Bylaws of the U.S. Naval Landing Party

1. The Purpose & Role of the Unit
The U.S. Naval Landing Party (hereafter referred to as the "USNLP") is a group of individuals engaged in reenacting / portraying sailors and marines ashore in the period of the American Civil War 1861-1865. We seek to represent as accurately as possible the appearance, demeanor, and activities of men and women of that time. This will foster an understanding and appreciation of American history and the experiences of those who lived it. Venues for our portrayals include (but are not limited to) encampments / battle reenactments in conjunction with other units; living history events; parades; talks or demonstrations at schools, libraries, historical societies, roundtables, etc.; and civil ceremonies.

2. Membership
Organized as a volunteer unit, all members partake in the responsibilities of education and presentation. As such, our members are encouraged to participate as often as possible, improving their education and assuring the overall integrity and safety of the group. Membership in the USNLP is open to anyone with an interest in American Civil War history and a desire to share their knowledge and enthusiasm with others, both within and without the group. The USNLP takes no consideration of race, gender or age (except in the case of minors less than sixteen years old, who must be accompanied by a parent or responsible adult). While we encourage women to join in a civilian role, the accurate portrayal of a period sailor or marine is not denied them. Additionally, to protect our membership, the membership of other units, and spectators, the USNLP reserves the right to refuse admission to the unit to any individual we deem unfit or patently unable to abide by these Bylaws and the Safety rules detailed in the unit handbook; behavior (past or present) deemed disruptive to unit cohesion or cooperation will also be grounds for the refusal of admission.

3. Authenticity Standards
Unique to organizations such as ours is the imperative that criteria for authenticity of dress, equipage, and demeanor be set and adhered to. While a certain amount of leeway may be granted both the member new to reenacting as well as the more veteran recruit joining from another unit, all persons shall endeavor to adhere as strictly and expeditiously as possible to the standards set forth in the USNLP Handbook (current edition). Over time, as the result of ongoing research, even long-time members may be affected by the discovery of new information that will require amendment in dress, equipage or activity. These sentiments are presented in earnest. However, all requirements for change which involve the expenditure of personal funds, (e.g., for a new rifle or uniform), will be met with understanding on the part of all members of the USNLP. This is especially in the case of recruits new to reenacting who face the initial period of greatest expense. No member need fear dismissal or chastisement as long as they make a manifest and good faith effort toward redressing deficiencies.

4. Dismissal from the USNLP
An individual may be asked to leave the USNLP in the event of:

  1. Repeated dangerous handling of a weapon, either loaded or unloaded, including discharge of a black powder weapon in an unsafe or unapproved manner; failure to properly maintain a weapon; intentional avoidance of weapons inspection; or any activity deemed by consensus of the unit to be unsafe to both members of the USNLP, greater reenacting community, and spectators.
  2. Repeated intentional fabrication of information imparted to visitors or fellow reenactors. Spectators are especially vulnerable: they attend events to learn from a body of people whom they perceive to be better informed and cognizant of history than are they, and in most instances will not readily comprehend that they are being lied to. When an individual knowingly embellishes or augments his or her knowledge base with intentional fabrications with the purpose of impressing the listening public, they lessen the credibility of the unit as a whole and of all reenactors in general. This stricture does not extend to the obvious and easily detectable "tall tale" or camp fire story.
  3. Repeated efforts to undermine the authority of event coordinators and commanders by spontaneous and explicitly forbidden actions in an attempt to "get the ball rolling" or stir up whatever mischief one can. Events are typically scripted and all participants asked to adhere to such script as there may be. Leeway for independent unit action will be imparted by the overall commanders; allowance for individual independent action will be imparted by the USNLP commanding officer to his subordinates. As in 4.2 (above), avoidance of this rule detracts from the impression that the reenacting community is attempting to present and is an unfair and selfish infringement upon the rights of our fellows to participate in an event as advertised / planned.
  1. Repeated occurrences of public drunkenness or the first incident involving the use of unprescribed drugs in any form while attached to the USNLP will be cause for banishment from the unit. Infraction of this rule while handling a weapon is strictly forbidden.

5. Dues
Full members’ dues are $20 per year and are paid annually on the anniversary of recruitment. This includes a copy of the USNLP Handbook (current edition); all updates to the Handbook that may be completed in the course of the membership year; a copy of the USNLP Songbook; and a subscription to Beat to Quarters!, the USNLP unit newsletter. Full members will receive a periodic accounting (included in the mailing of BTQ!) of all unit funds, which are to be kept in a separate account dedicated to the unit and accessible to the unit commander.

Subscription to BTQ! alone is $12 per year.

