What began as a dignified affair quickly turned into an embarrassing scene after a retired Air Force official was forcibly ejected from his colleague’s retiree ceremony.
The event was being held at Travis Air Force Base in California for Master Sergeant Chuck Roberson of the 749th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.
But the service was interrupted when Retired Senior Master Sgt. Oscar Rodriguez was forcibly ejected from the stage as he began to read out a statement honoring the American Flag to the audience.
However, the recital was not a part of the usual procedure at retirement ceremonies and Rodriguez was told to stop.
A video that captured the incident shows two men in camouflage uniform approach Rodriguez and say something quietly, but he appears not to respond.
As the American flag is unfurled next to him on stage he begins is statement: ‘Our flag is known as the stars and stripes. A union consists of white stars and a blue field above it.
‘Each star represents one individual state. together they stand united in the visible.’
But as he does the two men push him off stage while he continues to shout out the words, he is eventually pushed out of the room, but his shouts can still be heard in the distance.
An investigation has since been launched into the disturbance, an Air Force Reserve official told Fox News Wednesday.
An official said in a statement: ‘Rodriguez ignored numerous requests to respect the Air Force prescribed ceremony and unfortunately was forcibly removed.
‘We will continue to investigate the situation fully.’
But John Huffington, who said he is a friend of the man whose retirement ceremony was taking place, posted the video on his Facebook with the comment: ‘This is disturbing at my friend’s retirement today and the gentlemen that you are going to see in the video gets assaulted as a guest of my friend. He speaks the words of the color and strips [sic] as they fold the flag.
‘The squadron commander and Oscar have issues from years ago the commander said he did not want him in the building nor saying the words to the flag.
‘Remember he is my friend’s guest. So instead of letting him finish what he started saying he had his trolls assault him dragging him out of the building as you can here [sic] him still saying the words to the flag. And you can here joe saying’ do it do it.
‘Theater is full of family and guests and fellow Air Force members. This could have been handled in a much better way instead of tainting my friend’s retirement. This is how we treat our fellow Air Force veterans. Yes I’m pissed off.’
And Stephen Sila, who identified himself as the officiating officer at the ceremony posted a long explainer on the Facebook page of John Q Public, an army blog where the story first appeared.
Sila said that Rodriguez had been invited to speak at the ceremony and had planned to read a statement honoring the flag and that his appearance had been cleared through the proper avenues.
But non squadron CC apparently had an issue with Rodriguez attending, apparently stemming from a personal issue at a previous squadron between the squadron CC and Mr Rodriguez, claimed Sila.
He added: ‘Why do you think people are leaving (the Air Force) in droves?
‘Because the guys in the trenches are subjected to nonstop stupidity from commanders who don’t deserve the rank, respect, or support of the people they’re in charge of.’
But the Air Force Reserve said in the statement it ‘respects and defends the right to free speech and religious expression.’
Via Daily Mail