Roy Exum: Navy Differs From Colin

Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

As the San Francisco 49ers ended a tumultuous football season, it comes as little surprise to hear the embattled quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, was voted by his teammates, who compiled a 2-14 record in the NFL for the year, to receive the team’s most prestigious honor, the Len Eshmont Award.

The award is given to the 49er who “best exemplifies the inspirational and courageous play of Len Eshmont, an original member of the 1946 49ers team.” Kaepernick, you’ll remember, is the player who actually set the nation ablaze when he refused to stand for the national anthem. His decision, he said, was to protest racial inequities in the United States.

There were soon a lot of copy-cats, either to put themselves over country, and as the NFL TV ratings dropped, Kaepernick insisted as an American he was entitled to freely speak out. So, as everybody seemed to have an opinion, things didn’t work out so well for Navy intelligence specialist Janaye Ervin, a Petty Officer.

On Sept. 19, Janaye had just heard about Terence Cutcher, a black man who had been shot and killed in Tulsa, OK., before “morning colors” at joint base Pearl Harbor-Hickman in Hawaii. “To be honest, I never really thought about the flag my entire life,” she told International Business Times in a recent interview. “I had no reason to: It’s just a flag,” she said, “and the national anthem — I don’t think I’ll be saluting it or standing for it ever again.”

Ervin posted her defiance on her Facebook page but said that before the national anthem was even finished that morning, she was approached and berated for her actions.

Later that same morning, a complement of officers approached the Navy reservist and informed her she had been stripped of her security clearance, escorting her from the classified area in the motor pool where she was assigned to wash cars. She was also informed that she had fulfilled her obligation to the U.S. Navy and was honorably discharged.

Her civilian employer told her that since she no longer had a security clearance, there were no other jobs available. The Navy, clearly incensed by such behavior after thousands upon thousands of sailors and Marines have given the ultimate sacrifice for their country, maintains Petty Officer Second Class Ervin actually refused and disobeyed a “direct order” as outlined by the Navy’s Uniform Code of Military Justice that all sailors swear to uphold in basic training.

Not only are all Navy recruits sworn, but they are also required to memorize it.

* * *


The 10th General Order for Sentries  is taught in Navy boot camp. All members of the Navy are forced to memorize all 11 general orders in boot camp, and they are aware that violating any one of them is subject  to Article 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and is subject to whatever punishment is decided by court-martial.

* -- To take charge of this post and all government property in view.

* -- To walk my post in a military manner, keeping always on the alert, and observing everything that takes place within sight or hearing.

* -- To report all violations of orders I am instructed to enforce.

* -- To repeat all calls from posts more distant from the guard house than my own.

* -- To quit my post only when properly relieved.

* -- To receive, obey, and pass on to the sentry who relieves me all orders from the Commanding Officer, Command Duty Officer, Officer of the Deck, and Officers and Petty Officers of the Watch only.

* -- To talk to no one except in the line of duty.

* -- To give the alarm in case of fire or disorder.

* -- To call the Officer of the Deck in any case not covered by instructions.

* -- To salute all officers and colors and standards not cased.

* -- To be especially watchful at night and during the time for challenging, to challenge all persons on or near my post, and to allow no one to pass without proper authority.

* * *

It is one thing to play in the NFL. It is altogether another to serve in the defense of the United States.

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