UCMJ Article 92 states that any person is subject to chapter who (1) violates or fails to obey any lawful general order or regulation; (2) having knowledge of any other lawful order issued by a member of the armed forces, which it is his duty to obey, fails to obey the order; or (3) is derelict in the performance of his duties; shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.
It’s important to follow orders in order to maintain proper discipline. Orders are given for almost anything. Orders can be given for formation, movement, uniform and anything else one can think of.
It’s important to follow orders so that things can be done properly and timely. Lives could be on the line and depend on Soldiers following orders properly. And if not lives then equipment could be damaged.
It’s important for Non Commissioned Officer’s to follow orders, because it shows the lower ranking Soldiers their support for their chain of command and that the orders are viable.
It’s important for orders to be viable and clear. If they are not clear then they can be misunderstood or ignored. This can even happen if the Chain of Command is hypocritical in their orders, such as failing to hold formations on time or holding others properly accountable for failing to follow orders.
In today’s Army Non Commissioned Officer is expected to know when to follow orders and when to ignore them and take appropriate action in order to complete the mission, especially when there is always a timeline to be met. Such as dispatching vehicles versus going to formation, if there’s a mission the next day that requires the vehicles. The Command Group wouldn’t think twice about formation being missed in order to complete the mission of dispatching for the next day’s mission. One could argue that the orders were to dispatch for the day, but if it came out that there was a formation at a certain time then that would supersede the previous order. But a Non Commissioned Officer is expected to know which mission is more important to complete and focus on. Anything that is missed in the formation can be put out to those that are completing the first mission.
So what is the correct answer for being told to stop all training to attend a Memorial? I’d say if you knew the individual then attendance would be at the individual’s own discretion. But if you didn’t then attendance would be disgraceful and rude. Not to mention to go and stand outside would be even ruder and disrespectful, not to mention a huge waste of time. I’d expect a well trained Non Commissioned Officer to make the call to stay back and continue training to meet time requirements rather than show up and possibly be rude or disrespectful.
That is just based on attending a non religious memorial for someone. Once the memorial is in a religious location it brings in a new set of questions. Can you order someone to attend something in a religious building when they want nothing to do with that religion or any religion? From everything I can find you cannot order anything that is religious based, besides cleaning or retrieving people and or equipment.
Orders are not something written in stone. They are mint to change and be changed according to the mission and time requirements.