Update: Air Force Launches Investigation into Booted Airman

oscarIn response to demands made by the First Liberty Institute regarding military religious freedom, Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James has reportedly instructed the Air Force Inspector General to review the incidents surrounding the forcible ejection of retired USAF SMSgt Oscar Rodriguez from a retirement ceremony.

In a statement that has been repeated across a variety of media outlets, the Air Force has also explicitly said retirement ceremonies are personal events at which retirees may have flag-folding scripts at their discretion [emphasis added]:

Air Force personnel may use a flag folding ceremony script that is religious for retirement ceremonies.  Since retirement ceremonies are personal in nature, the script preference for a flag folding ceremony is at the discretion of the individual being honored and represents the member’s views, not those of the Air Force.

The Air Force places the highest value of the rights of its personnel in matters of religion and facilitates the free exercise of religion by its members.

If that is the official position, it is unclear why no official statement has been made validating the demands of SMSgt Rodriguez, who has asked for an apology and punitive action against those who accosted him for doing what the Air Force has now said is permissible.

As noted now at PJmedia, Allen West, Stars and Stripes, The Daily Signal, and the Air Force Times.


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.