Puppet fallout

| April 19, 2018

The other day, we talked about the Tennessee Air National Guard reenlistment video in which a senior NCO took her oath with a puppet. According to the Air Force Times, punishment has been meted out already;

The Tennessee Air National Guard colonel who led a re-enlistment ceremony in which a senior noncommissioned officer recited her oath using a dinosaur puppet has been demoted and retired.

Army Maj. Gen. Terry Haston, the adjutant general for the Tennessee National Guard, also announced in a Facebook post Wednesday that Master Sgt. Robin Brown, the SNCO whose videotaped re-enlistment ceremony created a firestorm online, has been removed from her full-time job with the Tennessee Joint Public Affairs Office and is facing other administrative actions.

Haston also said that another Tennessee Air National Guardsman — an unidentified SNCO who videotaped the event ? has been removed from his job as unit first sergeant and has been reprimanded. That SNCO will stay in the Guard.

It was completely avoidable. The video was shot on Friday and it went viral after it was posted on Saturday on the unofficial Air Force amn/nco/snco Facebook page.

The lesson is; if you do stupid shit, don’t have a video of it floating around the internet.

Category: National Guard

Comments (103)

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  1. Reverend Pointyhead says:

    The puppet has been issued an Article 15 and devotion to flesh light first class.

  2. Ex-PH2 says:

    Well, that was predictable, wasn’t it? (Rhetorical question – snrrttt!)

    Anyone have any bets on this one?

  3. Hayabusa says:

    You’d think a senior officer and two senior NCOs would know better, but it seems that infantile stupidity is spreading through our culture like a virus.

  4. Tim says:

    This might be explainable if these two dorks were middle school students, but these are two senior Airmen. The wanton disregard for the sacred nature of this oath and ceremony is beyond despicable.

  5. LiRight says:

    Those of us that thought the video was photoshopped were obviously wrong.

    Having said that I am stunned by the stupidity of those involved.

    • AZtoVA says:

      You can count me in that number, sure looked like the puppet disappeared on the way down.

      Mea Culpa.

    • Guard Bum says:

      I was one of them. It was so outrageous and so stupid I thought there was no way it could be real. It really disturbs me that a senior officer and NCO would even think of doing something like this.

      I retired in 2010, have things really gotten this bad?

      • Mason says:

        I was there with you, Bum. Apparently there are no limits to people’s stupidity.

        • 11B-Mailclerk says:

          -Never- underestimate the power of human stupidity.


          “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.”

          ― Albert Einstein

    • QMC says:

      That was me too. I couldn’t believe the stupidity of these clowns, and was pretty sure it was photoshopped.

    • David says:

      Must have filmed the sockpuppet part, filmed a normal hand recovery, and awkwardly spliced the two segments. Easier than inserting just the sockpuppet… who would have thought that supposedly mature senior NCOs and officers would be that dumb?

      • MrFace says:

        You would think PAOs would be well versed in public affairs and relations.


    • Yef says:

      I told you guys, it was real. The forearm was moving with the puppet.

  6. Roger in Republic says:

    If they were so stupid as to make a mockery of a sacred oath, what else have they fucked up? Good riddance!

  7. Sapper3307 says:

    What else have they been doing for reenlistments ceremony’s?

  8. sj says:

    I’ve seen pictures of quite a few reup’s that I thought were silly and undignified (but none as bad as this one). Maybe the Services should stop that trend and revert to a professional ceremony?

  9. Michael Yates says:

    I remember every re-enlistment ceremony I had. Most memorable was at 18,000 feet over border of Laos/N. Vietnam in 1970. Fireworks provided by North Vietnam forces. The Tennessee ANG needs to take a serious look at their Sr officers and NCOs. I don’t these were war fighters.

  10. Sparks says:

    All three need to be shit canned. If they had no more respect for the oath given/taken than they showed, screw them to the wall.

    How did chunky monkey SNCO make tape anyway?

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      She’s preggers, Sparks. Are you blind?

