Outrage Erupts Over National Guard Funeral Pictures

Wednesday, 19 Feb 2014 08:34 AM

By Elliot Jager

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An Instagram photograph showing 14 Wisconsin Army National Guard members clowning besides an empty flag draped coffin has ignited outrage, Fox News reported.

The posed photo — which has gone viral — is accompanied by the caption: "We put the FUN in funeral your fearless honor guard from various states."

The photo elicited revulsion on the Wisconsin National Guard's Facebook page.

Arron Adams wrote: "That entire unit is a disgrace. If the command can't instill any tact or discipline in [their] junior enlisted then they aren't doing their jobs. You are all a disgrace to all of us that have had to go to hell [and] back to defend this country."

Gregg Snaza, who identified himself as an active duty Navy command master chief, wrote: "This seems to be worthy of a Courts Martial. This is a national disgrace. I hope the National Guard leadership has the moral courage to do the right thing and send a crystal clear message that this type of disrespect is intolerable. None of the soldiers in the photo should be allowed to continue their service. This ranks in the top 10 most disgusting things I've seen in the past 31 years of active service. Makes me sick."

A second posted Instagram photo shows the same woman, apparently in a vehicle, a folded flag in the background, with the caption: "It's so damn cold out. Why have a funeral outside? Somebody's getting a jacked up flag," according to Fox News.

A statement issued by the Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs, identified the social media site where the photo was uploaded as belonging to Spc. Terry Harrison, a member of the Madison, Wis.-based 1st Battalion, 147th Aviation Regiment. It said the group photo was taken at the Professional Education Center, a National Guard training facility in North Little Rock, Ark.

Harrison has been indefinitely suspended from the funeral honors detail pending further investigation, according to the statement.

Maj. Paul Rickert, the Wisconsin National Guard's spokesman, posted a statement on Facebook which said: "All Soldiers and Airmen are expected to live by the military's core values at all times — both on and off duty.

"Honoring our nation's fallen heroes and fellow veterans is one of our most sacred duties, and it's not one that we take lightly as an organization. Our fellow veterans and fallen service members deserve our highest respect. The photos and comments are very concerning and do not align with the military's core values."

Maj. Gen. Donald Dunbar, the Wisconsin adjutant general, said, "I was appalled by the offensive photos and comments that appeared on this Soldier's social media site regarding her duties as a funeral honor guard member."

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