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Tennessee Air National Guard members disciplined for using dinosaur hand puppet during oath

The use of a dinosaur hand puppet in a re-enlistment ceremony led to the discipline of three members of the Tennessee National Air Guard. Military officials were not amused after seeing a video of the ceremony on Facebook. (Image source: YouTube screenshot)

Military officials disciplined three members of the Tennessee Air National Guard on Wednesday after a video surfaced of a re-enlistment ceremony in which an officer used a dinosaur hand puppet to recite her oath.

Master Sgt. Robin Brown, a public affairs officer with the Tennessee Air National Guard, apparently used the puppet as a joke. But military officials were not amused after seeing a video of the ceremony on Facebook.

Brown lost her job and two airmen were disciplined for participating in the “disrespectful” display, according to published reports.

In the video, Brown repeated the oath while using the puppet to mouth her words. The colonel administering the oath, who was not identified, appeared to be trying to not laugh.

How were they disciplined?

Army Maj. Gen. Terry Haston, the adjutant general for the Tennessee National Guard, wrote on Facebook:

The Colonel (O-6) administering the oath was immediately retired at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel (O-5).

The Senior NCO taking the oath has been removed from her full-time position with the Tennessee Joint Public Affairs Office and other administrative actions are underway.

The Senior NCO who recorded the event has been removed from his position as a unit First Sergeant and has received an official reprimand, but will be retained in the Tennessee Air National Guard.

"I am absolutely embarrassed that a senior officer and a senior NCO took such liberties with a time-honored military tradition," Haston said. "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. Not taking this oath solemnly and with the utmost respect is firmly against the traditions and sanctity of our military family and will not be tolerated.

“The Tennessee National Guard leadership as a whole is appalled by the actions of these individuals which do not represent our nation’s service members nor the Airmen and Soldiers of Tennessee,” Haston said.

Some online conversations indicated the ceremony was not an official reenlistment, but a video for Brown’s children, the Washington Post reported.

Was there an explanation for why they did this?

William Jones, a spokesman for the Joint Base Andrews Public Affairs Office, told the Washington Post the ceremony was in fact official. He also said he did not know why Brown chose to use the puppet.

The video has been viewed more than 2.6 million times on Facebook.

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