    • Mason says:

      You’d be surprised. I recall our squadron “fitness” NCO being on a profile for at least 2 years. Hard to take her seriously when she came to tell someone they needed to redo their APFT.

  11. Ret_25X says:

    If you want to read some true stupidity, cruise over to the Air Force Times article and read the comments.


    The next step will be a standardized reup ceremony guide that must be used–with reflective belts, I’m sure….

    • Guard Bum says:

      I made that mistake. Looks like 2 to 1 posts thinking it was no big deal. My son is a MSgt in the AF and he says it does not surprise him at all with whats happened to the Air Force.

      Unfortunately, half those posting to the AF Times thinking it was no big deal were from other branches….has the rot penetrated that deep?

    • rgr769 says:

      And there will be several power point demos on do’s and don’t’s.

  12. dtd says:

    To be honest, I thought it was fake too. 1) why wasn’t his hand raised? 2) why was he reading it? 3) sockpuppet..

    When I was active, I took giving the oath very seriously, the soldier can pick any officer to administer it and they chose you. Why can’t you take ten minutes to memorize it?

    • IDC SARC says:

      The oath of enlistment doesn’t have to be given by an officer. I’ve administered the oath as a Chief.

      • Mason says:

        I didn’t know that. I remember after any re-up was signed it was “now we need to find an officer and a flag…”.

        • 11B-Mailclerk says:

          An acquaintance of mine was commissioned into the US Army by her Father, a retired Commander of the (UK) Royal Navy.

          I do not know if there was another swearing in elsewhere, but no objected at the time.

        • IDC SARC says:

          You do need an Officer to sign the paperwork.But there may be an exception to that too that I don’t know about. I was never in a situation where we couldn’t find an Officer to sign the documents.

    • Bill M says:

      Gave the oath a number of times during my career, both officer commissioning and reenlistment. Always, repeat always, took it seriously. In each case, the commissionee or the reenlistee had specifically requested that I administer the oath. I always took it as an honor.

  13. Bangle 99 says:

    Heck. On every reenlistment I’ve ever done, I just signed the papers and went back to work. Apparently I could have been involved in some great fuckery, too. 🤣🤣🤣

  14. Brown Neck Gaitor says:

    Doesn’t the former Colonel retire under the high-36 rule?

    Other than removing the full bird sticker on his back car window, how did this affect him one iota?

    • Hondo says:

      As I read it, the Colonel here will indeed be affected – bigtime.

      Due to the case of CSA McKinney (reduced by court-martial, but as I recall his retired pay was essentially unaffected due to high-36 rules in effect at the time), Congress changed Federal law to require computation of retired pay under final pay rules for those reduced for cause or who did not serve satisfactorily in highest grade (unless later re-promoted to the higher grade in question). See 10 USC 1407.

      Bottom line: if he was indeed determined not to have served successfully or otherwise demoted, he’ll retire as an O5 – and his retired pay will be determined on the basis of O5 base pay, not his high-36 average.

      • Duane says:

        As someone that had to take off a stripe for a new position years ago, I can help with some clarification of ANG rules for that as well. Voluntary removal allows the member to receive retirement based upon their previous higher rank with all benefits of said rank. Involuntary, however, means that you are paid based on your reduced rank, and short of Congressional reversal, you’re done for. Since it was his TAG that reduced him, he can kiss the higher retirement goodbye!

  15. Jay says:

    Let’s see, in my career I reenlisted:

    1. At the midway point of a hike, per the CO’s direction
    2. In the conference room at work in front of my parents
    3. In the Career Jammer’s office shortly before going to recruiter school
    4. In the RS CO’s office before leaving recruiting duty
    5. Last time was in the career planner’s office for the one that take me to 20.

    Never did I have the inclination or invitation to make it something stupid or “cute”. Most of the time it was quick, professional, and to the point.

  16. 3E9 says:

    I hoped it was a joke. With that said you play stupid games and win stupid prizes. These shitheads deserve everything and more that they get for this monumental disregard for tradition. Good riddance.


