The senior noncommissioned officer who videotaped the oath recital has been removed from his job as unit first sergeant but will remain in the Guard, Haston said in a statement Wednesday on Facebook.
“I am absolutely embarrassed that a senior officer and a senior NCO took such liberties with a time-honored military tradition,” Haston wrote. “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 actions of these three individuals in no way represent the professionalism, honor, and courage of the 14,000 Soldiers and [Airmen] in the Tennessee National Guard,” he added.
Claims have circulated online that the ceremony was not an official reenlistment and that the video was made for Brown’s children to watch. But William Jones, a spokesman for the joint public affairs office for the Tennessee National Guard, told The Post that it was an official ceremony. He said he did not know why Brown used the puppet.
“This was not typical [behavior] for a re-enlistment ceremony by any means,” Jones said. “And children were not present when the ceremony took place.”
“It was very unusual,” he added.
The Post was unable to reach Brown on Wednesday.
Many on social media have attacked the colonel not only for allowing the ceremony to proceed with the puppet, but for not raising his right hand, as well as not having the oath memorized.
In a Facebook statement Monday, the Air National Guard’s national director, Lt. Gen. Scott Rice, criticized the airmen’s behavior.
“I’m equally shocked and dismayed by this event that mocks such a cherished and honorable occasion. The oath of office or enlistment not only signifies our commitment to our nation, but pays respect to our fellow service members and to those who came before us,” he wrote.
He added: “This action goes against our very foundation.”