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Crisis in Yugoslavia

POW Code of Conduct

April 27, 1999

Negotiations continue for the release of three U.S. prisoners of war: Staff Sgts. Andrew Ramirez and Christopher J. Stone and Spc. Steven Gonzales. Although the men, who were captured March 31, have not been permitted to contact their families, a condition required under the Geneva Convention, they were visited Monday by a representative of the International Committee of the Red Cross. As part of basic training, all U.S. military personnel learn six "codes of conduct," or rules they are instructed to follow in the event they are captured in war:


I am an American, fighting in the forces which guard my country and our way of life. I am prepared to give my life in their defense.


I will never surrender of my own free will. If in command, I will never surrender the members of my command while they still have the means to resist.


If I am captured, I will continue to resist by all means available. I will make every effort to escape and aid others to escape. I will accept neither parole nor special favors from the enemy.


If I become a prisoner of war, I will keep faith with my fellow prisoners. I will give no information or take part in any action which might be

harmful to my comrades. If I am senior, I will take command. If not, I will obey the lawful orders of those appointed over me and will back them up in every way.


When questioned, should I become a prisoner of war, I am required to give name, rank, service number and date of birth. I will evade answering further questions to the utmost of my ability. I will make no oral or written statements disloyal to my country and its allies or harmful to their cause.


I will never forget that I am an American, fighting for freedom, responsible for my actions, and dedicated to the principles which made my country free. I will trust in my God and in the United States of America.

Sources: Department of Defense, U.S. Army; compiled by TRICIA FORD/ Los Angeles Times

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