Code of Conduct

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The following is a version of the U.S. military code of conduct for the various armed services that is to be followed in the event of capture by the enemy.  According to viewer Mark S. "Bear" Daniels (Sgt., 101st Airborne Division AASLT, Disabled Veteran/Cold War Veteran), the version of the Code of Conduct shown below is one that was developed after Koreans utilized methods of torture against American POWs.  Bear told the KWE:

"The version you have up is the one developed from the POW experience, and was not in effect until signed into law by Dwight David Eisenhower, on August 17, 1955, and I believe that was Executive Order 10631.  Modifications to this Code have made it possible for our POWs to resist such tortures, however, the tortures themselves cannot ultimately be defended against, so President Carter made a change to ensure that our POWs would be relieved of a crime or guilt if they were broken under duress."

The Code of Conduct (AR350-30) was not a part of the Uniform Military Code of Justice.  It was a personal conduct mandate for members of the American armed forces throughout the world.  It was reaffirmed on 8 July 1964 (DOD Directive No. 1300.7).  President Jimmy Carter amended Article V of the Code on 3 November 1977.  President Ronald Reagan amended Articles I, II, and VI of the code on March 28, 1988.

Code of Conduct

I. I am an American fighting man. I serve in the forces which guard my country and our way of life. I am prepared to give my life in their defense.

II. I will never surrender of my own free will. If in command I will never surrender my men while they still have the means to resist.

III. If I am captured I will continue to resist by all means available. I will make every effort to escape and aid others to escape. I will accept neither parole nor special favors from the enemy.

IV. If I become a prisoner of war, I will keep faith with my fellow prisoners. I will give no information or take part in any action which might be harmful to my comrades. If I am senior, I will take command. If not, I will obey the lawful orders of those appointed over me and will back them up in every way.

V. When questioned, should I become a prisoner of war, I am bound to give only name, rank, service number and date of birth. I will evade answering further questions to the utmost of my ability. I will make no oral or written statements disloyal to my country and its allies or harmful to their cause.

VI. I will never forget that I am an American fighting man, 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.

[KWE Note: The above version of the Code of Conduct was amended in 1988. The following changes were made: Paragraph I - The word "man" was eliminated and the first two sentences were combined to read: "I am an American fighting in the forces which guard my country and our way of life." Paragraph V - The word "bound" was changed to "required."  Paragraph VI - The first phrase was changed to read, "I will never forget that I am an American fighting for freedom". (Again, the word "man" was removed.)


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