Airmen in 'Dino Puppet' Re-Enlistment Video Fired, Reprimanded

A screenshot from a video of an Air National Guard master sergeant using a dinosaur hand puppet while reciting the oath of re-enlistment. (Screenshot from Facebook)
A screenshot from a video of an Air National Guard master sergeant using a dinosaur hand puppet while reciting the oath of re-enlistment. (Screenshot from Facebook)

The Air Force is sending a clear message: Re-enlisting with a dinosaur puppet on your right hand isn't funny.

Three Tennessee Air National Guard individuals involved in a viral dinosaur puppet re-enlistment video have been removed from their posts -- one immediately retired at a lower rank -- and reprimanded for undermining the gravity of the oath of enlistment, officials said Wednesday.

The Air Force has removed the senior noncommissioned officer at the center of the controversy from her position in the Tennessee Guard's joint public affairs office and is weighing further administrative action, according to a statement Wednesday from Maj Gen. Terry M. Haston, the adjutant general for the Tennessee Guard.

The announcement was made on the Tennessee Air National Guard's official Facebook page.

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The colonel shown administering the oath has been "immediately retired at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel (O-5)," Haston said in the post.

Meanwhile, the senior NCO who recorded the re-enlistment ceremony on video has been removed from his position as a unit first sergeant and has received an official reprimand. He will remain with the Guard, the post said.

The Air National Guard earlier this week opened up an investigation after a video showing the female NCO, later identified as Master Sgt. Robin Brown, a public affairs officer, taking the oath of enlistment with a dinosaur puppet on her right hand.

The video was posted Saturday to the popular Facebook group Air Force amn/nco/snco, which is unaffiliated with the service.

The video sparked outrage from retirees, guardsmen and active-duty airmen, who believed the video disrespected the ceremony.

Among the critics was Air National Guard director Lt. Gen Scott Rice.

"I understand your outrage and frustration," Rice said in his own Facebook post on Monday. "Let me say, I'm equally shocked and dismayed by this event that mocks such a cherished and honorable occasion. The oath of office or enlistment not only signifies our commitment to our nation, but pays respect to our fellow service members and to those who came before us."

Haston on Wednesday added, "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.

"The Tennessee National Guard leadership as a whole is appalled by the actions of these individuals which do not represent our nation's service members nor the Airmen and Soldiers of Tennessee," Haston continued. "This act does not define our organization nor the men, women, and families that sacrifice so much every day for our state and nation."

According to the Air Force amn/nco/snco page, some individuals -- who identified themselves to be with the Tennessee Military Department -- said the videotaped ceremony was not an official reenlistment. Instead, they said, Brown was just trying to create a memory for her children.

Critics also scrutinized the colonel in the video, who had to read off of a piece of paper instead of having the oath memorized.

Editor's Note: This story has been updated to correct the actions taken regarding the colonel who administered the oath. He retired at a lower rank due to time in grade.

-- Oriana Pawlyk can be reached at oriana.pawlyk@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @oriana0214.

 

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