A video (below) of a retired U.S. Air Force sergeant being thrown out of a ceremony while attempting to recite a speech honoring the flag is under investigation.
The incident occurred on April 3 at Travis Air Force Base, near Sacramento, California, Fox News reports. Retired Senior Master Sgt. Oscar Rodriguez was attending an event to celebrate the retirement of a close friend.
In the video, Rodriguez is seen attempting to read a statement before three uniformed airmen forcibly remove him from the ceremony. Rodriguez continues reading the statement aloud as he is being removed.
The footage was originally posted on military blog JQPublicBlog.org. The site called it a "disgraceful spectacle," according to Fox News.
A source who was at the event told the military blog that Rodriguez was at the ceremony at the request of the retiree but was banned from the base by the squadron commander.
An Air Force Reserve spokesman said the confrontation resulted from "an unplanned participation" at the event.
"Rodriguez ignored numerous requests to respect the Air Force prescribed ceremony and unfortunately was forcibly removed," a Travis official told Fox News in a statement. "We will continue to investigate the situation fully."
John Huffington, a friend of the retiree, posted the video on his Facebook page. He wrote, according to the Daily Mail:
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 [stripes] 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 [hear] him still saying the words to the flag. And you can hear 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.
Stephan Sila, a 28-year-old Air Force Veteran, identified himself as the officiating officer at the ceremony. On the military blog’s Facebook page, Sila wrote that Rodriguez planned to read a statement honoring the flag and that his attendance had been cleared through the proper chain of command.
Sila added that several non-commissioned officers were angered by the incident.
"Why do you think people are leaving [the Air Force] in droves?" Sila wrote. "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.”