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United States Military Code of Conduct

Article 6

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Soldiers marching in desert
Frank Rossoto Stocktrek/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Article VI

I will never forget that I am an American, fighting for freedom, responsible for my actions, and dedicated to the principles which made my country free. I will trust in my God and in the United States of America.

Explanation: A member of the Armed Forces remains responsible for personal actions at all times. Article VI is designed to assist members of the Armed Forces to fulfill their responsibilities and survive captivity with honor. The CoC does not conflict with the UCMJ, which continues to apply to each military member during captivity or other hostile detention. Failure to adhere to the CoC may subject Service members to applicable disposition under the UCMJ.

When repatriated, POWs can expect their actions to be subject to review, both as to circumstances of capture and as to conduct during detention. The purpose of such review is to recognize meritorious performance and, if necessary, investigate any allegations of misconduct.

Such reviews shall be conducted with due regard for the rights of the individual and consideration for the conditions of captivity.

A member of the Armed Forces who is captured has a continuing obligation to resist all attempts at indoctrination and remain loyal to the United States.

The life of a POW may be very hard. POWs who stand firm and united against enemy pressures shall aid one another immeasurably in surviving this ordeal.

What Military Personnel Need to Know: Specifically, Service members should:

  • Understand the relationship between the UCMJ and the CoC, and realize that failure to follow the guidance of the CoC may result in subsequent disposition under the UCMJ. Every member of the Armed Forces of the United States should understand that Service members may be held legally accountable for personal actions while detained.
  • Understand that the Military Services, as prescribed in Federal law, shall take care of both the POW and dependents and that pay and allowances, eligibility and procedures for promotion, and benefits for dependents continue while the POW is detained even if the enemy does not report the Service member as being a POW and his or her status reflects missing in action.
  • Understand the importance of military members ensuring that their personal affairs and family matters (pay, powers of attorney, wills, debt payments, and children's schooling) are kept current through discussion, counseling or filing of documents before being exposed to risk of capture.

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