Airman takes a knee during ceremony

| November 14, 2017 | 38 Comments

From Stars & Stripes, the story of an airman who took a knee during a Remembrance Day service near the Mildenhall War Memorial and the internet went crazy. The Air Force explains that he felt faint, so he did it to prevent injury, but his friend was being unhelpful when he told a civilian that he was mimicking GQ’s Citizen of the Year Colin Kaepernick’s protest.

“It can happen that airmen begin to feel unwell or faint during a formation, so I briefed them all ahead of time that they should step out and take a seat for their own safety if they began to feel at all light-headed, which is exactly what happened in this particular case,” said Maj. Michael Opich, maintenance operations flight commander for the 100th Maintenance Group. “I am glad that he was able to avoid any potential injury.”

Since the formation wasn’t part of a parade, the airmen had to stand at attention for the duration of the ceremony.

“Locking your knees in conjunction with prolonged standing can trigger vasovagal syncope,” according to a statement from the 48th Medical Group at RAF Lakenheath. “The trigger causes a neural reflex which can lower your heart rate and cause your blood pressure to drop suddenly.

“This sudden change in blood pressure can result in reduced blood flow to the brain causing you to briefly lose consciousness.”

Of course, social media being what it is, the know-it-alls went nuts;

Soon after the event, a photo of the airman taking a knee was shared on the Facebook Traditional British Group. The site also includes multiple posts attacking immigration, left-wing politics, the media and the influence of minority groups.

The photo was “sent in by a page reader,” according to the site, and was later posted in other Facebook groups and the popular site Reddit.

After 20 hours, the initial Facebook post received almost 700 shares and 400 comments. Some called for punishment against the airman and a few commenters threatened his safety.

Privates have been passing out during parades and ceremonies since the beginning of standing armies. He clearly looks ill in the picture, I have to believe that he didn’t do that intentionally, but try telling the internet that.

Category: Politics

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  1. David says:

    The Internet, where opinions rule and facts are a secondary or tertiary consideration. I don’t think the Russians needed dizinformacia, they just needed us to invent the Web.

  2. tin_can_grunt says:

    An RAF airman takes a knee to keep from passing out, oh the DRAMA! Clutch yer pearls girls….

  3. Jeff LPH 3, 63-66 says:

    Courts will be fazed out and people will be tried on the internet and social media.

    • FuzeVT says:

      Do you watch “The Orville”? It’s the new Star Trek-like show Seth MacFarlane is doing. I’m kind of luke-warm on the few episodes I’ve caught thus far but there is one I’m glad I saw.

      The 7th Episode is called “Majority Rule” and is basically the world you describe. They are on a planet who, like current Earth, is unaware of life on other planets. The society is extremely Earth-like in a culture perhaps just a few decades more advanced then we are currently.

      Everyone there wears a button with an up or down arrow. If people like you, they will up vote you. If they don’t, you get down voted. If you get hammered on social media, people can vote remotely. If you have too many down votes you can get lobotomized.

      It was a great comment on todays’ addiction to polls and social media popularity. Even if you don’t like the show or the genre isn’t your thing, it is worth watching just that one episode.

  4. MP 1SG(R) says:

    I don’t know, he doesn’t look ill to me. He looks like he’s surprised by the guy grabbing him by the left arm trying to get him to his feet. I also don’t see him going to the rear to find a seat because he was ill. What I do see is a young, Black Airman on his knees at a time when taking a knee is fashionable for some to protest, “something.” Seems to me like the USAF is trying to cover for him, based on his own friend saying the Airman’s actually protesting like Kap.

  5. Retired Grunt says:

    Having seen many people fall out of formations from locking their knees, and believing discretion is the better part of valor I’m going with the benefit of the doubt in favor of the Airman.

  6. thebesig says:

    He did render proper honors to the anthems, it wasn’t until they started playing reveille that he had a need to go behind the formation and take a knee. There’s a photo of him, in the article, saluting as the anthem was playing. There didn’t appear to be any available chair for him to sit. Going behind the formation and kneeling was reasonable in this context.

    I’ve seen one instance where someone took a knee in formation as they were feeling ready to faint. In another instance, someone fell and collapsed to the floor.

    Much ado about nothing.

    • CWORet says:

      That adds a hell of a lot to the story, tb. Going BEHIND the formation and kneeling was MORE than reasonable, considering an possible/inevitable face plant. So someone snapped a pic and made him out to look like a douche. Ok. Mystery solved, pending any additional information. I’m done with this story.

  7. Ex-PH2 says:

    Boot camp: we’re told to NOT lock our knees when at attention. So what happens? Three girls locked their knees in formation but were caught before their heads hit the tarmac.

