A Wisconsin Army National Guard member who posted “controversial and distasteful photos” on Instagram about her job serving at military funerals has been suspended, the agency said Tuesday.
Spc. Terry Harrison posted a selfie with the caption, “It’s so damn cold out....WHY have a funeral outside!? Somebody’s getting a jacked up flag,” Guard spokesman Maj. Paul Rickert confirmed to the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday.
In another photo, Harrison and several other military-dressed guard trainees from around the country are posing “disrespectfully” in front of an empty, flag-draped casket, Rickert said in a statement. The caption in that photo reads, “We put the FUN in funeral -- your fearless honor guard from various states ... #honorguard #pec #dorks,” according to screenshots.
“A military funeral is the final show of respect for our veterans and their families, and we take that solemn duty very seriously,” Rickert said. “The very name ‘military funeral honors’ underscores the importance we ascribe -- both as the military and society at large -- to such solemn occasions. These photos and comments do not appear to align with those values.”
Harrison, a member of the Madison, Wis.-based 1st Battalion, 147th Aviation Regiment, is suspended from the funeral honors team pending an investigation that began Tuesday. Because of threats she’s received through social media, she’s also receiving a security detail. She could not be reached for comment.
Rickert said the National Guard Bureau has been made aware of the group photo, and it will be up to the federal office to work with other states to determine whether the 13 others pictured should be investigated. The photo was taken at an Arkansas training center.
“We expect all of our soldiers and airmen to live by a core set of values, in word and deed,” Maj. Gen. Donald P. Dunbar, the Wisconsin adjutant general, said in a statement. “I was appalled by the offensive photos and comments that appeared on this soldier’s social media site.”
The photos, which came to the National Guard’s attention late Monday, have sparked hundreds of comments of disgust on its official Facebook page.
“I hope you all noticed that jacked up flag stuffed in the rear window. She is disgusting,” Suzie Arnaud wrote on Facebook, referring to the photo with the weather comment.
“Having worked a few details myself, there is nothing fun or funny about it. Professionalism, these Guardsman need to find an oz. of it,” Michael Eastman wrote.