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My son is a cadet at the Air Force Academy. There is an unwritten rule concerning Fraternization with first year cadets. He, unfortunately, had a relationship with a first year student. He was subsequently brought up on internal charges through a cadet tribunal and given punishment. The tribunal then brought him up on non-judicial charges and requested an article 15 for failure to obey a command as dictated by the UCMJ. He accepted his punishment, but the during the briefing of article 15 issuance, the Commander asked if my son knew the difference between a rule and an order. Since there is no "rule" and the Commandant never issued a formal order how is the offense punishable under the UCMJ?
My son was also told that as a cadet, the students are not "treated" as officers, but are given the rights of an officer during judicial proceedings. How is it possible that a soldier can be punished under the pretense of a unwritten rule and ambiguous order?
1. Was told refusal is met with expulsion
2. Did not talk to an ADC
3 First hearing was before a Squadron & Group board, based on hearsay from another cadet.
4. NJP evidence was statements by Board and admission by my son.
5. Relationship was a friendship with possiblities. The relationship was kept discreet and no interaction on the base. The female is not in his chain of command.
6 The Commander handed down an article 15, an LOR, and a UIF on April 7th 2009.
My son has no intention of appealing the punishment as his goal is to graduate from the Academy. He is scheduled to meet with the Commander again in 50 days for final dispensation of order to retain or expel from the Academy. He is hoping at that time to give the Commander a true feeling and answer to the Commanders question of "the difference between a rule and an order"