06 October 2004

Article 15's -

Once upon a time I was a soldier. Mind you, I wasn't the best soldier in the world but I never faced an Article 15. For those of you who don't know what that is, in the Army when you do something stupid, against regs, or even illegal your commander has the option of punishing you without sending you to a court martial. He can give you extra work, take some of your pay, restrict you to a certain area, etc. Technically, it's not a conviction but it's devastating to a career if it is put on your record (or at least it was when I was serving).

Major Robert Don Gifford lays out what the rules are for an Article 15 in this article.

It's an interesting read because it covers a lot of things that I never knew when I was in the Army. For instance, when someone agreed to take an Article 15 rather than a court martial we all assumed that "taking an Article 15" meant submitting to punishment - instead it means accepting a hearing in front of your commanding officer. Still, I'm not sure that there is much practical difference between the two in the real world since I never heard of an Article 15 not ending with the soldier being punished.

Another thing I never knew is that officers can get Article 15's. I saw all sorts of privates get them and every so often a sergeant would but I never heard of any officer subjected to one. I suspect that as unhealthy as they were seen to be to a sergeant's career they must be absolute poison to an officer.

An interesting read.

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