Puppets have their place. The horrible puppet show during pajama hour at the local library? Sure, no problem. Charlie McCarthy? Hilarious. Debbie Wasserman Schultz? Hey, at least she wasn’t Donna Brazile.
However, I think we can all agree on one thing: Puppets probably don’t belong in military re-enlistment ceremonies. In fact, I can’t think of anybody who would possibly bring a puppet along with them for one, let alone use it to speak.
Well, anyone, that is, except Master Sgt. Robin Brown.
According to the Air Force Times, Sgt. Brown decided to wear a dinosaur hand puppet to take the solemn military oath to her country upon her re-enlistment in the Tennessee Air National Guard. The video of her oath went viral, which was the beginning of the problems for Sgt. Brown and the colonel who administered it to her.
I guess Kukla, Fran and Ollie were otherwise indisposed.
There was plenty of blowback online, and not just because Sgt. Brown didn’t even attempt ventriloquism for the dinosaur puppet.
Apparently, making a mockery out of a sacred oath that men and women have taken before going into combat and dying for this country somehow raises people’s hackles, for whatever reason. It didn’t take long before punishment was meted out by the higher-ups.
Sgt. Brown is the senior non-commissioned officer facing the most serious problems. In addition to losing her full-time position with the Tennessee Joint Public Affairs Office, she’s also facing administrative action.
Meanwhile, the colonel who decided to let these shenanigans happen in the first place is no longer with the service. He was demoted and then immediately retired by the military.
Another SNCO who filmed the incident received a reprimand and was removed from his post as first sergeant but will continue to serve in the Air National Guard.
In a statement, the adjutant general of the Tennessee Air National Guard, Army Major General Terry Haston, expressed his disgust at the incident.
“I am absolutely embarrassed that a senior officer and a senior NCO took such liberties with a time-honored military tradition,” Halston wrote in a Facebook post Wednesday.
“The Tennessee National Guard holds the Oath of Enlistment in the highest esteem because that oath signifies every service member’s commitment to defend our state, nation and the freedoms we all enjoy. 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,” he added.
“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. The selfless dedication to our State, Nation that these men and women exhibit on a daily basis is without question.”
The moral of the story is this: If you’re an adult who isn’t on MDMA, especially if you’re a military officer, you shouldn’t be playing with dinosaur puppets. You also shouldn’t be bringing them to the ceremony where you swear an oath to defend your country.
I’m sure this was intended as a hee-larious moment of levity and I’m also sure these individuals have previously served their country with distinction. With that being said, what happened last week was a travesty, and these individuals needed to be punished accordingly — as they were.
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