June 2, 2011 at 3:06 pm #131813
Thomas L. WatsonParticipant
Oath of Office,
I hired on at Mare Island Naval Shipyard on Dec. 3, 1973 after 4.5 years in Submarine Service with the U.S. Navy.
The first thing I did at the Main Gate Employment Office, after signing my hiring papers, was take a “Verbal” Oath of Office.
The next thing the Human Resources Office, HRO, did was give me a “Certified Copy” of my Position Description, PD, telling me what my duties and training requirements were required of me as a Federal Employee, in the position that I was hired for,
Today after 42 years of combined military and civil service I’m being told by the Main HRO Office in San Diego, CA, that they no longer give the oath of office, just a written copy, nor do they give you a copy of your certified PD!
What can we do as employees to get the U.S. Navy to restore our “Oath of Office”, give us a copy of our duties and give us back the honor and dignity of office, that is under attack today by politicians and the media?
Give us the back the honor that Federal Employees bring to their job and to their country every day, by restoring the Oath!
BACKUP DATA, FEDERAL EMPLOYEES
As Federal civil servants, we take an oath of office by which we swear to support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America. The Constitution not only establishes our system of government, it actually defines the work role for Federal employees – “to establish Justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty.”
The history of the Oath for Federal employees can be traced to the Constitution, where Article II includes the specific oath the President takes – to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Article VI requires an oath by all other government officials from all three branches, the military, and the States. It simply states that they “shall be bound by oath or affirmation to support the Constitution.” The very first law passed by the very first Congress implemented Article VI by setting out this simple oath in law: “I do solemnly swear or affirm (as the case may be) that I will support the Constitution of the United States.”
The wording we use today as Executive Branch employees is now set out in chapter 33 of title 5, United States Code.
TITLE 5, PART III, Subpart B, CHAPTER 33, SUBCHAPTER II, § 3331
Oath of office
An individual, except the President, elected or appointed to an office of honor or profit in the civil service or uniformed services, shall take the following oath: “I, ———-, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”
This section does not affect other oaths required by law.
The wording dates to the Civil War and what was called the Ironclad Test Oath. Starting in 1862, Congress required a two-part oath. The first part, referred to as a “background check,” affirmed that you were not supporting and had not supported the Confederacy. The second part addressed future performance, that is, what you would swear to do in the future. It established a clear, publicly sworn accountability. In 1873, Congress dropped the first part of the Ironclad Test Oath, and in 1884 adopted the wording we use today.
Any questions please contact me,
Thomas L. Watson, President
IFPTE Local 32
3755 Brinser St. STE 1
San Diego, CA 92136-5299
Email: [email protected]
Union Office Bldg. 76 Rm 136
Union Office Phone: 619-556-4931
My Cell Phone: 619-203-7563
“In Unity There is Strength”
June 2, 2011 at 3:15 pm #131819
Tera Lea SaloParticipant
Thank you, Thomas. I agree with you on this – and thought that I had done that (swore an oath) in 2010 when working for the US Army Corps of Engineers. It didn’t faze me, after serving in the Navy for so long.
I absolutely think that if you “profit” from the government (Civil Service or otherwise), then you should at LEAST state support for the US constitution and willingess to defend it.
Maybe more people should read it, or read it again.
June 2, 2011 at 3:33 pm #131817
As the Training Officer I ran new employee orientation and I swore people in according to the oath of office. I never took it lightly, it always moved me. It is very close to the inagural oath. As far as I am concerned we still sear people in. They may have stopped doing so because they didn’t have a flag, were too busy, lost their copy of theoath, etc.
If you want these things from HR, request them.
If you have a Union you may want to use the power of the union to request them.
June 2, 2011 at 7:03 pm #131815
You just reminded me I had to swear an oath to work at the commissary at the Jacksonville Naval Air Station 30-some years ago. I joked about it at the time and asked if they could now ship me anywhere they wanted to, but I secretly thought it was pretty cool. Still do.
Interesting to hear the Civil War origins too. Interesting post, thanks.
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