Army won’t punish NCO for upside down flag

| December 5, 2012

SFC Melissa L. Cos thought it would be a good idea to fly an American flag upside down in the front yard of her private home in Copenhagen, NY a satellite community of Fort Drum to protest the reelection of the President according to the Watertown Daily Times.

On Monday a neighbor, John H. Drewes, told the Times that his wife visited Sgt. Coss about a week earlier after seeing the flags upside down, and was told by Sgt. Coss that the reason for the display, done shortly after the Nov. 6 general election, was to protest President Obama’s re-election.

Lt. Col. David A. Konop, division public affairs officer, said the soldier, who he would not identify by name, rank or unit, was talked to by their chain of command, but would not say which level of leadership talked with the soldier. He added that the upside down flags were taken down later that day.

The protest could have been punished under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, primarily Article 134, which punishes speech and conduct that would affect good order and discipline or bring discredit upon the armed forces.

Poor judgement on SFC Coss’ part, good judgement on the Army’s part. There are many ways to express your displeasure with the outcome of the election and an upside down flag is probably the worst way to do it. Besides, SFC Coss is supposed to respect the office of the President, her Commander-in-chief, if not the occupant.

Good judgement by SFC Coss to take the flags down when the Army told her to fix the problem. I wouldn’t have done the deed in the first place, but because of my problem with authority, I might have put up a struggle and suffered the consequences.

The Army probably could have punished her, but it might have been a tough case if she’d decided to take it to court martial. And since it was on her own property, it might have caused some dissension in the ranks, so PR-wise it was probably smart of the Army to take that course.

Category: Military issues, Who knows

Comments (16)

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  1. BruteForce says:

    I detest the fact that Obama won reelection (fraud, whatever the reason). I refused to fly my two flags upside down, so instead, I will hang a black streamer ABOVE my flags until he’s gone.

  2. 2-17 Air Cav says:

    Yeah, I thought to do that the first time around with that guy but just couldn’t do it for longer than a day. As for Old Glory, she should not be treated differently because there’s a knucklehead in the White House. As for this sergeant, I sympathize with her and will be happy on her behalf (and with malice toward no one) call the present occupant of 1600 and the commander in chief a hunk of Marxist crap.

  3. 2-17 Air Cav says:

    Whoa. I was responding to BruteForce in 1. I DID NOT fly Old Glory upside down. I did, however, take a thin strip of black cloth and tie it to the pole.

  4. streetsweeper says:

    Since I don’t have no problem taking up for active duty, I have no problem whatsoever saying “rat, commie punk”. As for flying our flag upside down, they best be being over-run by an enemy….

  5. pete says:

    imagine the uproar if someone flew an obummer flag with his mug on it upside down?

  6. PALADIN says:

    While i too sympathize with her, i don’t agree with flying it upside down.
    The only people who fly it upside down when their g-strings are in a knot are LIBERAL/SOCIALIST /PROGRESSIVE kneescrapers, and old hippie turds who are still living in yesteryear.
    Personally when Hussein won the election, i went out and got a bigger one so my liberal neighbors would know just how i felt, and i put a light on it at night too.
    F, em.

  7. Nigel Brooks says:

    The only problem I have with this is that some jerk found it necessary to report SFC Cos for an act that she performed at her private residence.

    I’m glad I’m retired so no jerk can report me to my employer for acts that they might disagree with.

  8. BCousins says:

    Jonn, I believe many civilians would fail to understand and be shocked at your statement “but because of my problem with authority”. They don’t understand that many of us have that “problem”. Many civilians think we are all rigid, by the book robots who follow orders blindly. I have heard many people who have never served use the excuse that they didn’t want anyone telling them what to do. I put in almost 27 years in the Army and often did what I believed was best. I found it always easier to get forgiveness than permission. Thanks.

  9. FatCircles0311 says:

    If this were a white heterosexual male he’d be in the brig already.

  10. Devtun says:

    No need to risk your career and livelihood…the people have voted, and they want stuff and the promise of more stuff in the future. The R’pubs too are about big G and bennies for the people, but why go for the diet version when you can have the real thing? Sooner rather than later, the U.S. won’t be able to borrow trillions at low interest and just servicing the debt will be a major problem, but most of the 51% don’t care about deficits and debt…its please may I have more?

  11. joe says:

    New to the site. I have and will continue to fly my flag in the upside down position. I watched the towers fall from a few feet away and made it. I watched the code pink anti-war protesters for 8 years. I watched the media take a stand against Pres. Bush for the last 7 years of his tour. And then I saw the mainstream media carry the current Presidents water for 4 years…The people of this country have voted, and now my country is in grave danger. My flag will fly as is, until we the people get our stuff squared away.

  12. shovelDriver says:

    That “problem with authority”? I think those of us used to exercising authority – in real true-to-life incidents of need, like military people often get exposed to, also hae that problem.

    Still, I have this problem: When the SFC chose to fly the flag upside down, she was not in violation of any law. If I read it corectly, it was not her who identified herself to the media as a member of the military. So she was not violating any military rules. Unless, that is, the Patriot Act or something else has actually made constitutional acts illegal.


  13. Yat Yas 1833 says:

    If memory serves, an upside down American flag is a distress signal. My beloved United States is in distress with comrade omammy in the White House. As far as I’m concerned the Sgt did nothing wrong. This, in MHO, is PC run amok.

  14. Hondo says:

    Actually, shovelDriver, since she’s currently serving arguably she was.

    Article 134 in general prohibits any conduct that brings discredit upon the military. One can make a relatively good argument that an active-duty member of the military flying the US flag upside down for the political reason of not liking the outcome of the recent election for POTUS does that in two ways. The first is failure to adhere to the US Flag Code; the second is implied disrespect for the office of the POTUS, which also happens to be the CINC of her service.

    Not sure the argument would have prevailed at a courts-martial, but IMO there’s clearly enough there to have brought the matter to trial had she continued after being told to cease work. And I also think a good prosecutor would have had a very good chance to get a conviction.

  15. 2-17 Air Cav says:

    I guess it all depends on how one views Old Glory. If she is nothing more than a symbol that represents the sitting president or current congress then it makes perfect sense to fly her upside down as a personal statement of dislike for the current office holders or their policies. If, however, one sees in Old Glory something that transcends the immediate, something that represents both the history and hope of America, a sacred shroud that accompanies the passing of the Fallen as well as departed Veterans, then Old Glory should never be used for a political statement by being flown upside down, any more than she should be burned or permitted to touch the ground.

  16. EverLasting Soldier says:

    Ok here is the problem with this all. I dont think she does not love this country because she wouldnt have spent the last 17-20 something odd years serving OUR great Army. The problem at hand is that 1. She is still a SENIOR NON-Commission Officer, a Sgt. First Class (SFC) in the United States army; With that being said, Artile 134 is in full affect 24hr a day, 365 a year. This meaning on and off mailitary base. The act that she commented was unbecoming of a Non-Commission Officer and defacing the nations flag and brings discredit upon the military. YES…it is also a distress signal, but if you would be so kind to GOOGLE article 134 and read into it, she could lose rank and possible force retirement. 2. Regardless if she likes who the POTUS is, that is still her CIC. Meaning she has to work for him and follow all guide lines. Until she gets out of the military, these things will not change. Personally, I think its a disgrace that you would want to fly you AMERICAN FLAG upside down because of one person. Look at what we went through as AMERICANS to have that and the people like myself that fight everyday, boots tied tight for this country. I dont care who is POTUS. I’m still offended to see this. Carry on!!!