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2 soldiers in casket photo flap permanently removed

May. 22, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
Two soldiers involved in a National Guard casket photo flap have been permanently removed from funeral honors detail.
Two soldiers involved in a National Guard casket photo flap have been permanently removed from funeral honors detail. (AP)
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Two soldiers involved in a National Guard casket photo flap have been permanently removed from funeral honors detail. (AP)

Two soldiers involved in the National Guard casket photo flap have been permanently removed from funeral honors detail, a Wisconsin National Guard spokesman confirmed Thursday.

While Spc. Terry Harrison and Sgt. Luis Jimenez are no longer a part of the funeral team, they will continue to serve in the Guard, said Maj. Paul Rickert.

Rickert said the internal investigation into the social media incident is complete but it’s against the Wisconsin National Guard’s policy to share details on any disciplinary actions.

Harrison was originally suspended in mid-February for posting pictures on the photo-sharing social site Instagram that showed her and other guard members training for funeral honors duty. One photo showed Guard members in uniform mugging for the camera next to a flag-covered casket later reported to be empty.

The caption read, “We put the FUN in funeral — your fearless honor guard from various states.”

Another image was a selfie of a woman with the caption: “It’s so damn cold out...WHY have a funeral outside! Somebody’s getting a jacked up flag...”

Jimenez, while not in the photo, was subsequently suspended because of comments he posted online defending the image, officials said in February.

Jimenez was Harrison’s task leader, or supervisor, in the Madison-based 1st Battalion, 147th Aviation Regiment.

News of their removal from the funeral honors team was first reported by TV News 3, of Madison, Wisconsin.

The casket photo was taken at the National Guard Professional Education Center in Little Rock, Ark., and the soldiers in the photo came from different states. Four members of the New York National Guard appearing in the photo were also suspended.

Gen. Frank J. Grass, head of the National Guard Bureau in Washington, D.C., ordered an investigation to what he called a “disgraceful incident” back in February. He called the photo, “in very poor taste.”

Sergeant Major of the Army Raymond Chandler told Army Times in March that the image “tarnished” the service.

“That’s the American soldier, that’s what people see,” Chandler said. “They don’t necessarily see the thousands of acts of service, and hundreds of hours of volunteering in the community. They don’t necessarily see that.”

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