Since the events of 9/11, the vast majority of Americans say that they “support our troops.” This is evidenced by countless bumper stickers, yellow ribbons and other visible icons. But what does it really mean to “support our troops”? How can the average American give real meaning to those three simple words?
Our troops are bound by the Code of Conduct, in which they pledge to give their lives in our defense if called upon to do so. By signing the Code of Support, we can show them that we, in turn, pledge to give them our full support and to share the responsibility for defending our freedom.
Code of Support
I. I am an American. I know that the men and women in our Armed Forces are prepared to give their lives to defend my country, my way of life and the blessings of liberty throughout the world. I am committed to their perpetual recognition, appreciation and support.
II. As they have sworn to defend me and protect our country, so will I pledge to support them in every way that I can, and to avoid any action that would increase their risk. I will further do my part to ensure that they are never sent into harm’s way without all of the necessary resources to protect them and to fulfill their mission.
III. If they become prisoners of war, are missing in action, are wounded, or lose their lives, I will keep faith with them and their loved ones. I will not rest until we find them, heal them, and return them to their comrades, their loved ones and their nation.
IV. For our military veterans, I pledge unfailing recognition and appreciation for their contributions to our national defense and our welfare. I will not forget my nation’s responsibility to provide for their continued well-being and meaningful compensation for their sacrifice.
V. I understand that our service men and women do not make national policy, but are sworn to obey their civilian leadership and defend the constitution. I will respect their faithful service to the nation and always give them my unqualified support.
VI. I will never forget that our service men and women are fighting for my freedom and are dedicated to the principles which make our country free. I will share the responsibility for preserving that freedom with those who proudly wear the uniform of the United States of America.
Code of Conduct for Military Personnel
I. I am an American, fighting 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 the members of my command 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 required 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 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.