The USNLP Commanding officer will maintain a separate bank account for the USNLP. The bank shall be located in such place as is convenient for him. He shall have discretionary power to make expenditures of up 10% of the current balance in the USNLP account. This discretionary power is not to exceed $100. If the expenditure exceeds that amount, a vote by all Full members is needed. This vote may be by regular or electronic mail. The time limit for voting will be 14 calendar days. A simple majority of votes cast will be sufficient to carry or void the expenditure. The results of any vote are to be presented in the next issue of BTQ!. The individual votes will be made a part of the written record of the USNLP.

There will a second Full member with access rights to the USNLP account to take affect only if the USNLP Commanding Officer is incapacitated. Incapacity is defined by the laws of state in which he resides. This second person cannot be a member of the family of the USNLP commanding officer.

At such time as the USNLP membership votes to create the office of controller or treasurer the above statements will remain in affect. Any Full member can request the creation of the office at any time. At that time the above mentioned statements will be changed to replace the word(s) "USNLP Commanding Officer" with "treasurer" or "controller."

A full accounting of all monies received (and their source) and all debits (and their destination) on this account will made to all full members at least bi-monthly in BTQ!. Any Full member may request a statement concerning this account at no less than once every 2 months. The person requesting will be liable for the copy and postal expense. At least once per calendar year an audit will made of this account by at least 3 full members in concert and the report presented to all members in BTQ!.

6. Weapons Policy
To qualify to handle arms of any kind, military members of the USNLP must meet two criteria; Foremost being strict age requirements, as follows:
Age 16
- Must have parent’s written consent and demonstrate the ability to handle these weapons safely in training and re-enactment scenarios.
Ages 14 to 16
-- Must have parent’s written consent and demonstrate the ability to handle these weapons in training exercises and then only under the direct supervision of an USNLP officer or NCO. Members in this age group will not be allowed in battle scenarios.
Under 14
-- Under no circumstances to be allowed to handle either type of weapon.

Additionally, the second qualification is a careful review of the individual by the USNLP leadership.

Any civilian members that wish to be armed in their presentation must seek the counsel of the Commander of the USNLP with regards to concerns and policies related to living-history and reenactment events. Weapons shall be understood to include both firearms and melee arms. Melee arms include individual swords, truncheons, boarding axes and pikes, pole arms and knives. "Firearms" are defined as a weapon capable of firing a missile, especially a rifle or pistol, using an explosive charge as a propellant.

All weapons employed by the USNLP shall be subject to approval and inspection. The frequency of such inspections are to be determined by the Unit Commander and senior NCOs. Inspections during an event are the responsibility of the Officer Commanding. These inspections will ensure the safety of our members and that of units that we may encounter in the field. Inspections will follow period drill format, prudence and safety notwithstanding, and shall be carried out by the senior Naval and Marine representatives present at any assembly.

Firearms will be reproductions of an appropriate military pattern as specified in the USNLP Handbook (latest edition). Shotguns will not be permitted in field actions.

Bladed weapons are to have sheaths which fully enclose and guard the edge. Scabbards shall be complete with tips in good repair and shall be properly mounted within the belts. Belt knives are not permitted upon any battlefield.

7. Unit Organization
Naval Section: Marine Detachment: Non-combatant members and civilians

Lieutenant 1st Lieutenant
Ensign 2nd Lieutenant
Master’s Mate Sergeant(s)
Chief Petty Officer Corporal(s)
Senior Petty Officer(s) Privates
Petty Officer(s)

8. Duties
Officers, NCOs and enlisted alike must remember that we are all volunteers. There is a fine line between discipline and alienated troops. Our best discipline is to lead by the example of self-discipline.

USNLP Commander (USN Lieutenant)

  1. Responsible for unit operations or the direction thereof.
  2. Responsible for unit administration and its direction.
  3. Responsible for unit training schedule.
  4. Appoints unit subordinates (NCOs)
  5. Delegates responsibility and authority to appointed positions.
  6. Ultimately responsible for all unit equipment.
  7. Ultimately responsible for liaison with other unit commanders and event coordinators.
  8. Ultimately responsible for the physical security of unit property and stores.

Chief Petty Officers and First Sergeants

  1. Reports to the Commander on condition and readiness of said unit every event morning
  2. Transmits Commander's orders to the unit NCOs
  3. Assigns duties to sailors and marines in a fair manner
  4. Responsible for the policing of encampment
  5. In the absence of the Chief Petty Officer or 1st Sgt., Senior Petty Officers or sergeants may elect to rotate the duties of same CPO or 1st Sergeant

Senior Petty Officers and Sergeants

  1. Shall supervise details as directed by the Chief Petty Officer and 1st Sergeant

Petty Officers and Corporals

  1. Shall assume the duties of the senior petty officer or sergeant in his absence
  2. Shall actively supervise and may assist tasked details as necessary
  3. Shall assist sergeants in routine and squad activities

