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Correction: Marine's Facebook page pits free speech against military rules

The Associated Press mischaracterized the oath of enlistment in a story about an investigation into a Marine’s comments on Facebook. The story, which appeared in Monday’s editions of the Stars and Stripes, said the oath applied of every person entering the U.S. military. However, the oath taken by officers includes different wording.

What AP said:

Every person entering the U.S. military repeats an oath swearing to support and defend the U.S. Constitution and “that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me.”

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What the oaths say:

Enlisted: "I, _____, 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." (Title 10, US Code; Act of 5 May 1960 replacing the wording first adopted in 1789, with amendment effective 5 October 1962).

Officers: "I, _____ (SSAN), having been appointed an officer in the Army of the United States, as indicated above in the grade of _____ 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 upon which I am about to enter; So help me God." (DA Form 71, 1 August 1959, for officers.)

And from the US Code:

(a) Enlistment Oath.— Each person enlisting in an armed force shall take the following oath:

“I, XXXXXXXXXX, 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.”

(b) Who May Administer.— The oath may be taken before the President, the Vice-President, the Secretary of Defense, any commissioned officer, or any other person designated under regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Defense.
 

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