel, and possibly an academic, I have no way of knowing. But if he is telling the truth, he is no kid, and probably way past the point of graduate school.
    He says “…as I matured to watch JFK get slain in public and my parents and their peers being pretty hush-hush about it…. I was 17 when Kennedy was shot, and I am now almost 75. So if this self-centered egoist was alive then, he is at least 57 years old.
    Nice to know you and I, while we disagree about most everything, both have a drink or three and watch the boob tube come sundown. Red wine helps bring on the sleep sandman.

  9. BillWade says:

    Reminders are appreciated, particularly Col Lang’s explanation of “Commander in Chief” in the past. It was really galling that the MSM would have us believe that Obama was the Commander in Chief of Mrs Smith’s 4th grade class.

  10. Fred says:

    Chuck Light,
    You mean you don’t understand what motivates 70+ million Americans. It sure isn’t loyalty to BLM/Antifa and their cultural marxist foundations.

  11. Chuck Light says:

    Fred: That is exactly what I mean.

  12. Fred,
    Speaking of what motivated the 70+ million Trump voters, from reports on polling, listening to the news, and conversations with friends; I estimate 50% are “yellow dog” Republicans. Similar to the yellow dog Texas Democrats of years ago. Another bunch like the balances in their IRAs and 401Ks. The rest, perhaps 15 to 20 % are simply loyal to Trump, the man and not so much concerned with policy. I think that amounts to 12 million of the 70+. In other words, most are not going to the barricades and many will be repulsed by the events of Jan. 6. At least I hope so.

  13. scott s. says:

    OK, let’s say you are “bound by your oath”. Who determines that you are violating your oath and what is the punishment? Administrative separation? Because I don’t see in the MCM where
    “violation of oath” is an offense. Now I could see charging under Article 116 for riot or breach of peace.

  14. turcopolier says:

    scott s
    Breaking your oath in any number of ways is a punishable offense under UCMJ and anyone subject to UCMJ has “standing” to charge anyone else subject to UCMJ.

  15. turcopolier says:

    William Fizgerald
    If it is that you think that the Plebian Revolt here will die out with the disappearance of Orange Man, then I think you are kidding yourself.

  16. Chuck Light says:

    William Fitzgerald: You may want to read the TPM article in the link below regarding the latest polls.

  17. Fred says:

    William Fitzgerald,
    “I estimate 50% are “yellow dog” Republicans…”
    You’re smoking some good stuff, I suggest you open a retail outlet.
    I can explain it for you, I can’t “understand it” for you.

  18. Chuck Light says:

    Fred: If your explanation is rational, no need to worry about my ability to understand it. Go ahead and explain.

  19. Shako says:

    This is correct! It is a contractual oath and why no Confederate officers who resigned from the U.S. Army or U.S. Navy were ever tried for treason. They resigned and their contractual obligations were terminated. it is amazing that 19th Century Americans had a better grasp of legal procedure, the use of standard American English and legal requirement than modern day 21st Century Americans. I attribute this to a very strong ahistoric tread in American culture, anchored in the concrete of invincible ignorance.

  20. Fred says:

    It’s been getting explained to you on the host’s blog for more than a decade. As distastful as it might be you might trying listening to some of Trump’s past stump speeches, starting from 2015 or so, discarding the ‘lock her up’ boilerplate and see what might motivate an American voter. Or you could venture out of California and see some of fly-over country; provided you do more than see it from a car window as you drive the interstate.

  21. Chuck Light says:

    Fred: I live in California. I was born in upstate New York shortly before Trump was born in Queens. I have driven across the United States five times. And during those trips I have stopped numerous times, spent nights in various places, and actually spoken to people.
    You said you could explain why thousands among the 74,200,000 +/- citizens who voted for Trump would be motivated to attack the nation’s Capitol and risk arrest, and in the case of my example risk their military retirement. What I see is snark. I am waiting for your explanation. My guess is that you cannot explain it to yourself, let alone anyone else. No offense intended.
    BTW: I only found this Committee of Correspondence last year.

  22. Kilo 4/11 says:

    The oath of enlistment and oath for commissioned officers includes the words “…I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic”
    Lt. Col Brock, like millions of Americans, may have concluded that what the Democrats and their establishment Republican allies had done and seemed poised to do made them domestic enemies. I hold that what Pence and McConnel did on 6 January fits that definition to a t.

  23. turcopolier says:

    kilo 4/11
    If Brock is actually “retired” from the USAF then he is legally bound by his oath. If he is not “retired” then he is not bound by an oath he once took no matter ow much he may FEEL he is so bound.

