Marine Gary Stein: States Military Oath – Faces Charges

Marine Sgt. Gary Stein has learned that the Corps will take “administrative action” against him for saying on his blog that he will not follow “unlawful orders.” After learning that action will be taken, Stein said he has “only stated what our oat states, that I will defend the constitution and that I will not follow unlawful orders.” The Pentagon says troops are prohibited from “political activities.”

Sgt. Gary Stein

Stein said in addition to being discharged, he would have his rank reduced to lance corporal if he is proven to be in violation. He said he was removed from his job at the Marine Corps Recruiting Depot in San Diego on Wednesday and given a desk job with no access to computers.
According to Pentagon directives, military personnel in uniform cannot sponsor a political club; participate in any TV or radio program or group discussion that advocates for or against a political party, candidate or cause; or speak at any event promoting a political movement. Commissioned officers also may not use contemptuous words against senior officials, including the defense secretary or the president.Source: Fox News

During The Time of Obama’s seemingly anti-gun administration, there has been a lot of conversation about government disarming the populace. There have been no calls to do so, of course, but nevertheless, we do think about these things. Stein mused about it in writing and is now in trouble. He was also critical of Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s stance on Syria. Panetta told Congress that the President does not need Congressional approval to send troops into a war zone.

Note that the Oath of Enlistment, which every Marine must swear to, calls for defending the Constitution against “domestic enemies.” The Oath assumes that the President of the United States will never be an enemy of the United States.


I (state your name) 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 the regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.

Sgt. Stein has applied to remain in the Corps when his service period expires in the near future.Read the details of the original story here.

Posted by Maggie @ Maggie’s Notebook

  • Throughout our history the military must be guarded as to what they say politically out loud.

    • woodsterman, you’re a vet too, so I’ll ask you the same question I asked BobF: what if…what if…this had nothing to do with Republicans or Democrats, but everything to do with a President that is an enemy of the American people, in violation of the Enlistment Oath? Let’s take Stein out of it, and look to the future? What do you think?

  • It’s one thing what you say and do amongst yourselves but it’s another thing to put it out for the world to see.

    Social media has gotten more GI’s in trouble over the past 10 years than anything else. I’m really wondering about the common sense of many of our military personnel. Videotaping various things and posting it on line is absolute stupidity. Allowing yourself to be videotaped is even worse.

    • Bob, I agree that this is the way it is, but what if…what if…this had nothing to do with Republicans or Democrats, but everything to do with a President that is an enemy of the American people? Let’s take Stein out of it, and look to the future?

      What about this in the future?

      • Maggie, military members have never been allowed to criticize the President or SecDef publicly. We never criticize our superiors publicly. It’s one thing to do it among yourselves and another in public. It has nothing to do with political party.

        When Bill Clinton first took office, he visited an aircraft carrier wearing a flight jacket. The Navy personnel on board ship laughed and mocked him. An order went out directing us not to mock the president if he visits your instillation. That was the first time in my career I ever heard of an order being given. Many NCO’s and officers felt they couldn’t support Bill Clinton and got out of the military. I personally know two MSgt’s who tuned down promotion to Senior Master Sgt and got out rather than serve under Bill Clinton. USAF Chief of Staff, General Fogelman, retired when he felt he could no longer support President Clinton’s policies. That is the honorable thing to do.

        Concerning our Oath of Enlistment. To support and defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. Throughout most of my career, I asked the question, “who determines the domestic enemies”. I not only asked this of fellow NCO’s and officers but also at Professional Military Education Academies. Nobody had an answer for this and neither did I. I recently spoke with a young Army E-4 who’s going to college to be a history teacher about this. I asked him if he would obey an order he personally believed was unconstitutional. His reply was “I don’t know, I guess I would trust my superiors to make that determination if it was lawful or not.” How can our young enlisted force know for sure their superiors are making the right decisions when their superiors don’t know how to make the determination. The main problem is Maggie is that I would say, 98% of our military personnel have never read the Constitution of the United States. I was at the 16 year point in my career when I first read it. Although I swore an oath to defend it numerous times, the only reason I read it was because a copy was given to me and my supervisor had recently read it and was upset because of what it said and what was actually taking place in the country…this was during the late 80’s.

        • BobF, thank you. Sometime this weekend, I think I will do an entire post on this and I will use your comments, if you don’t mind (I know you usually do not mind). As with so many things, everything so wrong with this country began with Bill Clinton.

          • Geo


            I was mistaken about the Article that I mentioned below. It wasn’t Newsweek or another weekly magazine.

            Here is the Article and the story: [SGT Stein related]

            The Marine Corp Times:

            Magazine Cover o’ the Day: Semper Fi!



          • Maggie, you’re welcome to use whatever I write and whenever I write it.

            • Thanks Bob, that post is still on the list.

        • Geo


          Like Bob I also served a career in the Military [the Army]. Bob’s explanation [above] pretty much nails the issue regarding a Military Service members participation in Political Activity.

          By DOD Directive and the UCMJ personnel are strictly prohibited from participating in political activity which “may” reflect on their position in the Military and what might be perceived as questioning the authority of their Superiors. This week one of the magazines [might have been Newsweek, I’ll check on it]has published a article on the dissension within the USMC Rank and File with the President. I believe it is spreading amongst most of the Branches.

          This young man has taken a very public position questioning the Chain of Command [the President] and political positions that the Country faces today. It was inevitible that “some” disipline actions would be initiated against him for this and I expressed those concerns in your previous posts.

          A “Lawful” order has always had a certain amount of intrigue that service members have questioned, where the lines are drawn. During my career it was never satisfactorily resolved in my opinion and when asked about it, I never could given a definitive answer. Back when Clinton was elected several of my fellow Senior NCO’s and myself felt we could not question his authority, yet couldn’t follow his orders and decided to retire.

          General Jack Keane who worked with General Petraeus on the Counter Insurgency rewrite for Iraq has already suggested to Petraeus [before the move to CIA] that it might be high time that some General Officers resign over the threat to National Security and the policies being forced on the Military. General Petreaus disagreed with him saying, that the “Troops didn’t have that option”. [or words to that effect]

          I happen to agree with General Keane, it is way past time for the Senior Leadership to display their dissatisfaction with the policy and head for the hills, reform and fight these policies, for the sake of the Country and do it very publicly. I also agree politically with SGT Stein, but, he has made a big mistake taking on this issue while serving in uniform however.

          These restrictions go far beyond just the Military and extend into the Civilian work forces of Federal, State and Municipal employees under the “Hatch Act of 1939”. Though rarely used, it is always out there. One must be very careful, especially with this administration. Instead of being thrown under a Bus, one can find themselves on the unemployment line.

          • Geo, I too agree with General Keane. Unfortunately, many of the senior officers are more concerned with their retirement than taking care of the troops. To retire at the 3&4-star level takes approval of an Obama controlled senate. Just look at what they want to do with TRICARE and the health care system for active duty.

  • Members of the military follow orders because those who issue them have taken the same oath—to defend the Constitution of the United States. So what is to be done when that oath is violated by the leaders who have sworn to uphold it? “Befehl ist Befehl” (“an order is an order”) as a defense didn’t pass muster in 1945; why should it in 2012?

    • Bob Mack, that’s what it comes down, doesn’t it? I don’t think we’ve ever thought that much about the danger of the oath until today, or maybe the military during the time of Clinton, as BobF expressed in this thread.

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