When the Intruder landed I didn’t notice anything, it cleared the runway and began to taxi towards me. I raised my arms above my head signaling the pilot to follow my directions. As he got closer I lowered my left arm while waving my right hand above my head signaling him to turn left now. As the jet made the turn that’s when I saw the damage, the entire right side of the ray dome (the nose) was GONE… Not loose, not cracked, not split, It Was GONE! I signaled for the aircraft to continue towards me and as it pulled onto the parking spot I crossed my arms over my head signaling him to stop and shut the engines down. I went under the jet to place the wooden blocks in front and behind the wheels to keep the aircraft from rolling out of position.
As I crawled out from under the Intruder the pilot was climbing down from the cockpit, he looked at me and said “Chief, Speed tape it and fuel her up… I’m out of here”. Catching me off guard I replied “Speed tape what?” thinking to myself you can tape over a small crack or split for a one-time-flight back to home-station but there’s nothing to stick the tape to, it’s a 3’ by 4’ gaping hole. Guess he didn’t like my comment, that’s when he came back with “Just tape it sergeant… that’s an ORDER!” Me, not being known for, say, sugar coating my thoughts came back with “I don’t think so…, Sir”. I could see his face turn red and the veins bulge in his neck as he turned and stormed off towards Base Ops. I took a moment to put the safety down-lock pins in the landing gear and headed back to my end of the flightline.
I never heard a word about my disobeying an order.
You see, in the military you’re obligated to not follow an order that isn’t legal or moral. Had I done as the pilot requested (then “Ordered”) I would have been guilty of allowing him to endanger himself, his aircraft and possibly others if it fell from the sky. Personally I couldn’t live with the thought of what could have happened had I blindly done what I was “ORDERED” to do. Even if it’s a written order it may not stand up as being legitimate. Think back to 1942 Nazi Germany, “Endlosung der Judenfrage” (English: Final Solution to the Jewish Question). The order was written, administered by the civilian authority and carried out by the military branches “as ordered”, the systematic genocide of European Jews…
At the end of the war during the Nuremberg War Crime Trials several of the officer and enlisted military participants’ tried to defend their actions by saying “We were just following orders”. Their attempt to deflect responsibility failed… They were guilty of allowing the harm to be done. Many of the military participants’ paid for blindly following orders by spending years in prison, others paid with their lives.
That brings me to one of my favorite documents, one that I’ve sited many times. Its short (only 2 sentences long) and quite simple, almost beautiful in its simplicity. I’m speaking of the military Oath of Enlistment.
"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. So help me God."
The part that many do not understand (and some fear) is; “I will obey the orders of the President of the
and the orders of the officers appointed over me” but this is really only a
very limited authority. The true
authority comes next: “according to regulations and the Uniform Code of
Military Justice. Like I mentioned
before, military members are obligated not to follow an order that isn’t legal
or moral. There is only one hard and
fast order that every military member is obligated to follow “I will support
and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies,
foreign and domestic”. I just love the
sound, the cadence, the clarity. It’s simple and direct. Not obligated to this
political party or that party, not in support of this agenda or that fad. No, its “…support and defend the Constitution
of the United States ”,
PERIOD!!! United States
This brings me to the conversations of today.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t be vigilant, history is riddled with individuals that thought they could succeed in dominating others, imposing their will upon the masses but each met with failure. Just as others have tried I’m sure more will try in the future, only to fail as in previous attempts. Where are the tyrants of history? Did any succeed in developing a lasting society based on oppression? So the next time the thought of massive forced gun control (confiscation) or rounding up and relocation of the population gives you worries’ as it crosses your mind or you hear rumors of oppressive government constraints on freedoms being considered (all of which would require an obliging military to allow or enforce). Think back to the comment made by a young sergeant standing on the flightline at Boondock AFB…
“I don’t think so…, Sir”
Do you think maybe, thereare a few more like him?
Side Note: 9 months into this, 61 stories posted, 5,000+ page views by people in 32 countries… Kind of cool. Thank You…