Fourteen Army National Guard members are being investigated for taking part in a photo that appears to mock funerals for fallen soldiers — a “totally unacceptable” display, Pentagon officials told NBC News.
That’s in addition to a female soldier who officials said Tuesday they were suspending for allegedly posting the photo, which shows 14 guard members gathered around an empty, flag-draped casket, mugging for the camera with the caption, “We put the FUN in funeral.”
The photo was taken at a National Guard Training Center in North Little Rock, Ark., and includes guard members from a number of separate states.
“These are essentially kids blowing off a little steam, but given the serious and solemn nature of their mission, (funeral duty), their actions are inappropriate and totally unacceptable,” a U.S. defense official told NBC News.
Instagram via AP
Aside from the casket photo, a second “selfie” snap shows the suspended female soldier, Spc. Terry Harrison, in a car on her way to a military funeral in Wisconsin with a caption complaining about the cold weather. Harrison is a member of the Madison, Wis.-based 1st Battalion, 147th Aviation.
“It so damn cold out. Why have a funeral outside? Somebody’s getting a jacked up flag,” the photo's caption read.
Pentagon officials say she’s been indefinitely suspended from funeral duty pending an investigation. Guard officials say the specialist has received death threats as a result of the posted photos.
First published February 19 2014, 8:59 AM
Jim Miklaszewski is the chief Pentagon correspondent for NBC News. On 9/11, he was the first at the scene to report that the Pentagon had been attacked and has since led the network's coverage of the war in Afghanistan.
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Since joining NBC in 1985, Miklaszewski was a White House correspondent during the Clinton and Bush administrations, covering President Clinton's transition from Little Rock, his many trips abroad including Moscow and the Middle East and his reelection. He was also an NBC floor reporter at the Democratic and Republican conventions in 1996 and 2000.
In the Bush White House, Miklaszewski reported on the Gulf War with Iraq, summits with Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin and the Bush reelection campaign in 1992.
Miklaszewski has logged considerable foreign experience with battlefront coverage of wars in Lebanon, El Salvador and the Falkland Islands. He also covered the United States air raid on Libya, and the "tanker wars" in the Persian Gulf.