- A video showing an oath swearing ceremony for re-enlistment with the Tennessee Air National Guard has caused two different controversies.
- There was initial outrage and claims that the master sergeant who was reciting the oath with a dinosaur hand puppet was disrespecting an honored military tradition.
- After all three individuals that were involved with the video were given harsh punishments, people complained that the military does not take the same actions for more controversial actions.
A bizarre video showing a Tennessee Air National Guard master sergeant using a dinosaur hand puppet while reciting the oath of re-enlistment has resulted in a number of punishments, which in turn has generated a confused response.
The video was initially met with outrage from viewers who thought it was a mockery of an honored armed forces tradition. Army Maj. Gen. Terry Haston, the adjutant general for the Tennessee National Guard, responded Wednesday by saying that he was “shocked and dismayed” at the video, and that he was “absolutely embarrassed.”
“The oath of office or enlistment not only signifies our commitment to our nation, but pays respect to our fellow service members and to those who came before us,” Haston said. He wasn’t alone in feeling this way – the video was uploaded to Facebook with the caption “Remember when the Profession of Arms was taken seriously?!? SMDH!!!”
In his statement Wednesday, Haston announced that the colonel who led the ceremony was demoted and then retired from service.
Master Sgt. Robin Brown, who was reciting the oath with the dinosaur puppet in the video, has been removed from her job at the Tennessee Joint Public Affairs Office and will face administrative actions, Haston said. An anonymous officer who videotaped the event was also removed from his job and has been reprimanded.
The video effectively ruined the careers of three Tennessee Air National Guardsmen, as Adam Weinstein lays out at Task & Purpose.
The punishments have now generated a controversy of their own.
People on social media argued that the punishments were too harsh, especially given the fact that other re-enlistment ceremonies that took an even more comical approach to the ceremony have not resulted in similar punishments.
The biggest criticism came from those who pointed out that the military has not brought down such harsh punishments for actual crimes or more offensive actions.
“I wish I had Hermione’s Time Turner so I could go into the future and find out how this Dino Puppet airman is punished versus the racist airman who called Asians ‘ching chong’ earlier this year,” Valerie Insinna, a reporter at Defence News tweeted.
Other people tweeted similar sentiments:
About time the military stepped in to investigate those accused of sexual assault in their ranks.
…wait. What’s that? This is because of a dinosaur hand puppet being used during an oath. Oh. Ok. https://t.co/reWCT2XNhv
— CaptHandlebar (@CaptHandlebar) April 18, 2018
If only the military took sexual assault or senior leader misconduct as seriously as *checks notes* dinosaur puppets https://t.co/4bakL0qMsX
— David Cox (@AirIntelO) April 18, 2018
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