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.