    Next thing….. Everyone will be dressing like Mariachi with pointy boots for their Citizenship Oath

  18. 26Limabeans says:

    Why re-take the oath. I took it once and thought it was for life. Guess I can put my hand down now.

  19. The Other Whitey says:

    Stupidity has consequences.

  20. Sgt Fon says:

    my first reenlistment while still serving on AD was in Camp Victory, Iraq in 2004. i had pestered my 1st sgt because i was 3 days away from ets and didn’t want to have my pay stopped because i went over. i finally get called in to the CO trailer tells me to sign here and points to a paperwork i sign and BOOM a mortar hits some where on the FOB and the siren goes off. nowi am crammed in the cement culvert that passed as a bunker for us along with 8 other troops and the CO, he had me raise my right hand and recite the oath…. bets damn reenlistment ever!

    • Dinotanker says:


      THATS FKKING AWESOME. How did you get the Iraqis to provide a salute for your re-enlistment? 🙂

      The airmen in this incident are getting punished hard; as they should. These are not young folks and have been around long enough to know to better. Some states are very parochial within their Army and Air Guard organizations.

      The most memorable re-enlistment I performed was in the back of UH-60 over Gray Field at Ft Lewis, during an annual training.

      If I had my way, being the romantic that I am, (even though this would be a HUGE pain in the ass for all involved): The entire freaking troop would parade in Class A’s for the ceremony, the bugler a real one, would sound the charge, and the re-upped soldier would take the salute as the troop marched past. Re-enlisting is an honorable and huge reaffirmation of dedication to our nation.

      Hope you all have a great day!

      • Ret_25X says:

        in 1996…reenlisted on the top of a 100 foot tower in Korea. Korean air 747 flying in the valley below the tower in the pic.

        The Commander did not need a script and I did not need my safe space sock puppet…LOL

    • USAFRetired says:

      I presided over a handful of reenlistments in my time. In the mid 90s the reenlistment bonus multiplier for Airborne Radar Techs(1A3 in those days) was 5. I had a couple sharp young troops due to reup so we waited until we were deployed for Southern Watch and took car of it at 30K feet on one of our missions, The real Bonus was as it was a hostile fire pay area, the renlstment bonus with the 5 multiplier for six years was tax free.

      The only drawback was no beer to wash it down afterwards.

  21. Instinct says:

    My re-enlistment was in the ready room of VA-147 on the Nimitz in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Soon as it was done I was back up on the flight deck for more ops.

    • Atkron says:

      Mine was in the Ready Room of VFA-105 onboard USS John F. Kennedy in the Adriatic. I was in Flight Deck Greens, and Mr. Smith was in his Flight Suit.

      Hello Argonaut…From a Gunslinger.

      • Instinct says:

        Heya Gunslinger!

        Yep, I was in my checkerboard shirt and the Skipper was in his flight suit.

        Right after that we went up and I got him launched.

  22. Green Thumb says:

    What a bunch of idiots.

    Honor, class and integrity have gone down the pipes.

    They should make these fools into examples.

  23. Jeff LPH 3, 63-66 says:

    Saw the article in this mornings Mil Times.

  24. Roh-Dog says:

    Oh, the Oath of Enlistment is a joke. Hmmmm….
    So are your careers now.
    Bye Felicia(s)!
    War story warning:
    No sh*t, there I was… We were pulling security for a re-enlistment ceremony at the tomb of David (?) in Kirkuk when a vebed, that was most likely heading for us, was stopped by ING.
    The idea of these tools taking this lightly, mannnn. Throat punch.

  25. 11B-Mailclerk says:

    This site has -no- tolerance for sockpuppets……

  26. Thunderstixx says:

    For all troops currently active.
    Power Point Death presentation on the sanctity of the re-enlistment ceremony this monday starting at 08:00 ends Tuesday at 18:00

  27. USMC Steve says:

    This is almost as dumb as whizzing on dead people.

