Tag Archives: Military

Air Force Celebrates Officers Career without Mentioning Race

In a rare event for an Air Force press release, an article celebrated the long and storied career of Col Patrick “Phantom” Campbell, without once mentioning the color of his skin.

Campbell had an interesting career – rejected by the US Air Force Academy initially, he went to the Prep school and then to USAFA. He washed out of pilot training, but then excelled at Navigator training. He was an F-4 EWO in the early 1980s; after a break in service, he eventually returned and would become the Ops Group Commander and finally the 22nd Air Force Director of Operations at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Georgia. He now retires and plans to continue to live a full life, as well as spend more time with Kimberly, his wife of 38 years.

In an era in which status and physical traits seem Read more

US Military Publishes Major Revision to Religious Liberty Rules

The US military has just updated its regulations with the intent of improving the protection of military religious freedom.

Department of Defense Instruction (DoDI) 1300.17 was previously known as “Accommodation of Religious Practices Within the Military Services,” but is now re-titled simply “Religious Liberty in the Military Services” (PDF). The new DoDI title sets the tone for a policy that presupposes religious liberty, rather than treats it as an outlier that may sometimes be “accommodated.”

That change in tone mimics the tone change in religious liberty policies in the Air Force – which may not be a coincidence. The new DoDI was approved by Undersecretary of Defense Matthew Donovan – a former Air Force fighter pilot who has been both an Undersecretary of the Air Force and even the Acting Secretary of the Air Force in the past few years, during which the tenor (if not always the actions) of Air Force policy leaned toward religious freedom.

It seems President Trump’s selection of Undersecretary Donovan may have set the stage for improving religious liberty in the US military.

As to the DoDI itself, it notably Read more

Mikey Weinstein Admits to Hiring Himself, and Gets a Pay Raise

There’s nothing “charitable” about Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s “charity” — the awkwardly named Military Religious Freedom Foundation. But, since it is categorized as 501(c)3, Weinstein must publicly file his organization’s tax form each year — though he manages to be almost two years behind. Weinstein has finally released the report for 2018 indicating his MRFF brought in about $720,000 that year, which is about the same as the previous year.

As in prior years, Weinstein’s largest expense was his own paycheck, though this year was a bit unique. Up front, he paid himself $296,393, but he also reported $72,000 in “other Read more

Reversed: US Navy Continues Catholic Chaplain Contracts

Various outlets have reported the US Navy reversed the “controversial” decision (highlighted here yesterday) to cancel contracts for civilian Catholic chaplains, which was reportedly done either as a cost-savings or because it didn’t serve the proper demographic, depending on who you asked.

The religious services will continue for at least the next year, Rear Adm. Bette Bolivar, commander Navy Region Southwest, said in a statement to Fox News on Tuesday.

“Contrary to previous discussions, this year we will continue contracted religious ministry programs and services similar to what we’ve had in place previously,” Bolivar said. “We will also continue to assess how best to meet the needs of our sailors and their families throughout the region.”

The decision to axe the civilian chaplain contracts was criticized by Sen Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Archbishop Timothy Broglio, who leads the Archdiocese that encompasses the military service.

The Navy’s actions had even caught the attention of their Commander-in-Chief, with President Trump tweeting about the reversal: Read more

Mikey Weinstein Gets Marine Corps to Cancel Speaker Because of Christianity

Michael “Mikey” Weinstein recently celebrated the fact the US Marine Corps acceded to his demands in only “64 minutes” and canceled the scheduled presentation of Jay Lorenzen, a retired US Air Force Lieutenant Colonel. The presentation was to be on the Gettysburg battlefield. Weinstein’s criticism of Lorenzen was stark, as described by his research assistant Chris Rodda:

Last night when an email came in to MRFF from a Marine Reserve JAG, reporting that 120 Marine Reserve JAGs were to be required to virtually attend a “battle-study” training of Gettysburg tomorrow led by a Jay Lorenzen, the name was very familiar to us at MRFF as a staff member of none other than Campus Crusade for Christ.

One look at the website for Lorenzen’s “High Ground at Gettysburg” training confirmed that the JAG’s concerns that this was to be a Christian proselytizing event were well founded.

Or, as Weinstein put it (in his characteristic poor grammar and ellipses flair): Read more

Breaking: US Military Bans Gay Pride Flag on Installations

US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper issued a memorandum that, according to one news outlet, “effectively” banned the Confederate flag — without saying so:

The new guidance governs the display and depiction of flags on military installations, and while the policy does not specifically mention the Confederate battle flag, it is not listed among the flags permitted to be displayed…

“The flags we fly must accord with the military imperatives of good order and discipline, treating all our people with dignity and respect, and rejecting divisive symbols,” Esper added.

Critics of the flag are celebrating — but don’t seem to realize the guidance bans the LGBT or “gay pride” flag, as well. Members of the US military have flown the rainbow/gay pride flag in Afghanistan and around the world on US military installations, and US troops have even stood in formation under it.

Though potentially unintentional, if you’re going to have a “neutral” policy toward flags (another question altogether), then it should “effectively” ban the gay pride flag. Waving a flag that celebrates a particular Read more

Defense Board on Diversity and Inclusion Flirts with Dangerous Language

Yesterday, Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett chaired the first meeting of the Defense Board on Diversity and Inclusion – a recent creation of Secretary of Defense Mark Esper explicitly in response to the death of George Floyd. In that meeting, Secretary Barrett used some direct – if somewhat unspecific – language [emphasis added]:

Diversity is more than tolerance. Genuine diversity generates acceptance. This Board’s mandate is to move forward with alacrity and positively transform the Defense Department for today’s service members and for generations to come.

Alacrity notwithstanding, her statement begs the question: What does she mean by “acceptance” that is more than tolerance?

For context, consider that Read more

US Navy Relents as Group Defends Military Religious Freedom

Though it occurred somewhat under the radar these past two weeks, new US military policies clashed with religious freedom, resulting in outside groups coming to the aid of US troops and their liberties.

Late in June, the US Navy Fleet Forces Command, which administratively oversees Naval forces based within the continental United States, issued “additional Force Health Protection guidance” regarding COVID-19 mitigation procedures. In theory, Fleet Forces Command had already declared “HPCON C minus” in late March, and the late June message was a “reiteration” or reminder of that status. However, the latest release was notable (making the local news in many places) and very specifically clarified the somewhat vague HPCON C- with detailed mandatory procedures and prohibitions – including a specific statement on religious services – even those off military installations.

As printed in the Navy message (PDF):

5.A.7.B.4. (U) SERVICE MEMBERS ARE PROHIBITED FROM VISITING, PATRONIZING, OR ENGAGING IN THE FOLLOWING OFF-INSTALLATION SPECIFIC FACILITIES, SERVICES, OR ACTIVITIES…

5.A.7.B.4.F. (U) DINE-IN RESTAURANTS (TAKE-OUT AUTHORIZED), BARS, NIGHT CLUBS, CASINOS, CONFERENCES, SPORTING EVENTS, CONCERTS, PUBLIC CELEBRATIONS, PARADES, PUBLIC BEACHES, AMUSEMENT PARKS OR OTHER EVENTS DESIGNED TO PROMOTE LARGE GATHERINGS, TO INCLUDE INDOOR RELIGIOUS SERVICES.

While seemingly Read more

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