An Arkansas Army National Guard member has been suspended after it was confirmed he was among a group of soldiers shown mugging around an empty, flag-draped casket in a photograph that was posted to social media, the National Guard said in a statement Friday.
The photo, which was taken at a National Guard training facility at Camp Robinson in North Little Rock, was originally posted to Instagram from an account belonging to Spc. Terry Harrison of the Madison-based 1st Battalion, 147th Aviation Regiment, according to the National Guard. The caption read, "We put the FUN in funeral — your fearless honor guard from various states." It wasn't clear from the photo that the casket was empty.
The soldiers were attending military funeral honors training at the Professional Education Center at Camp Robinson, National Guard officials said.
Harrison's Instagram account has since been deleted, but the photo was re-posted to other social media sites and sparked anger on Facebook, in military chat rooms and other social media, where people saw it as disrespectful to those killed in action, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported. The National Guard said it was taking steps to protect Harrison after she received death threats through social media and other means.
The Arkansas soldier, whose name was not immediately released, is the third to be suspended this week. Harrison and another Wisconsin soldier, Sgt. Luis Jimenez, also have been suspended.
Arkansas National Guard spokesman Maj. Matt Snead said in a statement Friday that "the soldier has been suspended from military funeral honors duty and an investigation is underway." Rick Breitenfeldt, spokesman for the National Guard, said that the bureau is withholding the name of the guardsman pending the outcome of the investigation.
Read Saturday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for more details.