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UPDATE: 2nd Soldier Suspended over Funeral Photo

By: Associated Press/ WSAW Staff Email
By: Associated Press/ WSAW Staff Email

Rickert said the photo was taken in front of an empty, flag-draped casket at the Professional Education Center in Arkansas where Harrison and the other soldiers in the photo were training.

UPDATE: Thurs 11:16 AM, Feb. 20, 2014

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A second Wisconsin National Guard member has been suspended in an investigation stemming from a photograph showing soldiers clowning around by an empty flag-draped casket.

Guard spokesman Maj. Paul Rickert said Wednesday that Sgt. Luis Jimenez was suspended because of comments he posted on social media defending the photo.

Jimenez' comments have since been taken down, but in a screen shot confirmed by Rickert he defended the woman who originally posted the photo.

Jimenez writes that Spc. Terry Harrison wasn't disrespecting anyone, and that it's "good to let loose a little" after long practice sessions.

Jimenez was Harrison's task leader, or supervisor. Harrison also has been suspended.

No public telephone number for Jimenez could be found. Rickert said he would pass on a message from The Associated Press seeking comment.

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ORIGINAL STORY: Tues 12:34 PM, Feb. 18, 2014

A group of 14 soldiers posing in front of a flag-draped casket has hundreds outraged after the photo began circulating Facebook this week.

Spc. Terry Harrison, a full-time member of the Wisconsin National Guard funeral detachment, is one of the soldiers posing in the photo.

WLUK-TV has learned Harrison has been suspended during an investigation into the incident, according to Maj. Paul Rickert, Director of Communications for the Wisconsin National Guard.

Rickert told WLUK Tuesday that Harrison has been a member of the funeral detachment for the guard for one year.

Rickert said the photo was taken in front of an empty, flag-draped casket at the Professional Education Center in Arkansas where Harrison and the other soldiers in the photo were training.

Rickert said an investigation was started Tuesday morning and Harrison has been temporarily reassigned to other duties until the investigation is complete.

“The Wisconsin National Guard takes our responsibilities for our fallen soldiers and our veterans very seriously and we expect all our soldiers who carry out that detail to handle it with professionalism and honor,” Rickert said.

As of Tuesday morning there are more than 850 comments regarding the photo on the Guard’s Facebook page.

Rickert also said that since the photo was posted, Harrison who is from Milwaukee, has been receiving death threats.

Rickert said none of the other soldiers in the picture were from Wisconsin.


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