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Essay on Insubordination

Article 91 : Insubordinate conduct toward

Warrant Officer, Noncommisioned

Officer, or Petty Officer.

Any warrant officer or enlisted member who-

(1) strikes or assaults a warrant officer,

noncommisioned officer, or petty officer,

while that officer is in execution of his office

(2) willfully disobeys the lawful order of

a warrant officer, noncommisioned officer, or

a petty officer; or

(3) treats with contempt or is disrespectful

in language or deportment toward a warrant

officer, noncommisioned officer, or a petty

officer, while that officer is in the execution

of his office;

shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.

Article 91 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice is probably the most important article to the smooth operation of the military. This article ensures obedience to lawful orders issued by noncommisioned officers, and protects them from violence, insult, or disrespect. Without it, there would be no chain of command, no order, and no doctrine to the United States Military. The United States Navy, has a long standing tradition of having a rigid chain of command. From the days when Commodore Chauncey, and Oliver Hazard Perry sailed the high seas to the voyage of the Great White Fleet, to the artic voyages of the "Big Boomer" nuclear ballistic submarines, Article 91 has kept the Navy an organized fighting force, rather than a mob of "salty" seamen.

The Article clearly states that if an warrant officer, noncommisioned officer, or petty officer is performing his or her duties, and is struck/assualted by a junior enlisted service member, then that junior enlisted service member is punishable by the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Punishment may as little as counseling or extra military instruction assigned by the Leading Petty Officer or as much as being sent to Officer in Charge Mast, Captain's Mast or even court-martial. The same punishment may be taken if the junior enlisted service member volunteerily disobeys a lawful order issued, or even disrespects noncommissioned officers with foul language or deportment, while that noncommissioned officer is on duty. So if a noncommissioned officer is not in execution of his duties, then he is a little less protected by the Uniform Code of Military Justice. He must still be obeyed when not performing his duties, but he may be disrespected or assaulted, and the junior enlisted that committed the assualt may not be punished under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Sometimes the authority of a noncommisioned officer is appointed to the seaman; such as the case of Seaman Eversmann being appointed as the head of class 99260. In this case Seaman Eversmann has the complete authority of a Second Class Petty Officer (E-5). He has been appointed as class leader by Torpedoman's Mate First Class Reed. Any orders/rules that Seaman Eversmann enforces in the classroom are direct orders strait from the Naval Gunnery School staff. If any of the class gives Seaman Eversmann trouble when he is performing his duties as class leader, we are being insubordinate. That is all there is to it. Any disputes we get in are settled by Seaman Eversmann. He has the last word in it. Whether that word is is just, or biased, we have to abide by it. Just because you do not like the leadership skills he lacks, you cannot just go about arguing with him. He will win. Although he doesn't have to worry to much about being assualted, disobedience and disrespect are dealt with daily. I disrespected my class leader, Seaman Eversmann, with my use of uncalled for, foul language. There is no excuse for what I did. Even when one is faced with a biased opinion, he or she should never use that as an excuse for insubordination. As long as the superior enlisted issue lawful orders, even if they do not apply to all, the junior enlisted must obey them.

Insubordination is not just a problem faced by the contemporary navy; it has had to be overcome in almost all eras of military history. The Battle of Lake Erie is a prime example of what can happen when someone is insubordinate to their superior. The date was Thursday September 9, 1813. Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry had a fleet of nine ships waiting on Lake Erie for the English to come out and commence battle. For days he had waited for the chance to open the strategic gates to Canada and beyond, but the English had stayed under the constant vigilance of the large howitzers guarding the bay at Malden. Though he was out gunned, Perry had a larger number of ships and thus had a strategic advantage. Captain Robert H. Barclay, the one-armed fighting son of a Scotch dominie, of the English, understood this advantage and would not give Perry a chance to engage. What Perry did not understand, was that the captain he had appointed to his second largest ship in the flotilla, did not share in his views on the war. The following day, Perry planned to force the English into a duel. That night he carefully laid out his plan to have an army of militia men attack the English fort, while he simultaneously launched an attack on the English fleet. Captain Elliot, Perry's rival, sat quitely in his seet that night, listening to all Perry had to say; but never once was his voice heard that night. On the day of September 10, 1813, Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry's flotilla left their haven of Put in Bay on the Lake Erie coast and set sail for Malden. At 0500, the six British ships were spotted on the horizon. Captain Barclay had been forced into fighting the pitched battle be fammin and underprovisionment. For hours the two fleets closed on each other. Finally, near 1145 the first shot was fired by the British ship, Detroit. The action was joined. An hour later Perry's ship, the Lawrence, was close enough to the Detroit to exchange broadside after broadside. Seeing the Detroit take a pounding Captain Barclay ordered the Queen Charlotte to come alongside the port side of the Lawrence and empty its carronades on the "yankee" ship. Seeing this move Commodore Perry quikly signaled for Captain Elliot, aboard the Niagara, to move into position to fire upon the Queen Charlotte. Elliot did nothing. Again, seeing his own peril, Perry frantically signaled for the aid of Captain Elliot. But the ship remained out of carronade range. Seeing that the Lawrence was lost, Commodore made a risky move and climbed aboard a small boat and set out for the Niagara. When he made it there, Captain Elliot made some excuse for his insubordination. Now aboard a fresh ship, Perry attacked the British line with a new found strength. It was only a matter of minutes before both the Queen Charlotte, and the Detroit both surrendered. Here is were Oliver Hazard Perry dispatched his most famous words. "We have met the enemy and they are ours!!!"

Captain Elliot's insubordination clearly caused the death of many men aboard the Lawrence. Had he engaged the British ship, Queen Charlotte, when the fighting broke out, there would have been no way for the British ship to attack the Lawrence. When the battle was through, over 80% of the Lawrence's crew was dead, or badly mamed. This could have signifigantly been reduced had Captain Elliot done as he was ordered to do.

So insubordination can cause people to die. No, noone is going to die if I don't stand up in class when I am told to, but I am doing the same exact thing that Captain Elliot did, so long ago, during the Battle of Lake Erie.
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Insubordination. EssayMania.com. Retrieved on 11 Oct, 2010 from