Tennessee Air National Guard Dinosaur Puppet Video: What Were They Thinking?

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The Tennessee Air National Guard has issued severe punishments for three members who used a puppet dinosaur to perform a re-enlistment ceremony. Facebook

The U.S. Air Force is sending a clear message that making a mockery of "time-honored" military traditions will not be tolerated, by issuing severe punishments for three members of the Tennessee Air National Guard who used a puppet dinosaur to perform a re-enlistment ceremony in a video that has since gone viral. 

It is still unclear why Master Sgt. Robin Brown, a public affairs officer with the Tennessee Air National Guard, decided to use the dinosaur puppet to recite her oath, or why the colonel who led the ceremony allowed it. It is also unclear whether they ever intended for video of the ceremony to be seen by anyone other than themselves.

However, once it was shared online, reaching more than 2.5 million views as of early Thursday morning, it sparked outrage across social media, prompting officials to take action.

Maj Gen. Terry M. Haston, the adjutant general for the Tennessee Guard said in a statement that all three people involved in the making of the video had been removed from their posts.

Haston said Brown has since been removed from her full-time job with the Tennessee Joint Public Affairs Office and will face other administrative actions. 

The Tennessee Air National Guard colonel who led the ceremony has also been demoted and retired, while an unidentified SNCO who videotaped the event has been removed from his job as unit first sergeant and has been reprimanded, but will get to stay in the Guard. 

Brown was named in the post because she had identified herself in the videotaped ceremony, which has been viewed more than 2.5 million times. 

Haston said he was "absolutely embarrassed that a senior officer and a senior NCO took such liberties with a time-honored military tradition."

"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," he said. 

"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."

He added that "the actions of these three individuals in no way represent the professionalism, honor, and courage of the 14,000 Soldiers and Airman in the Tennessee National Guard."

 Air National Guard Director L. Scott Rice said in a statement that he understood public "outrage and frustration" over the footage and said he was "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," Rice said. 

"We as military members answer to a calling of service and represent the Profession of Arms. This action goes against our very foundation," he said, adding: "This single act does not reflect the selfless dedication and professionalism shown everyday by the outstanding Airmen of our Air National Guard in their service to our great nation."