    • USMC Steve says:

      In the Marine Corps we also were told no locking the knees. If you did, you got to eat pavement. It was believed after the concussion, you would not do it again.

    • Jonp says:

      Had a guy in formation during Basic Graduation at Ft Jack do the nestea plunge. No one moved a muscle. It happens

    • Mike Kozlowski says:

      …When I went through USAF basic in the fall of 78, there was a rash of people passing out on parade, and that annoyed the hell out of the BMTS commander. He had been a POW in Vietnam, and passed the word down that he never passed out, and by God we wouldn’t either. From that moment on, his orders were that if you passed out on parade (or he saw you go down somewhere else)you went back to day one, even if you were graduating.

      A few people – as always – didn’t get the word, but once a few folks found themselves set back twenty to thirty training days, it stopped PDQ.

  8. Old Trooper says:

    I have witnessed Privates dropping in formation. Shit happens. This is just the ignorant trying to make something out of nothing.

    Also; are we going to now equate taking a knee with solidarity to that pussy Kaperdick in every instance? Why should he be able to define the narrative?

    I guess every time, from now on, that the Queen holds a knighting ceremony, it will be equated to be in solidarity with oppressed blacks in the US?????

  9. OldManchu says:

    A more committed service member would have chosen to pass out and fall face first into the ground before giving up and taking a knee. 🙂

  10. E4 Mafia For Life. says:

    One of the more memorable formations I recall was my room mate had been to Holland the previous day, had brought back and dropped acid prior to a brigade formation and saw leprechauns in the blades of grass.
    I had to punch him in the side repeatedly just to get the smile off his face and stop giggling.


    It happens. I thundered in, face first once at a Remembrance Day parade rehearsal. Thankfully I was in the middle rank(open order) and the very generous backside of a female clerk decelerated my literal nosedive 😉

  12. HMCS(FMF) ret says:

    Was at a change of command that was held in a hanger at NAS Cubi Point in August… saw people dropping like flies (O’s and E’s). Old CO was a prick after he was relieved of command and thought the staff should be punished for his failure.

    Summers in the PI sucked… hot and humid 24/7.

  13. Atkron says:

    I’ve seen quite a few guys fall out in formation…usually after a good night of Liberty.

    An interesting thing is watching ranks in formation while at sea, and watching everyone move with the motion of the ship. It’s like the wave at a sporting event.

  14. West Point 1987 says:

    At USMA, we would prefer a mouth full of turf or concrete to taking a knee, even though we were directed to do so if feeling faint. “lock your knees and close your eyes…draw little circles in the skies…” I’ve dragged more than a few classmates to the rear of the formation, them having honorably pitched forward vice taking a knee. Saw a guy land on his buddy’s (dress) bayonet once, opened his forehead about four inches! 🙂

  15. 11B-Mailclerk says:

    can we maybe put a stop to “taking a knee during the Anthem” by endlessly saying

    “Look! They are doing the Tebow!”

    Somehow, I suspect they would not appreciate the comparison…

  16. Bill R. says:

    I saw it happen numerous times in 20 years. Closest it ever came to me was at a change of command ceremony at Kunsan Air Base. The guy behind me passed out and fell forward into me. He almost knocked me over before I realized what was happening. In a way, I was kind of glad he fell into me first so he didn’t do quite the faceplant it might of been.

  17. NavyEODguy says:

    When I was on active duty, one of my best friends & I always stood next to each other when in formation. We took turns “fainting” every other formation. We did it just to get the heck out of formation.

    We served at two different units together for a combined period of 6 years. No one the wiser to our guardhouse lawyer antics. Or, if they were, they never said anything.

  18. CM says:

    No fucking way….

    I want him out of my Air Force

    • CM says:

      My initial statement is based 100% purely on if this was a kneeling to anthem scenario. If he truly was ill than I of course want him healthy and okay but if this was done for the whole kneeling thing than I stand by initial statement as I do not buy the locking knees shit.

  19. Eden says:

    I nearly passed out during a funeral recently. We were standing at parade rest through the entire graveside eulogy (probably not a good idea in hindsight). Although the guests were shaded, we happened to be in the sun. I’ve long trained myself to keep my knees unlocked, even without being conscious of it, but even unlocking my knees wasn’t helping. (I suspect I was becoming dehydrated.) Mercifully, the eulogy ended before I did a face-plant.

  20. reddevil says:

    It was always high adventure during Week of the Eagles or All American Week- 100 degree weather, high humidity, an hour long CG speech, and fixed bayonets are a bad combination.

    But the undisputed Best Fall Out Ever award goes to this Marine from ‘The’ USMC Color Guard at 8th and I, who chose the Commandant’s Change of Command Ceremony to lock his knees and pass out in truly spectacular fashion- it’s more of a falling in than a falling out:

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