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The United States military's first book of orders and regulations governing the behavior of troops, written in 1779, specifically calls out the adverse effects as a result of this undesired behavior. Fraternization was not mentioned in the Uniform Code of Military Justice when it was first enacted. Improper relationships between seniors and subordinates were prosecuted as conduct unbecoming of an officer. It was not until 1984 that fraternization was recognized as an offense under military law.SIX DIVISIONS OF MILITARY MEMBERS Though not a rigid test, normal social or business relationships within the six divisions of military members does not constitute fraternization. •General officers •Field grade officers •Company grade officers •Staff noncommissioned officers •Noncommissioned officers •Junior enlisted Marines The exception being when a Marine of the same division holds a billet directly over another Marine of the same grade in their chain of command. While improper relationships within the same chain of command are the most obvious, there is no blanket requirement under the UCMJ that the relationships must be within the same chain of command to be improperUNDERMINING AUTHORITY Military service demands regard for authority, which is enhanced by the observance of decorum, tradition, custom, usage, and conventions unique to the Services. The unquestionable obedience mandated during battle is learned through having respect for authority. The confidence of our Marines is based upon trust in quality as assured by our standard of self-discipline.
This respect is lessened by the failure to observe professional military courtesies and other traditions and customs. When relationships compromise the chain of command, give the appearance of partiality, or have the potential to undermine good order, discipline, morale, or authority, then fraternization exists. Leadership must understand that perceptions are as deadly as reality. For this reason, leadership must act on any such perceptions.MARRIAGE A female corporal is married to a sergeant major aboard MCAS Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. The corporal reports for duty to a tenant command and is assigned to the S-1 section six months prior to the unit deployment. The corporal is squared away and performs her job well but does not socialize with the other NCOs. The maintenance department is working around the clock to maintain a flight schedule for pilot training and prepare the aircraft for the upcoming deployment. Two weeks before the squadron is to deploy, the corporal receives a Navy Marine Corps Achievement Medal in formation and is never seen at the squadron again. While deployed, the squadron personnel find out that the corporal was transferred out of the unit before the deployment. The first chance at liberty the squadron gets is two weeks into the deployment, and the Marines visit the local drinking establishments. Three maintenance department sergeants who played a big role in ensuring all twelve aircraft made the deployment are arrested for being drunk and disorderly by the Japanese Police.