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United States Military Code of Conduct

Page 2


  • Be familiar with the principles of hygiene, sanitation, health maintenance, first aid, physical conditioning, and food use. It shall include recognition and emergency self-treatment of typical POW camp illnesses by emergency use of primitive materials and available substances (e.g., toothpaste, salt, and charcoal). Such knowledge exerts an important influence on POW ability to resist and assists an effective POW organization.
  • Understand the importance of, and the basic procedures for, establishing secure communications between separated individuals and groups of POWs attempting to establish and maintain an effective organization.
  • Be familiar with the major ethnic (to include racial demographics), cultural and national characteristics of the enemy that may affect POW-captor relationships to the detriment of individual POWs and the POW organization.
  • Understand that an informer or collaborator should be insulated from sensitive information on POW organization, but members of the POW organization should continually encourage and try to persuade the collaborator to cease such activities.
  • Welcoming a repentant collaborator "back to the fold" is generally a more effective POW organizational approach than continued isolation, which may encourage the collaborator to continue such disloyal conduct.
  • Understand that there is a significant difference between the collaborator who must be persuaded to return and the resister who, only after having been physically or mentally tortured, complies with a captor's improper demand (such as to provide information or a propaganda statement). The collaborator's conduct is reprehensible and cannot be sanctioned, whereas the resister should be given help to gather strength and resume resistance.
  • Understand that in situations where military and civilian personnel are imprisoned together, the senior military POW should make every effort to persuade civilian prisoners that the Military Service member's assuming overall command leadership of the entire prisoner group, based upon experience and specific training, is advantageous to the entire prisoner community.
  • Understand the need for, and the mechanics of, establishing an effective covert organization in situations where the captor attempts to prevent or frustrate a properly constituted organization.

Special Provisions for Medical Personnel & Chaplains. Medical personnel shall not assume command over nonmedical personnel and chaplains shall not assume command over military personnel of any branch. Military Service regulations that restrict eligibility of those personnel for command shall be explained to all personnel at an applicable level of understanding to preclude later confusion in a POW camp.

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