Rebuilding the Army

Archive Report

Faltering of Morale and Discipline

Role of Viet Nam and Society in Army Unrest

In an address to the cadets at West Point on May 29, President Nixon said it was no longer a secret that “discipline, integrity, patriotism and self-sacrifice …can no longer be taken for granted in the Army in which you will serve.” Many professional soldiers frankly admit that discipline in America's armed forces has broken down. Enlisted men sometimes have refused to obey their officers, even on the battlefields of Viet Nam. Assaults on officers are increasing. Desertion rates are high. Drugs, violence, crime, protest and racial tension—the problems of society—have all been intensified in the barracks. According to a highly respected military writer, Col. Robert D. Heinl Jr., “The morale, discipline ...

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