  28. FuzeVT says:

    “The Tennessee Air National Guard colonel who led a re-enlistment ceremony in which a senior noncommissioned officer recited her oath using a dinosaur puppet has been demoted and retired”

    Demoted and retired.

    I don’t believe this – or at least I don’t believe he was demoted and retired over this.

    Unless the TN ANG is different than other things dealing with the UCMJ, I cannot believe the consequences were this rapid.

    Nothing happens that fast when it comes to officer discipline.


    No thing.

    I have seen a lot of officer misconduct proceedings and several that just looked bad and weren’t really anything at all while I have been here at Quantico. This kind of thing takes years – literally – by the time everything is said and done. Charge sheets, BOIs, Pleas, General Level Office Hours. None of that happens quickly and is generally glacial in its plodding progress.

    I can maybe believe the colonel submitted his resignation, but I don’t even think that would be accepted within 5 days of submission. Demotion? NO FREAKING WAY. Not for this anyway. Maybe he was already getting demoted for something else and did this on the way out.

    Or – ANG units are just weird DoD anomalies where Kangaroo courts can drum people out like it’s the Old West.

    • USAF RET says:

      If they are using the same UCMJ as everyone else, an officer can’t be demoted. Their retirement grade can reflect the last grade in which they served honorably, but that doesn’t happen this quickly.

      • AZtoVA says:

        Guard members are not under the UCMJ unless they are on federal active duty orders. They serve under State laws and regulations. The Governor has ultimate authority over appointment, promotion and relief of Guard officers, and many times that is delegated to the TAG. This is unusual, but not near impossible.

        • AZtoVA says:

          That being said, what will be at issue is the retired pay. His pay will be based on his federally recognized rank which I would assume was Colonel, because the retired pay is a federal benefit.

          SecAF would have to reduce his federally recognized rank and there would be a bit more due-process involved, but I’m just a barracks lawyer, my opinion is worth what you paid for it.

          • FuzeVT says:

            Roger. At this point I wonder about all the people who do really shady stuff and not a lot happens to them.

            In the grand scheme of things and on the sliding scale of water walker to multiple rape and murder of children, I don’t think this slides too much toward the evil side of that continuum.

            Silly. Stupid. Lame. Yes. Is it worth being fired over? I don’t really think so.

            Thumb clip removed. . .
            Pin pulled. . .

            If this had happened during the last administration, would the reaction be different?

            FRAG OUT!!

      • Hondo says:

        If the man was frocked, he can indeed be “demoted” overnight back to his permanent grade by the frocking authority.

        If the man was serving in a State AD slot, it’s entirely possible the AG might have indicated he wanted him gone IMMEDIATELY – and his retirement was expedited. If that happened, he could easily be on terminal leave pending finalization of his retirement.

        Not sure if that’s what’s going on, but it’s a possibility.

    • Jonp says:

      Who is the daddy?
      Officer canned, chickie with a bun in the oven wont be. She is protected and no one wants to make the feminists mad.

  29. USAFRetired says:

    Interesting, According to the AFGAL she is assigned to the First Sergeant’s office as a Student.

    The person taking the video was apparently the First Sergeant.

    • A Proud Infidel®™ says:

      Makes one wonder if the bun in her oven ain’t the First Sergeant’s little squirt?

  30. Trent says:

    Initially, I was ticked at this ‘extension’, but after reading that this was done for the Airman’s daughter’s benefit, I’m not sure if I should be mad now.

    Did she do the actual oath professionally prior to this? Perhaps. At least that seems to be what she said after this went viral.

    Should this, if it was done for the benefit of her kids, been kept from social media. Absolutely.

    Did they deserve the supposed punishment handed out? I’d like to see the 15-6 that was done before making that judgement. I doubt one was done.

    My kids were involved with my last promotion ceremony, so I absolutely understand doing something for their benefit.

    • sj says:

      The better lesson to the kids is showing their parent(s) as role model in service to the country. The kids would be in awe of mom being treated with respect and honor by a senior officer.

