Retired Airman Threatens Lawsuit over Assault, Constitutional Violations

oscarRetired US Air Force Senior Master Sergeant Oscar Rodriguez was physically ejected from a fellow Airman’s retirement ceremony — to which he had been invited — when he began a flag-folding speech in which it was known he would invoke the name of God (as previously discussed).

With the assistance of the First Liberty Institute, SMSgt Rodriguez is now threatening legal action if the Air Force doesn’t respond. In the letter (PDF) written by First Liberty attorney Mike Berry, Rodriguez seeks four things: 

(1) A written admission of wrongdoing and unlawful actions by the responsible member(s);
(2) A written apology to Mr. Rodriguez;
(3) A written assurance that, henceforth, no member of the 349th Air Mobility Wing will commit assault or battery against Mr. Rodriguez because he is attempting to engage in constitutionally protected conduct;
(4) Punitive action against those determined to be responsible for violating Mr. Rodriguez’s constitutional rights.

There is little doubt the video of three Senior NCOs dragging Rodriguez from the ceremony has placed the Air Force in a negative light, as the news of Rodriguez’s legal threat has exploded across a wide variety of media outlets. But the “discredit,” if that word can be used, was not brought on the Air Force by Rodriguez.

As discussed earlier and in First Liberty’s letter, it certainly appears three Airmen assaulted a retired SNCO, and apparently did so because they improperly believed such assault was justified because he was going to say “God” in a non-profane way. Those three Airmen, and the leaders who gave them the belief they had both the authority and need to take such action, may have acted to the general prejudice of good order and discipline.

The question becomes how the Air Force will choose to handle damage control. At this point, they may punt as they try to figure out a course of action, or they may issue a vaguely worded response noting the Air Force “protects the religious liberties” of its Airmen, both active and retired, and can’t discuss personnel matters due to privacy restrictions. Given the current sociopolitical environment, it won’t likely be what Rodriguez wants — which will make his response more interesting.

Some of what Rodriguez demands seems personal — but ultimately it is much greater, something First Liberty likely recognizes.

What does it say, after all, if the US military permits physical violence against its own (or retired) members because of their plan to utter a statement — and a very benign statement, at that — mentioning God?

Free speech and religious liberty — clear constitutional issues — are clearly at stake.

That begs the question, then: Where is the self-declared leading religious liberty advocate for the US military?

Michael “Mikey” Weinstein declared the assault on the Airman was handled “correctly,” and that the retiree — MSgt Charles Roberson — should have been court-martialed.

That is Mikey Weinstein’s (twisted) idea of liberty. Any questions?

Read more at, Breitbart, FoxNews, Stars and Stripes, Religion News Service, the Washington Times, and John Q. Public.


One comment

  • I, Retired Air Force TSgt Susan Martinez, am posting the transcript of this Flag Folding Speech delivered by Air Force Retired SMSgt Oscar Rodriguez to show my earnest support for Oscar and this ceremony he performs so beautifully. I am also telling the world of my disgust in the Air Force 749th AMXS Commanding Officer, LTCol Michael Sovitsky and the 4 NCO’s, CMSgt Antonio Cordes, CMSgt Denis Tharpe, SMSgt Joe Bruno and TSgt Al Hall, all of the 749th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Travis AFB. These Air Force members dishonored the military community and erroneously violated Oscar Rodriguez’s Constitutional and First Amendments Rights when they forcibly prevented Oscar from delivering this flag speech at MSgt Charles Roberson’s retirement ceremony on April 3, 2016. Bring shame on these men for acting this way towards one of our own veterans for displaying his America Pride.***God Bless Our Flag. God Bless Our Troops. God Bless America.***

    Transcript of Flag-Folding Speech as Delivered by Oscar Rodriguez

    Our flag is known as the stars and stripes. The union consists of white stars on a blue field, symbolic of a new constellation. Each star represents one individual state and together they stand united indivisible. The stripes represent the original 13 colonies that declared their independence from Great Britain in 1776. The one official, red, is symbolic for the blood of those who have given their lives to defend and protect our great nation from all of her enemies, both foreign and domestic. White represents purity, innocence, and hope. Blue is for vigilance, perseverance, and justice.
    But in our hearts our flag stands for many things, evident in the Declaration of Independence where all men are created equal with rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; the right of the people to alter or abolish any form of government that becomes destructive.
    Our flag stands for the Constitution of the United States of America. Freedom of religion, freedom of the press, freedom of speech. It provides for security to all of her citizens, it also provides for a fair and swift trial. It abolished slavery and it gives each and every individual of age the right to participate in our voting process—to have a say in his or her’s future.
    Our flag is a beacon, recognized around the world to represent freedom during times of peace, or during times of war. This is what we live for. This is what we will fight for, and if necessary to touch the hand of God in her defense, the charge that we accept as Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines is a noble one for there is no heart stronger than that of a volunteer. Let us pray that God will reflect with admiration the willingness of one nation in her attempt to rid the world of tyranny, oppression, and misery. It is this one nation under God that we call, with honor, the United States of America.
    God Bless our flag. God bless our troops. God bless America.