Punitive Articles of the Uniform Code of Military Justice

Article 99—Misbehavior before the enemy

Bowe Bergdahl
Article 99. gettys

It is rare to be charged with an Article 99, in fact, only a few have been charged with such a violation since World War Two when almost 500 cases were heard.  Bowe Bergdahl was the most recent since then to be charged with an Article 99 due to his abandonment of his post in Afghanistan thus getting captured by the Taliban. He is likely not to receive the Desertion charge (Article 85) which is a more common violation where the Army prosecuted more than 1900 offenses since 2001.  

There is a difference as the Section 899 of Article 99 reads as follows:

“Any member of the armed forces who before or in the presence of the enemy-

(1) runs away;

(2) shamefully abandons, surrenders, or delivers up any command, unit, place, or military property which it is his duty to defend;

(3) through disobedience, neglect, or intentional misconduct endangers the safety of any such command, unit, place, or military property;

(4) casts away his arms or ammunition;

(5) is guilty of cowardly conduct;

(6) quits his place of duty to plunder or pillage;

(7) causes false alarms in any command, unit, or place under control of the armed forces;

(8) willfully fails to do his utmost to encounter, engage, capture, or destroy any enemy troops, combatants, vessels, aircraft, or any other thing, which it is his duty so to encounter, engage, capture, or destroy; or

(9) does not afford all practicable relief and assistance to any troops, combatants, vessels, or aircraft of the armed forces belonging to the United States or their allies when engaged in battle; shall be punished by death or such other punishment as a court-martial may direct.”

Lesser included offenses.

(1) Running away.

(a) Article 85—desertion with intent to avoid hazardous or important service

(b) Article 86—absence without authority; going from appointed place of duty

(c) Article 80—attempts

(2) Shamefully abandoning, surrendering, or delivering up command. Article 80—attempts

(3) Endangering safety of a command, unit, place, ship, or military property.

(a) Through disobedience of order . Article 92—failure to obey lawful order

(b) Article 80—attempts

(4) Casting away arms or ammunition.

(a) Article 108—military property of the United States—loss, damage, destruction, or wrongful disposition.

(b) Article 80—attempts

(5) Cowardly conduct.

(a) Article 85—desertion with intent to avoid hazardous duty or important service

(b) Article 86—absence without authority

(c) Article 99—running away

(d) Article 80—attempts

(6) Quitting place of duty to plunder or pillage.

(a) Article 86(2)—going from appointed place of duty

(b) Article 80—attempts

(7) Causing false alarms. Article 80—attempts

(8) Willfully failing to do utmost to encounter enemy. Article 80—attempts

(9) Failing to afford relief and assistance. Article 80—attempts

Maximum punishment. All offenses under Article 99. Death or such other punishment as a court-martial may direct.

Above Information from Manual for Court Martial, 2012, ¶23.b.(2)(b)

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