    • 2/17 Air Cav says:

      “Some suggested that perhaps the video was unofficial and made merely for Brown’s children to watch later. But William Jones, a spokesman for the joint public affairs office for the Tennessee National Guard, told the Washington Post that the ceremony was official and claims to the contrary were incorrect.” There you go. I get that some people didn’t believe the story in the first instance, but at this point it’s ridiculous to make excuses for the two knuckleheads. But, then, the world is a strange place.

    • Green Thumb says:

      These folks are idiots.

      And they are both senior (to include rank) in their respective fields.

      Bad examples, indeed. If anything, they acted like kids and should be treated as such.

      Toss them.

  31. 11B3V says:

    This applies to an awful lot of the comments I’m seeing here.


  32. Mason says:

    I wonder if this was one of those “Hey, let’s do something funny and maybe it’ll go viral!” things.

    Everyone wants their 15 minutes, but they don’t look to the consequences of trying to get it.

    • 2/17 Air Cav says:

      Most likely that’s what it was, leading to the correct conclusion that the senior officer and senior NCO were lacking in good judgment and need to be gone.

  33. USMCMSgt (Ret) says:

    Where was the Senior Enlisted Advisor?

    He/she should have stepped in and said, “Not no, but FUCK NO. Nobody’s doing that stupid shit!”

    • MCPO NYC USN Ret. says:

      I agree. That would not have happened in my presence. Active, reserve or retired!

      And by the way, I still have NO idea what they were doing!

      Which makes the oath … VOID!

    • SFC D says:

      Cameraman was apparently the 1SG. The idiocy is deep in this unit. Senior Enlisted advisor is probably of the E8 Moerk variety.

    • USAFRetired says:

      In the USAF below Wing Level the First Sergeant is the Senior Enlisted Advisor, in this case he was the cameraman.

      I guess the flying club atmosphere in some Guard units has migrated into the Mission Support Group.

  34. Mr. Pete says:

    Thanks Jonn for following up on this bullshit.

  35. Twist says:

    My first reenlistment was conducted by CPT Jim Lechner (of Black Hawk Down fame who was my CO at the time) on the Island of Tiran while we were on a MFO rotation.

  36. BoomerSooner says:

    Unpopular Opinion Alert!

    I’ve read through the comments here and I’m struck by the hypocrisy of many. There seems to be an indignation that the guardsmen did not take the oath seriously, yet many go on to claim they signed the papers and walked away or had did the perfunctory oath quickly before going back to work (yet others didn’t even do the oath). You can’t have it both ways. It is either a ceremony which should have the proper solemn procedures, or a mere formality with little thought attached.

    Personally, I have always thought the oath is and should remain a solemn tradition and should be given proper respect.

    On the punishment, it seems harsh. A COL with no other disciplinary actions should be allowed to retire in rank. I don’t see this mistake as vile enough to erase an otherwise proud career. I’ve seen officers make much worse errors and remain active (or even promoted). IF the SNCO’s explanation, that it was meant to personalize the ceremony for her son, is true then, while in poor taste, is hardly different from the hundreds of videos of service members poking fun at their jobs or lip syncing to pop music (call me maybe phase).

    • MrBill says:

      I agree that the punishment was harsh. They deserved to be slapped, in my opinion, but not curbstomped.

  37. OWB says:

    I am pretty shocked that so many think this is no big deal, and even more shocked that apparently light hearted stuff is commonly occurring along with the taking of one’s oath.

    No, taking the oath is not an event to be trivialized for any reason. Make a video of it for the entertainment of a toddler? No, just NO. Sure, make a video of the event to use later as a learning experience for the children – but show the solemnity of it.

    Taking the oath to defend this country is serious. It should never ever be marginalized. Does that make me out of step with the younger generation? Maybe, or just maybe the younger generation needs to get into step with a few long held traditions instead of ridiculing them and us.

    Now, Get Off My Lawn!

    • A Proud Infidel®™️ says:

      Not only trivializing the Oath, but giving the Armed Forces a PR black eye as well!