Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Special Trust and Confidence

U.S. Air Force photo
Pilots trust that the people who designed and built their aircraft knew what they were doing. Greater still is the level of trust that pilots place upon the skill and competence of the folks who maintain the aircraft.

The people who bought the aircraft, that's us, the taxpayers, also trust that the nation will choose wisely those who are allowed to fly and fight in those aircraft we paid for.

What happens when that trust is misplaced?

U.S. Air Force photo

Sometimes the result of a failure of trust is a smoking hole in the ground.

Crying children and spouses, the emptiness which comes when you get up one day and realize that the future you had envisioned is gone. Never to be recovered.

Lost due to a failure of trust.

Perhaps the aircrew placed too much trust in the maintainers.

Perhaps the service placed too much trust in those who designed and built the aircraft.

Perhaps the pilot placed too much trust in their own abilities.

Perhaps those who represent the nation chose badly in the person upon whom they pinned those wings.

Not everyday does a failure of trust result in death and destruction.

What happens when you place your trust in someone to do the right thing, to uphold the oaths they've sworn, the promises they've made and then that person betrays that trust.

What happens then?

For one thing, that person never looks the same to you again.

That carefully nurtured and maintained relationship is now dented and stained. Perhaps it can be repaired but can it be restored to its former luster?

I don't know, but I would guess no. It's never the same as it was, it may be good again, but it will never be as right as it was before.

Upon being commissioned as either a Second Lieutenant or Ensign in the Armed Forces of the United States of America, the young officer is presented with a document with the following text (actual names and dates filled in, of course):
The President of the United States of America

To all who shall see these presents, greeting:

Know Ye that, reposing special trust and confidence in the patriotism, valor, fidelity and abilities of .................., I do appoint ["him" or "her"] a ["Second Lieutenant" or "Ensign"] in the [name of service] to rank as such from the .... day of ........ ...... This Officer will therefore carefully and diligently discharge the duties of the office to which appointed by doing and performing all manner of things thereunto belonging.

And I do strictly charge and require those Officers and other personnel of lesser rank to render such obedience as is due an officer of this grade and position. And this Officer is to observe and follow such orders and directives, from time to time, as may be given by me, or the future President of the United States of America, or other Superior Officers acting in accordance with the laws of the United States of America.

This commission is to continue in force during the pleasure of the President of the United States of America for the time being, under the provisions of those Public Laws relating to Officers of the Armed Forces of the United States of America and the component thereof in which this appointment is made.

Done at the City of Washington, this .... day of ........ in the year of our Lord ................ and of the Independence of the United States of America the ..........

By the President:
One phrase in this text particularly impressed me.
"...reposing special trust and confidence in the patriotism, valor, fidelity and abilities..."
Patriotism...

Valor...

Fidelity...

Without those, what are we? Who are we?

Barbarians.

That's what.

That's who.

Old AF Sarge sends...

16 comments:

  1. I took that commission and the accompanying oath very seriously and still do. I wish someone would do the same with this one:

    "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

    Just sayin'

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    Replies
    1. So an Officer pledges allegiance to the President first, then the Constitution? I did not know that.

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    2. http://www.army.mil/values/officers.html

      Fundamentally the same for all zeroes as well as enlisted. Constitution first, then lawful chain of command per constitution and US law.

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    3. Ron, that oath that Juvat posted is for the President. The officer's oath is:

      I, [name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.

      Enlisted is:

      I, (state name of enlistee), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.

      Note that the officer's oath makes no mention of the President.

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    4. Good words. Important to some (like me), others, not so much (like a lot of folks I know, curiously). I too remember the oath I took upon commissioning. I remember the first silver dollar I got from our NCOIC too.

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    5. To me as well. There's something to be said for the "old" values.

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    6. Keep sayin' it because you're correct!!

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  2. "Yeah," sez the common american, "them people is doin' it all rong an' should be 'vestigated. The govermint should do something."

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    Replies
    1. The problems can oft be traced to the gubmint "doing something." But you knew that, dintcha?

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  3. Seems lately that trust and confidence has been a one way street.

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  4. @juvat/

    RE: Defending the Constitution..

    Since 2008 I've often said (only half jokingly) that were I 20 years younger, or was diagnosed w. terminal cancer, I'd seriously consider repositioning the duck-blind oppo 1600 Penn Ave...to think it has sadly come to the point that that sentiment is no longer considered purely a joke..

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)