Secretary of Defense and former US Marine Corps General James Mattis has been characterized recently as taking efforts to resist or otherwise slow-roll President Trump and his agenda. In one case, he was caught on camera telling US troops they were a model of unity for the country:
“You’re a great example for our country right now that’s got some problems – you know it and I know it…It’s got problems that we don’t have in the military, and you just hold the line my fine young soldiers, sailors, airmen [and] Marines. Just hold the line until our country gets back to understanding and respecting each other and showing it.”
The media portrayed that as a rebuke of President Trump. More recently, multiple media outlets and organizations have said Secretary Mattis “froze” President Trump’s planned ban on transgenders, an apparent rebuke of his boss. But that isn’t what happened at all.
The US Air Force Band continued its annual tradition of a “flash mob” performance of holiday songs. This year was less “flash” and more “mob,” given the use of prepositioned stages, but, in a refreshing surprise, the “holiday” songs clearly referred to the “holy” day:
This year’s event featured two Christmas carols: “Patapan,” which the vocalists sang in French and English, and “Ding Dong Merrily on High,” which is based on a French dance tune originally by Jehan Tabourot, with the text being written by English composer George Ratcliffe Woodward.
From the two songs, which are clearly Christmas carols: Read more
It has become somewhat of an amusing annual tradition to observe government and military officials attempt to say something about December 25th and its surrounding days without offending anyone. Of course, as the Happy Holidays/Merry Christmas wars have proven, not matter what they say, someone will be offended. The only question is who.
It seems the US Air Force is leading off the fight this year with Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James, Chief of Staff Gen David Goldfein, and outgoing Chief Master Sgt of the Air Force James Cody sending non-specific non-holiday salutations for the months of November and December [emphasis added]: Read more
The Air Force Inspector General released its report (PDF here) on the incident involving retired USAF SMSgt Oscar Rodriguez in April. Rodriguez was invited to the retirement of fellow SNCO Chuck Roberson to give a narration during the flag-folding. When he rose to do so, several uniformed SNCOs physically through Rodriguez out of the building.
The IG was apparently tasked by none other than the Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James (she responding to a demand by Senator John McCain) to conduct the investigation — though they were apparently only tasked to investigate the “facts and circumstances”, not any specific allegation:
The 23 Jun 16 SAF/IG tasking order specifically directs the Investigation Office to, “…conduct an inquiry into the facts and circumstances surrounding the event; the governing laws, regulations, and policies and how they were applied.”
The IG ultimately concluded the decision to eject Rodriguez from the ceremony was Read more
Michael “Mikey” Weinstein celebrated yesterday after his complaint resulted in a Peterson Air Force Base officer having a Bible removed from his desk. As cited by Fox News:
“[The Bible] is very obviously a statement of Christian preference, Christian primacy,” MRFF founder Mikey Weinstein told me. “Had that been the Book of Satan or the Koran there would be blood in the freaking streets.”
He accused Maj. Steve Lewis, a supervisor at the Reserve National Security Space Institute, of “harboring and encouraging a truly abhorrent example of First Amendment civil rights violations.”
To be fair, Mikey Weinstein has been after Bibles-on-desks for a long time. It’s just that for years the Air Force has been telling him to take a hike:
Sen. David Vitter, R-La., asked James if it’s acceptable for an airman to have a Bible on his desk…
James told Vitter: “Having a Bible on your desk, that doesn’t seem like it should be banned.”
Air Force spokeswoman LtCol Laura Tingley: “I can tell you that military members are allowed to have religious materials on their desks.”
(The Air Force issued some of these statements and Read more
That [fighter pilot] shortfall is expected to grow from 500 to more than 700 pilots by the end of this fiscal year, a 21-percent gap between what we have and what we need to meet the requirements of our commanders around the world.
In 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.
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus oversees the entire US Navy. He recently lauded the Department of Defense’s diversity — by seeming to denigrate a “diverse” view held by many US Sailors and their fellow troops.
During the Pentagon’s celebration of “LGBT Pride Month,” Secretary Mabus gave a speech (video) lauding the day. After describing the now-repealed DADT as “morally wrong,” Secretary Mabus seemed to equate those who opposed DADT repeal — that is, a large portion of religious American citizens and US troops — with racists Read more