Tennessee Air National Guard reprimanded for viral puppet oath

Tennessee Air National Guard reprimanded for viral puppet oath
Photo: Clker Free Vector Images, Pixabay

Three soldiers in the Tennessee Air National Guard have been dismissed from their postings after a video went viral showing them engaged in a mockery oath taking with a dinosaur hand puppet. The video shows a NCO (non-commissioned officer) taking a “time honoured” military oath while manipulating a dinosaur puppet in her right hand.

The video enraged several outspoken Facebook users who quickly joined the comments section to express their disappointment with the video. Some expressed that they did not mind soldiers making jokes but that joking with this kind of oath is disrespectful to all other soldiers who have taken it.

Others said that the oath was “not a joking matter” and that they could not believe that senior officers thought this was acceptable. Many others said that they made a mistake by recording and sharing the video and that they should not have assumed people would take it lightly.

The Tennessee National Guard put out a statement following the incident saying that the three individuals involved would face repercussions. The Colonel that administered the oath was instantly retired and the senior NCO who took the oath was released from her position in the public affairs office.

The NCO who recorded the video was relieved of his position as First Sergeant and was given an official reprimand. However, he will still remain as a part of the Tennessee Air National Guard.

In a statement, Major General Terry M Haston said that anyone not taking the oath seriously would face repercussions. He said he was “absolutely embarrassed” by the actions of the men and women in the video.

He went on to say that failing to take the oath “solemnly and with the utmost respect” was “firmly against” the “sanctity of our military family”. He revealed the National Guard’s leadership was “appalled” by the incident and reinforced that the individuals did not represent other soldiers across the nation.

Lieutenant General L Scott Rice, the Air National Guard Director, said that he has been “equally shocked” that the Oath of Enlistment had been mocked in this way. He reiterated that this was a rare occurrence and did not reflect on the other service men and women in his unit.

Others on social media expressed they believed the punishment to be reactionary and overblown. For some this is a case of military culture being a little bit too sensitive in the face of some light-hearted humour.