Wisconsin Army National Guard member Terry Harrison who posted "controversial and distasteful photos" on Instagram about military funerals has already been suspended. Harrison will now be dealt as per the Uniform Code of Military Justice for her actions and could face a one rank demotion or, worse still, may even get a general discharge.
General discharges are usually given to service members whose performance is satisfactory but is marked by a considerable departure in duty performance and conduct, expected of military members. In Harrison' case it will be misconduct.
The 'funeral joke' controversy has created much public uproar. There has been an increasing call for stricter punishment for Harrison, for hurting public sentiments, especially of families who have lost their 'loved ones' during military service.
An American war veteran, with the Twitter handle Beamster, pointed out that the maximum sentence that Harrison could face is general discharge, and the least would be a one rank demotion.
— Beamster (@The_Beamster) February 19, 2014
Spc. Harrison had posted an Instagram picture with the caption: "It's so damn cold out... WHY have a funeral outside!? Somebody's getting a jacked up flag." In another photo, Harrison and several other military guard trainees from around the country are seen posing disrespectfully in front of an empty, flag-draped casket. The caption on that photo reads: "We put the FUN in funeral -- your fearless honor guard from various states ... #honorguard #pec #dorks." The photo was taken at the Professional Education Center, a National Guard training facility in North Little Rock, Ark.
The Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs in a press release stated: "The Wisconsin National Guard became aware late Feb. 17 of controversial and distasteful photos and comments related to military funeral honors posted on social media websites."
Major Paul Rickert, the Wisconsin National Guard's director of public affairs, in the press statement hit out against the actions of Harrison. "A military funeral is the final show of respect for our veterans and their families, and we take that solemn duty very seriously," Rickert 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."
Spc. Harrison, who is with the Wisconsin-based 1st Battalion, 147th Aviation Regiment, has been indefinitely suspended from funeral honors, pending inquiry, he noted.