Late last week, Navy Reserve Forces Command published guidance warning troops that they can be punished or prosecuted for refusing to stand when the Star Spangled Banner is played. This was in response to two sailors going public with their decision to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. It appears the warning did not work as Fox News reports that Intelligence Specialist 2nd Class Janaye Ervin, a reservist stationed at Pearl Harbor, lost her security clearance and was threatened with jail by the Navy after refusing to stand for the national anthem.
A message directed at active-duty sailors and reserve personnel on active duty cites Navy Regulation 1205, which mandates that personnel in uniform must stand at attention and face the flag when the national anthem is played.
It also notes that a Navy administrative message published in 2009 requires Navy active-duty personnel in civilian clothes to face the flag, stand at attention, and place their right hand over their heart.
"Additionally, Sailors receive training on the appropriate usage of social media, and must not use it to discredit the Naval Service, and should be reminded it could potentially be used as evidence against them," the guidance continues, a message apparently directed at the two sailors who published posts on Facebook about their protests.
Failure to comply with these regulations, the message said, is punishable under Article 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and constitutes commission of a serious offense — grounds for administrative separation from the service.
"While military personnel are not excluded from the protections granted by the First Amendment, the US Supreme Court has stated that the different character of our community and of the military mission requires a different application of those protections," the guidance states.