By GotDesign

Some have called the refusal by certain Army Reservists to go on a resupply mission "mutiny." This is an exaggeration. Mutiny is an attempt to usurp authority from lawfully appointed superiors. These reservists can (and hopeful will) be charged with "Failure to Obey a Lawful Order" under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).

The reservists in question claim they were ordered into a region of Iraq that "dangerous" and they were being required to do so in "unsafe equipment." First off, is there any place in Iraq that is not dangerous -- foreign terrorists have infiltrated Iraq and are carrying out attacks against Coalition and Iraqi troops throughout the country. It is the Army's job to do dangerous things. The Army's job is kill people and blow things up. There is no mission that the Army is tasked with that is "safe." If soldiers are allowed to claim an unsafe work environment, we would have no infantry. Loudspeakers would have to be deployed along the front lines in order to assault the enemy with harsh language.

The other claim the reservists have is that their equipment is was "unserviceable" or not safe for combat use. Soldiers who are assigned equipment for the conduct of a mission are responsible for its upkeep. It is also the responsibility of the motor pool to remove vehicles from use if they are not functional or safe for use. I have to assume, short of information to the contrary, that the vehicles in questions were both functional and safe for use. It is also important to note that the mission these particular reservists refused was completed by others in the same unit.

Being a former Army Reservist, I hope they throw the book at these "soldiers." Their actions are extremely harmful not only to combat effectiveness, but also to overall morale. The proper course of action for these reservists would have been to voice their concerns to their commanding officer. Their commander could have taken them off the mission and assigned someone else and then dealt with the soldiers administratively (transferred them out, etc.). But by refusing the orders of their commanding officer, they are to be tried and punished in accordance with the UCMJ.


2 comments so far.

  1. Smacky 4:18 AM
    This is what I have questions about. I was at first hesitant to really lay the blame thick on these guys. I was/am not familiar with procedure & all that, but I do assume there must be some contingency that these guys had to get their complaint to the proper authorities. Am I right in that assumption? I mean, they had other options than just refusing to go, right?

    -SmackyPS you certainly 'Got'. :) Sweet.
  2. GotDesign 8:47 AM
    Yes, every soldier can raise questions about their orders. The correct way to do so is to begin with one's squad leader/section chief. From there, the soldier could then approach their unit commander. To take the issue beyond the unit commander would be inappropriate in the short-term, but could be done after completion of the mission.

    The commander has several options for dealing with such objections. He could file charges for "failure to obey." As I briefly mentioned, the commander could reassign the mission to others and deal with the original soldier(s) administratively. Had I been the commander, I would have releived the soldier(s) of duty, confined them to quarters, consult the chain of command (informally), and make my decision in light of the original soldier's demeanor, the position of the chain of command, and what I feel would be best for the unit (morale, etc.).

Something to say?