The Army is reprimanding a reservist who appeared onstage in uniform at Rep. Ron Paul’s (R-Texas) January caucus-night rally in Iowa.
The soldier, 28-year-old Spc. Jesse Thorsen, is a 10-year veteran who has served two tours in Afghanistan.
At the nationally-televised Iowa caucus-night rally, Paul invited Thorsen to make remarks onstage. Thorsen, who was in uniform, said that meeting Paul was like meeting “a rock star” and told the crowd, “We are going to make sure this man is the next president of the United States.”
An Army spokesman later said that Thorsen’s action was “not in keeping with the spirit or the letter” of a Defense Department directive that calls on active duty soldiers to “avoid inferences that their political activities imply or appear to imply official sponsorship, approval, or endorsement.”
U.S. Army Reserve spokeswoman Angela Wallace said that Thorsen had been issued a letter of reprimand. Thorsen declined to comment on the letter to the Associated Press.
The reprimand is not as harsh a punishment as could have been handed down to Thorsen; among the potential penalties for violating the directive were demotion and dismissal from the service, Stars and Stripes reported earlier this year.
Staff writer Jason Ukman contributed to this report.