Article 92 is perhaps the most important article in the entire Uniform Code of Military Justice. It lays down the ground law, which is the absolute line that may not be crossed. Everything else in the UCMJ is an explanation of the various forms that disobeying an order can take. Without the support given by Article 92, service members would be free to do whatever they want, whenever they want, and wouldn’t be any more accountable than a civilian could in a civilian job. However, service members are held to a higher standard. We are the line that protects this country and we are the defense against the storm. Without us, this country would not exist and could not exist. And for that, I have to follow the orders and instructions given by anyone appointed over me. The fact that I didn’t get to an appointment on time showed lack of accountability on my part, a lack of discipline to follow orders I was given and a lack of respect to those who are appointed over me as a leader. I failed to be at my place of duty, which costs the Army money for another Soldier who could’ve been at that appointment and been on time. The military can only function if orders, when given, are obeyed. We would like to trust in the honesty and integrity of the Soldiers who made that oath and put their lives on the line for their country. The truth is that there are many out there that, if not given a clear set of rules, will not follow the rules. Will not care about the punishments, will not be productive or efficient members of the military machine. That is why Article 92, and the entire UCMJ, are necessary. They reinforce the behavior of those who do the right thing, promoting it and praising it. They punish those who do not do the right thing, undercutting and stamping out such behaviors. With such a system, the bad eggs, those who are unable to fit into the machine, will be ground up by it and spit out. Broken, incomplete, forever bemoaning the lack of foresight and flexibility that would have saved them.
Accountability in the Army is paramount to the successful completion of the mission. It is a soldier’s personal responsibility to keep all his or her items accountable at all times. This ensures that the Army mission will be completed and that the soldier will remain prepared at all times. On a daily basis, thousands of Soldiers are seen at appointments varying anywhere from surgery on better eye sight to putting a broken foot into a cast for 6 weeks to heal. Appointments can be located anywhere on or off post depending on the type of appointment or preference of the Soldier. It is every Soldier’s right to choose where they would like to receive health care services. The Army spends Billions of dollars on medical supplies, medications, the latest and newest high tech equipment, and the healthcare facilities and the healthcare providers. When a Soldier misses an appointment, the Army’s money is then wasted. Money that could have been used on something such as new trucks, weapons and equipment. With budget cuts on funds within the ranks, missing an appointment is money the Army could use elsewhere.
Of all the complications for military funding due to budget cuts, missing an appointment should not factor into it at all. Budget cuts have influenced the Chain of Command and their decisions on requiring Soldiers to pay out of pocket for their missed appointment. The government was starting to discuss having Soldiers pay out of pocket for their missed appointments. Have the Soldier pay out of pocket for the injuries received in an accident because they neglected their profile restrictions. Whether this has taken effect now or it will in the future, Soldiers will be less likely to miss any kind of appointment. If the responsibility were to fall on the shoulder of each individual Soldier, the Army would more than likely not have to inflict budget cuts and “Troop Cuts” we have all been reading about in The Army Times. If each Soldier were accountable for paying for their appointments, there wouldn’t be another wasted appointment because the Soldier was forgetful. It is every Soldiers responsibility to be healthy and remain in a fit condition. When Soldiers fails to do so however, the consequences can be catastrophic or even fatal in some cases.
Best example, a Soldier has a tooth ache but ignores it because he or she thinks it’s a sign of weakness, that tooth ache can develop into something much worse than a cavity filling, the Soldier could end up being hospitalized because they didn’t take care of the issue when it was small. They ignored their MEDPROs warning about being past due for a check in. This action seems small, but when the Soldiers fall out of the ranks because they needed more medical attention such as surgery. That unit needs to replace that Soldier to remain fit and ready to deploy. This can led to issues and financial problems within that unit. Their down a Soldier, which means they have to file paperwork to request a Soldier to replace him. That leads to more money to have that new Soldier coming in for travel and new training. Everything costs money. From the paper we use to request a Soldier to the training that he or she must receive so they can be ready to deploy on a mission. All of that money spent on the new Soldier could have been completely avoided if the Soldier had not ignored his MEDPROs dental warning. Something so small, like a tooth ache, turned in all new training requirements for a new and unprepared Soldier to keep a unit ready for a mission.
If Soldiers were required to pay out of pocket for all of their appointments they made, the Army could spend more money where it is needed most. Such things are better training for Soldiers, Officers and Non-Commissioned Officers, better equipment for deployed units and faster approval on funding. This increase in money in better areas can lead to more successful missions and fewer fatalities on the battle field because the equipment is more accurate. Soldiers have been trained to the highest level, instead of just the basics for life saver course. The Army can afford to push every Soldier through the advanced kind of training needed to save lives. All of this could happen if every Soldier was held responsible for their actions of missing an appointment. Including, if every Soldier made it to all their appointments on time. If every Soldier was paying out of pocket for their appointments, the bigger picture we see is more saved lives in the combat zone. Every Soldier has the right to be seen for health issues. The well being of every Soldier, whether it’s their mental state or their physical health, is required for the best combat ready Soldier the Army has. That is the reality in today’s forces.
The citizens of our country need us at our highest peak in health. So when unexplainable and tragic accident such as 9/11 ever happens again, a forgotten dental appointment will not hold out any Soldier. The responsibility in accountability is every single individual’s duty for themselves and their team. The rank is not a concern when compared to responsibility. No one is singled out. It is my responsibility and my responsibility alone to maintain my physical and mental health state. I have to maintain myself at the highest level for Soldier readiness. That is my responsibility, no one else’s. However, in the long run, I affect someone else’s life if I neglect that responsibility. A simple phone call to change the time of my appointment could have avoided all of this. Neglecting to call was a failure on my part completely. I do not blame nor will I blame anyone but me. On the next appointment, I will be sure to make my appointment on time with enough reminders that it would be impossible not to forget. This standard for accountability needs to be a high priority of every Soldier who does not know much about the Army. Such as young privates coming out of Basic and AIT, can be trained and carry on the standard for responsibility and accountability. So future funds can be focused more for the training and not for missed appointments.