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Air Force Vet Alleges Mentioning 'God' Is The Reason For His Assault
Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James has directed the Air Force Inspector General to conduct an independent investigation into an April incident at Travis Air Force Base, California, may incur lawsuit from a former career enlisted airman, an Air Force spokesperson has told Task & Purpose.
Oscar Rodriguez, a 33-year Air Force veteran, is demanding an apology or he will sue his former branch after being forcibly removed from a retirement ceremony on April 3, 2016.
A demand letter sent by lawyers with the First Liberty Institute to two Air Force commanders on behalf of Rodriguez claims that Master Sgt. Charles Roberson asked him to speak during the flag-folding portion of his retirement ceremony from the 749th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, after seeing him give a speech at another retirement ceremony one month earlier.
According to the demand letter, the squadron’s commanding officer, Lt. Col. Michael Sovitsky, was familiar with the speech Rodriquez had given at previous ceremonies and its references to “God” and did not want him attending or participating in Roberson’s ceremony for this specific reason.
In the days leading up to the ceremony, the demand letter claims that Rodriguez and Roberson tried to work with the command to resolve any issues with Rodriguez speaking and even placed signs around the venue warning that the word “God” would be used in the ceremony.
While no statement has been released by the Air Force to confirm that Sovitsky tried to prevent Rodriguez from speaking, a video taking during the ceremony shows Rodriguez standing behind the men folding the flag, with a battle dress uniform-clad service member behind him, trying to usher him away from the stage.
In the video, Rodriguez ignores the soft attempt to return him to his seat and begins his speech, but three more uniformed men stand and forcibly escort him from the stage and out of the auditorium as he continues to speak.
The demand letter claims that either Sovitsky issued an order to assault Rodriguez, or the four men who removed him conspired to do it on their own.
In order to get a clearer picture of the events leading up to the incident, Task & Purpose reached out to the Air Force Public Affairs Office for a comment.
According to Air Force spokesperson Capt. Brooke Brzozowske, “The Air Force greatly values the rights of its personnel in matters of religion and facilitates the free exercise of religion by its members as well as the right to observe no religion at all.”
Several publications, including The Washington Times and Breitbart, have suggested that Rodriquez’ use of the word “God” is the reason that he was escorted out. However, the circumstances surrounding his removal remain largely unclear, and the Air Force has given no indication one way or the other. Other sources have yet to discuss alternate possibilities for Rodriguez’ removal aside from his inclusion of religious references.
“Regarding the Air Force policy on retirement ceremonies, Air Force personnel may use a flag folding ceremony script that is religious for retirement ceremonies,” Brzozowske said. “Since retirement ceremonies are personal in nature, the script preference for a flag folding ceremony is at the discretion of the individual being honored and represents the member's views, not those of the Air Force.”
The Air Force has not clarified when the results of the investigation will be released.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday told North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to "act quickly" to reach a deal with the United States, in a tweet weighing in on North Korea's criticism of his political rival former Vice President Joe Biden.
Trump, who has met Kim three times since 2018 over ending the North's missile and nuclear programs, addressed Kim directly, referring to the one-party state's ruler as "Mr. Chairman".
In his tweet, Trump told Kim, "You should act quickly, get the deal done," and hinted at a further meeting, signing off "See you soon!"
It is impossible to tune out news about the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump now that the hearings have become public. And this means that cable news networks and Congress are happier than pigs in manure: this story will dominate the news for the foreseeable future unless Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt get back together.
But the wall-to-wall coverage of impeachment mania has also created a news desert. To those of you who would rather emigrate to North Korea than watch one more lawmaker grandstand for the cameras, I humbly offer you an oasis of news that has absolutely nothing to do with Washington intrigue.
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia will return three captured naval ships to Ukraine on Monday and is moving them to a handover location agreed with Kiev, Crimea's border guard service was cited as saying by Russian news agencies on Sunday.
A Reuters reporter in Crimea, which Russian annexed from Ukraine in 2014, earlier on Sunday saw coastguard boats pulling the three vessels through the Kerch Strait toward the Black Sea where they could potentially be handed over to Ukraine.
Nine years after losing both legs in Afghanistan, he's found purpose in family, friends and inspiring others
There's a joke that Joey Jones likes to use when he feels the need to ease the tension in a room or in his own head.
To calm himself down, he uses it to remind himself of the obstacles he's had to overcome. When he faces challenges today — big or small — it brings him back to a time when the stakes were higher.
Jones will feel out a room before using the line. For nearly a decade, Jones, 33, has told his story to thousands of people, given motivational speeches to NFL teams and acted alongside a three-time Academy Award-winning actor.
On Tuesday afternoon, he stood at the front of a classroom at his alma mater, Southeast Whitfield High School in Georgia. The room was crowded with about 30 honor students.
It took about 20 minutes, but Jones started to get more comfortable as the room warmed up to him. A student asked about how he deals with post-traumatic stress disorder.
"I believe in post-traumatic growth," Jones said. "That means you go through tough and difficult situations and on the back end through recovery, you learn strength."
It didn't take long for a central theme to emerge at the funeral of U.S. Marine Pfc. Joseph Livermore, an event attended by hundreds of area residents Friday at Union Cemetery in Bakersfield.
It's a theme that stems from a widespread local belief that the men and women who have served in the nation's armed forces are held in particularly high esteem here in the southern valley.
"In Bakersfield and Kern County, we celebrate our veterans like no place else on Earth," Bakersfield Chief of Police Lyle Martin told the gathering of mourners.