Tags: soldiers | empty | casket | photo

Soldiers' Empty Casket Goof-Off Picture Leads to Suspension

Wednesday, 19 Feb 2014 12:46 PM

By Alexandra Ward

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The Wisconsin Army National Guard member who posted a photo on Instagram showing a group of soldiers goofing off around an empty flag-draped casket has been suspended, the Guard said Tuesday.

Spc. Terry Harrison of the Madison, Wis.-based 1st Battalion, 147th Aviation Regiment, was indefinitely relieved of her duties this week after the photo sparked outrage on social media and military forums, Maj. Paul Rickert, the Wisconsin National Guard's director of public affairs, told The Associated Press.

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The picture showed a group of National Guard members from various units gathered around an American flag-draped casket at a training facility in Arkansas. Many of the men and women are seen smiling or striking comedic poses. One flashes a peace sign. Another holds up bunny ears. One is facing the other way pointing off into the distance.

"We put the FUN in funeral — your fearless honor guard from various states," Harrison captioned the photo. Her Instagram account has since been deactivated.

The image offended many military family and service members.

"It was like somebody slapped me in the face. I've never in my life seen such disrespect for the fallen or the families," Judy Vincent, whose son died in Iraq in 2004, told the AP.

The National Guard is reportedly taking steps to protect Harrison after she received death threats over the picture.

"We take the responsibility given to members with respect to fallen soldiers very seriously and expect all soldiers assigned to [the unit] to perform their duties with honor and respect," Rickert said.

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