The Pentagon is putting the freeze on service members filming themselves in uniform taking the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that has swept across social media and raised millions to research Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (A.L.S.), also known as Lou Gherig's disease.
Service members have joined the wave of people who have dumped a bucket of ice water on their heads following challenges from friends or colleagues to complete the stunt or donate to ALS research. Celebrities and politicians have also gotten in on the action to include former President George W. Bush, Justin Timberlake and Peyton Manning.
The Pentagon's Office of General Counsel Standards of Conduct Office did not state that service members could not participate, but ordered troops and DoD civilians not to perform the challenge in uniform.
"A.L.S. Association is a national non-profit organization. As such, participating in this event is subject to concerns about implied endorsement," the Army issued in a statement from its Office of General Counsel (OGC) Standards of Conduct Office.
The A.L.S. Association has raised more than $41 million from July 29 to Aug. 21 after the challenge went viral, according to a New York Times report on Thursday. In all of 2013, the association raised $19 million.
A.L.S. is a disease that attacks the body's central nervous system and degrades nerve cells leading to paralysis. Life expectancy for victims of the disease is two to five years. The challenge has raised an unprecedented level of awareness on the disease as the videos showing the challenges have dominated Facebook news feeds.
Military leaders have sent out videos of them taking part in the challenge. The leadership of the U.S. Naval Academy accepted the challenge filming the superintendent and commandant being doused with ice water. Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen, superintendent at West Point, also appeared in a video with staff accepting the challenge.
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