Help! I have a birthday party to attend this weekend, and I’m not sure if I can bring my boyfriend or not.
My best friend down where we are stationed is having a party. She has a ton of officer friends. My boyfriend is enlisted. My friend insists that my boyfriend can’t come because he is enlisted. Is this true?
Also note: My girlfriend is not in the Navy, and is also not dating anyone in the Navy. There will be plenty of non-military people there.
Can he come with me to the party? And what are the “rules” on officers and enlisted interacting in the military?
I’m new to the community and have no idea.
The applicable military “rule” in your situation is Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), which prohibits relations between officers and enlisted that undermine good order and discipline, display partiality on the part of the officer, or bring discredit upon the service. That kind of behavior is called “fraternization.” But to junior officers and enlisted, the way the article is written makes it seem like every social situation might be subjectively considered fraternization, and so most young service members avoid the issue altogether by refusing to socialize with anyone outside of their particular rank.
I don’t know what kinds of party your friend intends to throw. Would participation in party behaviors undermine good order and discipline? If most of her friends are in their early 20s and unattached, and plan to spend the night drinking and dancing (and trying to hook up), then it might be inappropriate for an enlisted member to be there. If it’s something a little more subdued like a birthday or holiday party, then everyone can more easily avoid fraternization.
If your boyfriend is fairly senior, and the officers who might attend are fairly senior, then it’s a different story. First of all, the party won’t likely create situations which might lead to fraternization; second of all, all service members will have enough social experience in the military to behave appropriately towards each other. If most of the people involved are dating instead of married, however, then the odds are it’s a pretty young crowd, and bringing your boyfriend in will likely be uncomfortable for everyone, including him.
The short answer to your question is that no rule prohibits your enlisted boyfriend from attending a party at which there are officers.