10 August, 2012 Leave a comment
This is the second of several articles related to Customs and Courtesies. Additional articles will be forthcoming. If you are new to the VCA, or if you have been away from Active Duty for a considerable length of time, you need to read these.
The VCASNY is a volunteer military organization founded in New York City in 1790, for the purpose of defending the city against further military action by the British. We are in fact a recognized Historic Military Command under New York State law, and the VCASNY is specifically mentioned in the text of N.Y. MIL. LAW § 240-a : NY Code – Section 240-A: Historic military commands. Members of the VCASNY voluntarily enlist and take an oath of allegiance (similar to the oath taken by federal enlistees) where they swear to protect, defend,and uphold the Constitution of the United States and New York State.
Some VCASNY members on active duty, reservist and retirees are subject to and are familiar with the UCMJ. Because the VCASNY is not a traditional veterans organization such as the American Legion or the VFW, some members do not have prior federal service and have never been exposed to the UCMJ; however, all members should be aware that there is a similar “legal” infrastructure in place, and that all members need to abide by the rules and regulations of that infrastructure.
Understanding the UCMJ, and specifically understanding the concepts of the Customs and Courtesies, the Chain of Command, and conduct is a fundamental requirement of all VCASNY members. As a military organization, both officers and enlisted personnel are bound by these rules, and any breach of these rules will be investigated and acted on accordingly. It is interesting to note that “officers of historic military commands may take their oath of office before any officer of the organized militia of the state.”, and that “the adjutant general (New York) may issue a certificate of election under the seal of the chief of staff to officers of historic military commands elected pursuant to the rules and regulations or constitutions and by-laws of their respective commands.”.
Given the varied military experience, it is easy to understand why some may have difficulty in understanding the concept of military law vs. civilian law. The article titled Military Justice 101, will shed some light on this.
By understanding some of these basic principles, we as members or troops have the opportunity of strengthening the VCASNY and ensuring that it will last another 2oo years in support of its’ mission.