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Wisconsin soldier suspended for controversial casket photo

Wisconsin soldier suspended for controversial casket photo

Photos posted to Facebook by Specialist Terry Harrison have created a firestorm of negativity and resulted in the Madison-based National Guard soldier's suspension.

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The photo Harrison shared of her National Guard Honor Guard (visible at the top of this page) ignited the controversy. But as that photo spread around the internet, this similarly objectionable post also came to light:

Wisconsin soldier suspended for controversial casket photo

As the casket photo went viral, one of Harrison's fellow soldiers came to her defense:

Wisconsin soldier suspended for controversial casket photo

For its part, the Wisconsin National Guard took to Facebook to announce it was "looking into the matter," but that post was quickly plastered with comments blasting both Harrison and the guard's milquetoast handling of the situation:

Wisconsin soldier suspended for controversial casket photo

In a statement released yesterday, the Wisconsin National Guard Public Affairs Office disclosed that the casket photo was taken at a training center in North Little Rock, Arkansas, and said Harrison has been indefinitely suspended from the funeral honors detail.

While the photo was only of a training exercise, "A military funeral is the final show of respect for our veterans and their families, and we take that solemn duty very seriously," Major Paul Rickert, the Wisconsin National Guard's director of public affairs, 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," Rickert continued.

That sentiment was echoed today by Wisconsin National Guard Adjutant General Donald Dunbar.

"The recently revealed inappropriate photos and commentary posted to a social media site by a soldier under my command are unacceptable," Dunbar said in a statement of his own. "I am taking this matter very seriously. Upon learning of this incident, I ordered an investigation and we will wait until that is concluded to evaluate appropriate action."

Dunbar went on to say he can understand why people are so outraged by the posts.

"The general public is understandably upset, and I understand the anger and response that it has caused," Dunbar continued. "For those of us who wear or have worn the cloth of our nation's uniform, this story cuts like a knife."

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at arupar@citypages.com.


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