Colonel forced to retire, others punished after dinosaur puppet reenlistment ceremony goes viral

Matt Saintsing
April 18, 2018 - 4:35 pm

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The Tennessee Air National Guard Colonel that presided over a re-enlistment ceremony that broke the internet over a dinosaur puppet has been demoted and forced to retire. Two other airmen—the re-enlistee and person filming the ceremony—were also punished.

In a Facebook post Wednesday, the adjutant general for the Tennesee National Guard Army Maj. Gen. Terry Haston, announced that Master Sgt. Robin Brown, the NCO whose reenlistment sparked the controversy, has been removed from her full-time duties with the Tennessee Joint Public Affairs Office, and will face other administrative actions.

Another unidentified NCO, the one who recorded the event, has been removed from his position as first sergeant and has been formally reprimanded. Unlike the airmen who looked to re-enlist, that individual will stay in the Tennessee Air Guard. 

“I am absolutely embarrassed that a senior officer and a senior NCO took such liberties with a time-honored military tradition,” wrote Haston. “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."

A spokesperson for the joint public affairs office of the Tennessee National Guard said the reenlistment ceremony was official, but screenshots posted online claim it was not. 

The actions, Haston continued, "do not represent our nation’s service members nor the airmen and soldiers of Tennessee.” 

In a video posted to Facebook Saturday, Brown can be seen wearing a dinosaur puppet on her right hand against a backdrop of an American and Tennessee flag. She had the puppet mouth the words of her re-enlistment ceremony, Friday. By the next day, the video had gone viral drawing disparagement from those who view the ceremony as disrespectful. The video has over 2 million views. 

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The Colonel in the video who allowed Brown to wear the puppet has been widely criticized for not raising his right hand to administer the oath and read it from a piece of paper. He's been demoted to Lt. Col. and forced to retire. 

Chief Master Sgt. Ronald Anderson, the command chief master sergeant of the Air National Guard posted on his offical Facebook page Tuesday that “Many of you have sent me FB messages or commented within FB threads, clearly that same video has struck a nerve within our community ― rightfully so,” Anderson said. “This act in no way represents who we are as a force.”