Professional soldiers and the importance of silence regarding the Office of the President….

Warning: This post will deal with politics briefly. However, it is written from the perspective of a former soldier. I will not be harping on the Democrats or Republicans.

There is an important rule in the military regarding the Commander in Chief while serving on active duty. It goes like this: You don’t have the right to criticize the president.

Recently, I have been in touch with friends from my Army days, many who hate the current president. While most of us are retired from active service, a few of us are not. When I was a fresh scrubbed private (E-3), I was caught in the motorpool discussing the current election. “Will Bush be able to get re-elected?” As we were discussing it, some of us rather loudly, an NCO from the S-1 shop overheard our conversation. He broke up our heated discussion and told us we didn’t have the right to discuss politics because we were soldiers.  We scattered and continued to prep for our field exercise until the end of day formation was called.

It was Friday, and we all could not wait to get off for family time.

Just as we were about to be dismissed, the NCO lifted his hand and called us out. Then he proceeded to rip into those of us that had been in the motorpool discussing the election. “Your job as a soldier is to follow the orders of the Commander in Chief, regardless of whether he is a Democrat or a Republican! You don’t get to criticize the President of the United States!”

And just like that, my weekend plans were demolished. I spent several hours in a sand pit doing a variety of exercises in the hot, Texas sun. It was a lesson that was imprinted on my soul, I never forgot it. So, imagine my surprise when some of my friends not only disagreed openly with President Trump’s acquittal but went on Facebook and took issue with some of his policies.

I haven’t been in for eight years, but it still seems like it would be a no-no. If anyone is wondering why Col. Vindman has been removed from the White House, it would fall under this type of action. “You wear the uniform of your country; therefore, the president of your country is your boss. Hence, he is your president! You do not take sides; you do not usurp his authority.” I bet none of my active duty friends sent back that 3% raise they got at the first of the year. “I’m sorry, sir. I disagree with your policies and I can’t accept this money!” Yeah, I promise you that didn’t happen.

Here is a prime example: As a Sergeant in 2008, I did not vote for Obama nor the Republican version of Obama. Yet, when asked what I thought of Senator Obama, I maintained my silence. When President Obama was re-elected and we came down on orders to get deployed, I trained and prepared to go to war for my country. If I had been given an order I disagreed with, I would have followed it to the letter as long as it was lawful. Why? Because that is what a professional soldier does. They don’t take to social media to bad mouth the president.

There were many things I disagreed with when Obama was president. I retired from military service in 2012. When I got out of the military, I let loose on how much I didn’t like President Obama’s policies. However, as long as I wore the uniform of my country, I kept my dislike to myself. It’s high time we got back to this standard.

Until next time,

Freeman, L.

11 February 2020

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