Sailors and Privates

  1. Obey the orders and directions of the officers and NCOs. Get permission from superiors before leaving any USNLP position or post. Carefully manage your time away from the unit's positions; you may become absent without leave, jeopardizing the integrity and safety of the unit.
  2. Refer complaints and suggestions through the Chain of Command while on duty (this does not apply to nonpublic or 'off duty' hours)
  3. Learn to work together as a team; the duty of our respective positions should come first, and problems resolved when we are not in the presence of the public or other units.
  4. Are the future of the Landing Party! Observe, listen and learn. These are the requisites for promotion.
  5. Military Courtesies are in full effect during duty hours. Be courteous, polite and well mannered when interacting with the public and members of other Units.
  6. Safety is the concern of everyone. Never hesitate to correct an unsafe situation, regardless of the ranks that may be so involved. We must all look out for each other! When in doubt during any field exercise, call CEASE FIRE!

9. Civilians and Attached Personnel
Civilian presentations are an adjunct part of the USNLP structure. Historically, it may be difficult to substantiate any direct civilian involvement our endeavor. However, as there were significant contributions to the Federal and Confederate forces, certain civilian participation may be considered.

The unit also recognizes that civilians are instrumental in the success of our presentations. Our accepted presence in field and ceremony presentations will afford the opportunity for our civilians to function with those of other units and thereby further improve the versatility of the unit. Our presence ashore in an established Army encampment allows the USNLP to interact with its civilian component in the camp setting. In garrison settings arrangements may be affected to allow for such participation and direct civilian activity. There are also other areas of presentation possible and the unit encourages those whom would participate as civilians, male and female, to research and explore those possibilities.

The military afield was supported by all manner of civilian activity. Any civilian presentation, with approval of the unit membership, is welcomed. Participation, presentations and equipment shall be at the discretion of the unit Commanding Officer and Civilian Coordinator. The Civilian Coordinator shall be selected by the civilians from their own numbers and shall serve as a point of contact between the Civilian Section and the Unit Commander.

Those offering any civilian presentation along with that of the USNLP must understand that while they may not be able to be located within the physical Unit camp, their equipment may be located in the civilian portion of the USNLP plan of encampment or other area as designated by the respective event coordinators.

Civilian personnel should take care to develop a character profile so that they may more effectively integrate their presentations with that of the USNLP. Research and interaction with other members should provide many avenues and possibilities in this area.

Civilians, in general, shall not be armed in their day to day activities and will be so only in certain scenarios. This is necessary if the unit's civilian members wish to participate in many of the reenactment events. The majority of event coordinators ask this of all units, citing safety concerns for all participants. There will be appropriate times and scenarios which will permit, if not encourage, civilians and attached personnel to be armed and participate accordingly.

Children will be accepted into the presentations of the Naval Landing Party provided that their parents are members of the unit and that at least one parent will be able to watch over the child while the unit is in engaged in drill, parade or field actions. Children, under the age of sixteen, wishing to join the unit may do so providing that at least one parent also enlists. Children need to be protected from the hazards of our activity. On the field or within certain scenarios a child may not be seen or heard due to his or her stature and voice. While the safety of the group is the concern of everyone, responsibility for the children and their well being must be largely shouldered by the parents. The parents, collectively, may work out such arrangements amongst themselves and with the assistance of USNLP members who are able to help.

"Attached" military personnel may be armed according to their rank and due station in service. When the unit is deployed for drill or action, only its trained, functional members shall serve to give field and combat instructions. Any interference by Attached personnel or their undue influence to the integrity of the drill or exercise can endanger our property, position, personnel, and any others in the immediate vicinity. Attached personnel may, when directed by the Officer Commanding, enjoin action employing small. Attached personnel may also serve as subalterns to the Officer Commanding, at the discretion of the Officer Commanding and NCOs, when the unit is understaffed. The USNLP’s officers and NCOs shall be cognizant of the unit's members in skirmishes and any other small arms actions. Any departure from this policy will result in the request that the offending individual(s) remove themselves from the unit's vicinity and that they cease their participation with the USNLP.

10. Meetings
All business of the USNLP will be handled at events in which the unit participates. Any suggestions stemming from these meetings will be forwarded to the full membership either as part of the periodic publication of BTQ! or, if urgent, by a separate mailing. If feasible, at least one unit meeting during the winter months will be arranged. A synopsis of said winter meeting will be recorded and distributed to full members.

11. Amendments
Amendments to the USNLP Bylaws may be made at any time by a majority vote of the membership. Because of the geographic distribution of participants, votes to amend the bylaws will be handled by mail or equivalent electronic means, with full text of suggested changes supplied to each member, and a request that ballots be returned within a specified amount of time. Only returned ballots will be counted toward any decision.

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