Supporting and defending the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic is a noble concept. Morally and ethically, many veterans consider themselves bound by their promise to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic for life, because they claim that oath never expired. However, you can’t pick and choose which parts of that oath you will adhere to! It’s all or nothing.
One person wrote, “Show me in the oath where it states there is an expiration. You won't find one, because the original framers of that pledge, along with every single revision, clearly intended for it to be a life long service to the Constitution.” Wrong!
During the Revolutionary War, the Continental Congress established different oaths for the enlisted men and officers of the Continental Army. The first enlisted oath was voted on June 14, 1775 as part of the act creating the Continental Army.
Soldiers voluntarily enlisted themselves in the Continental Army for one year, unless sooner discharged, and bound themselves to conform to rules and regulations of the Army. The original oath was not for a life long service to the Constitution, it was for one year in the Army. The oath has been amended many times over the years.
Today the Oath of enlistment is something that every service member must promise and adhere to for his entire military career. The words "entire military career" were taken from the Army's site on what to expect when you enlist. The oath requires you to:
1) support and defend and bear allegiance to the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic
2) obey the orders of the President of the United States
3) obey orders of the officers appointed over them
4) all according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice
Reenlistment requires that one retake the oath which implies that the oath has expired. In addition, discharged veterans have no officers appointed over them, are not under the jurisdiction of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and many openly voice opposition to the President.
I can’t help but wonder if a senior NCO or an officer showed up at their door ordering them to do something, would they do it? And if they refused, would they submit themselves to a court martial under the UCMJ? Probably not, but yet they claim their oath never expired.