Reenlistment Gone Awry

By this time, you’ll have read this, you will have probably heard of the three servicemen in the Tennessee Air National Guard whose involvement in a reenlistment ceremony cost them their careers. The reenlistment in question consisted of an Air National Guard’s Oath of Reenlistment recited with a dinosaur puppet. But, were the consequences of this silly event warranted? It’s true that the Oath of Reenlistment is considered a serious tradition by many who have sworn themselves into service. Yet, just how rigorously must we adhere to tradition before we realize, that a bit of lighthearted fun doesn’t kill anyone.

The three individuals in question were Master Sgt. Robin Brown, an unnamed Senior Non-Commissioned Officer who was videotaping the event, and an unnamed O-6 whose name can almost be made out to be Colonel Blaser (?). Together these individuals decided to take it upon themselves make a lighthearted and silly approach at a reenlistment ceremony. Unfortunately, not everyone who witnessed the video was just as content as the participating members.

The video has been shared endlessly through social media with estimates placing it at over 200,000 views. But, once it caught the eye of the Tennessee Air National Guard superiors all hell broke loose. According to a statement made by Major General Haston a member of the guard himself. In his statement, it is noted that not only was the Colonel stripped of his rank, demoted but that he was force retired as well. Furthermore, the SNCO that filmed the event also received a letter of reprimand and a relief of position as the First Sergeant. Finally, Master Sergeant Brown Robin Brown is awaiting further administrative action as well as being relieved from the post.

Lt. Gen. Scott Rice

All of this happened due to them supposedly undermining the importance and seriousness of an oath of enlistment. According to a statement taken from an interview with Lt. Gen. Scott Rice in the Air Force Times, he is quoted to have said:

“I understand your outrage and frustration,” Rice said. “Let me say, I’m equally shocked and dismayed by this event that mocks such a cherished and honorable occasion. … This action goes against our very foundation.

As a further note, Major General Haston was quoted as saying:

“This act does not define our organization nor the men, women, and families that sacrifice so much every day for our state and nation” and “I am absolutely embarrassed that a senior officer and a senior NCO took such liberties with a time-honored military tradition. Not taking this oath solemnly and with the utmost respect is firmly against the traditions and sanctity of our military family and will not be tolerated.”

Yet, despite all the outrage from retirees, and active-duty and reservist, I’m actually at an impasse. Personally, I’ve seen all sorts of reenlistment pictures online, and experienced quite a few unusual ones myself. I know I’m going to get some flak for this, but I truly didn’t care about how they went about the performance. I’ve read comments regarding the Colonel reading the script, or how he didn’t raise his hand as he read it, and I wouldn’t have noticed anything about it because plenty of officers do that normally. I saw the Master Sergeant read it with a puppet, but apparently doing a reenlistment at gunpoint or at GameStop or even as a Storm Trooper are normal and within the boundaries of what is respectable in the military(?).

It seems to me like this is the first time anyone has done it with a puppet, and people just seem to take offense to it political affiliation be damned. But, why exactly? The punishment exerted on all the personnel involved in this reenlistment did not deserve such draconian punishments, did they? Traditions are great, but we shouldn’t take this type of herd mentality where we adhered to the customs so rigorously that we forget the actual meaning behind it. A person just promised the military more years of their lives to protect this country, and I’m certain that when push comes to shove they will do their part in it.

Snowflake is an insult that gets thrown around a lot this day and age of safe-rooms and gun-control agendas. But, seriously take a look at where you stand on this issue and tell me, are you offended? Is it because you never had a chance to have a fun reenlistment? Did you take your career so seriously that nothing is fun anymore? Traditions change and grow, we can’t keep them stuck in the past. As long as the inherent message is still clear, why are we making such a big deal about this particular ceremony?

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.


Emmanuel "Dash the Bomber" Barbosa

Emmanuel Barbosa, AKA Dash The Bomber, is currently serving in the 7th fleet, and has over 8 years of experience in the military. A writer with a penchant for the humorous and informative, he loves to share his stories with those who would be willing to listen. Having served in deployments that have taken him around the world, Dash has seen and heard about many things that would be hard to believe. A loving father and a faithful husband, he is dedicated to protecting his family and country. For fun he enjoys cosplaying, videogames, and writing for online magazines.

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