Your obligations as a US citizen and a member of the Armed Forces result from the traditional values that underlie the American experience as a nation. These values are best expressed in the US Constitution and Bill of Rights, which you have sworn to uphold and defend. You would have these obligations—to your country, your Service and unit, and your fellow Americans—even if the Code of Conduct had never been formulated as a high standard of general behavior.
Just as you have a responsibility to your country under the Code of Conduct, the US Government has a dual responsibility—always to keep faith with you and stand by you as you fight for your country. If you are unfortunate enough to become a prisoner of war, you may rest assured that your Government will care for your dependents and will never forget you. Furthermore, the Government will use every practical means to contact, support and gain release for you and for all other prisoners of war.
To live up to the Code, you must know not only its words but the ideas and principles behind those words.
These pages contain the Code, an explanation of its principles and a statement of the standards expected of you.
The Code of Conduct is an ethical guide. Its six articles deal with your chief concerns as an American in combat; these concerns become critical when you must evade capture, resist while a prisoner, or escape from the enemy.
Experiences of captured Americans reveal that to survive captivity honorably would demand from you great courage, deep dedication and high motivation. To sustain these personal values throughout captivity requires that you understand and believe strongly in our free and democratic institutions, love your country, trust in the justice of our cause, keep faithful and loyal to your fellow prisoners, and hold firmly to your religious and moral beliefs in time of trial.
Your courage, dedication, and motivation supported by understanding, trust, and fidelity will help you endure the terrors of captivity, prevail over your captors and return to your family, home, and nation with honor and pride.
NOTE: The Code of Conduct for members of the Armed Forces of the US was first promulgated by President Eisenhower August 17, 1955. The Code, including its basic philosophy, was reaffirmed on July 8, 1964 , in DOD Directive No. 1300.7. On November 3, 1977 , President Carter amended Article V of the Code. On March 28, 1988 , President Reagan amended Articles I, II and VI of the Code. The Code, although first expressed in its written form in 1955, is based on time-honored concepts and traditions that date back to the days of the American Revolution.