  24. Fred says:

    “you could explain why thousands among the 74,200,000”
    Thousands didn’t. 74,000,000 or so Trump voters didn’t go to D.C. Did you miss that part? One individual out of those millions, presumed to be a ‘retired’ officer, was amongst those few who did. Ask him what motivated him, words attributed to him are already widely available. The arrest totals, did you see ‘thousands’ reported somewhere? I haven’t. I did see this:
    “The FBI has arrested #BlackLivesMatter self-described anti-fascist John Sullivan for leading the charge during the insurrection at the Capitol.”
    The rest of the people inside the captial building: Fools egged on by an ‘agent provocateur’ following months of BLM/Antifa rioting that killed 50+, injured hundreds and was loudly and broadly proclaimed to be ‘mostly peaceful’ by the people who have told us for years Trump was put into office by Russian collusion. Keep up the narrative, maybe it will persuade some more people this time around rather than just further inflame the antifa/BLM base.

  25. Chuck Light says:

    Fred claims (to be accurate he restates a quotation from an unidentified source) that “[t]he FBI has arrested #BlackLivesMatter self-described anti-fascist John Sullivan for leading the charge during the insurrection at the Capitol.”
    He then provides a link to the Affidavit in support of the arrest.
    What becomes apparent upon a cursory reading of the Affidavit is that nowhere in that document does the phrase Black Lives Matter appear. Sullivan is not described as a member of Black Lives Matter. He is rather described as the founder of an organization (of one, apparently) named “Insurgence USA.”
    Additionally, the Affidavit does not allege anywhere that Sullivan was “leading the charge during the insurrection.” Whoever originally wrote that quote made that part up as well.
    It doesn’t take much research to learn a bit about John Sullivan. The Salt Lake Tribune wrote an article about Sullivan following his arrest. It quotes Lex Scott, founder of the Utah Chapter of Black Lives Matter. The following is from the article:
    “At his second protest he invited the Proud Boys on stage, he invited the militias on stage and said, ‘We want to work with you, we want to be friends with you,’” Scott said. “That is when he officially got blackballed by the activist community.”
    Scott said Sullivan never attended any of the BLM meetings, never worked on any of their initiatives, never helped with their push for police reform.
    “This guy is a clout-chaser, someone who is only here for fame or money or someone who just needs attention,” she said. “He’s a thorn in my side.”
    So if the leader of the Utah Black Lives Matter chapter is to be believed, John Sullivan has never been a member of Black Lives Matter. He has been, per the leader of the Utah Chapter, “a thorn in my side.”
    The article continues:
    In an extensive Twitter thread, a group of Washington state activists tweeting under the handle @RebellionBaby document a series of events where Sullivan is accused of carelessly sharing details of planned actions, leading people to waiting police where they were arrested or compromising the identities of individuals in the group — leading them to believe he was at best seeking attention and at worst an infiltrator.
    In addition to being banished from Black Lives Matters events in Utah and shunned by groups in other cities, he is also accused of profiting from the cause.
    On his Insurgence website he hocks face coverings, gas masks, bullet-proof vests, spear knives, T-shirts and jogging pants. And he promotes himself relentlessly on a network of social media accounts.

    Apparently, Fred, in an attempt to mislead and misinform, seeks to place responsibility for the January 6 attack on the Capitol on left-wing organizations, like Black Lives Matter and “Antifa” (an accusation the FBI and the DC Police and the Capitol Police and Homeland Security reject out of hand and describe as right-wing disinformation), rather than simply accepting the truth which appears right before their eyes — that those who stormed the Capitol on January 6 were Trump supporters — carrying Trump Flags, wearing MAGA hats, and telling the FBI in interviews that they came to the Capitol because Trump told them to.
    Nice try, Fred. Find another Affidavit establishing the arrest of another Black Lives Matter activist.

  26. Fred says:

    Chuck Light,
    “Fred claims” Now with disclaimers. It grieves me greatly that the twitter account, which I quoted, that linked to the DOJ was not linked properly placed in a reply on a blog post. Here it is:
    “…in addition to being banished from Black Lives Matters…. ”
    So he was banished from BLM; does that mean he no longer supports them? Is there a disavowal of his out there somewhere?
    Here’s another indepth analysis of the accused:
    Completely unrelated evaluation of protests past and to come:

  27. Chuck Light says:

    Fred: The fact that you rely on Twitter as your source for information says a whole lot about you, and very little about the information.

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