The character of the American serviceman is an important concern for the entire nation. For one thing, the possessors of military force are never free from the temptation to use authority and power in an arbitrary way. History depicts only too clearly how almost in a single night certain representative governments have been transformed by military coup into military dictatorships, how in the span of a single day some nations have fallen into chaos because of unworthy military leaders. If the mission of governments is to preserve justice and restrain evil, and if military enforcement is an effective means to these ends in times of crisis and war, then the character of servicemen is of utmost importance. America has always honored and respected military service. Despite the misuse of military power by many nations of the earth, America, the mightiest power in the late twentieth-century world, is nonetheless eager to set this power in the service of justice and freedom.

The American armed forces no less than the citizenry are concerned with the image of the military. Lawyers tell us that civilian law books have no statute similar to Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, under which a man in the military is chargeable and punishable for bringing discredit upon the military establishment. The military is ever trying to improve its own image through character building.

Cross Section Of America

The civilian finds it difficult to think of the professional military personnel as a special class. As Chaplain R. W. Odell (Lt. Comdr., USN) reminds us: “The image of the American serviceman is really the son, brother, father, or husband image of the cross section of our average civilian community—only with uniform on! And even ...

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