military

Senate candidates take contrasting stands on use of military to put down protests

In one of the starkest contrasts of the U.S. Senate race so far, Manny Sethi disagreed with rival Republican Bill Hagerty about whether the active-duty military should have a role in responding to civil unrest around the country.

Hagerty early last week called on President Donald Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act to crack down on violence and “domestic terrorism.” The Sethi campaign, however, told The Tennessee Journal, that the National Guard was better suited for the role.

Here’s the statement from Sethi campaign manager Chris Devaney:

Manny appreciates President Trump’s leadership, which is why he doesn’t think we need the 101st Airborne in this. Our U.S. military exists to kill bad guys, not to do police work. Our National Guard is more than capable of dealing with these rioters and looters, upholding the rule of law, and busting some heads if need be, to protect our country.

Trump last week week criticized governors for being “weak” and failing to “dominate the streets.” He floated the idea of using the Insurrection Act to send the military into states where governors hadn’t called in the National Guard, but ultimately didn’t take that step.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee authorized the Guard to intervene when Nashville protesters clashed with police and set fire to the Metro Courthouse. The Guard was also called in to augment security at the state Capitol, though the governor heaped praise on soldiers for laying down their shields during a peaceful protest.

The president over the weekend ordered Guard units to start returning to their home states “now that everything is under perfect control.”

Hagerty calls on president to invoke Insurrection Act, mobilze active-duty miltary

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Bill Hagerty speaks at Nashville event on Dec. 3, 2019. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Bill Hagerty is calling on President Donald Trump invoke the Insurrection Act to mobilize active-duty military forces in response to protests around the country.

“We cannot have another night of violence. It has to stop now,” the former U.S. ambassador to Japan said a release. “If we don’t, it propagates lawlessness.”

Trump has been mulling the use of the 213-year-old federal law, which would allow him to send troops to states without a formal request by their governors.

Here’s the release from the Hagerty campaign.

Nashville, TN — With the recent riots around the country, including Tennessee, Bill Hagerty, candidate for U.S. Senate, encourages President Trump to use the Insurrection Act to mobilize active-duty military forces in order to defend our communities from further acts of domestic terrorism.

“President Trump has already taken decisive leadership in recognizing ANTIFA as a terrorist organization,” said Bill Hagerty. “America is rooted in the rule of law. We cannot have another night of violence. It has to stop now. Period. If we don’t, it propagates lawlessness. To better protect our cities and communities from further danger, President Trump should use the Insurrection Act to its fullest extent. Mobilizing our military forces across the country will show that we will not tolerate domestic terrorism.”

 

Former Rep. Courtney Rogers to head Veterans Services in Lee administration

Gov.-elect Bill Lee has named former Rep. Courtney Rogers (R-Hendersonville) as commissioner of veterans services and Army Maj. Gen. Jeff Holmes as the head of military affairs.

Here’s was he release from the Lee transition;

NASHVILLE, Tenn. Today, Tennessee Governor-elect Bill Lee announced two appointments to his cabinet for the Department of Military and the Department of Veterans Services.

“We are pleased to add two experienced military leaders to our cabinet today,” said Lee. “Our veterans and active duty personnel will be in good hands with these appointments and I look forward to working with them.”

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Senate votes to expand Shiloh National Military Park

Press release from Sen. Lamar Alexander

WASHINGTON, June 7, 2018 – United States Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today said the Senate’s passage of his bill to expand the Shiloh National Military Park in Shiloh, Tennessee, will help attract more visitors to Tennessee, boost local economies, and protect the site for future generations.

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Seven deceased Tennessee soldiers, some long unidentified, honored in governor’s Memorial Day service

Press release from the governor’s office

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, First Lady Crissy Haslam, Tennessee Department of Veterans Services Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder and Tennessee Military Department Adjutant General, Major General Terry “Max” Haston paid tribute to seven service members who gave the ultimate sacrifice during the state’s Memorial Day service. (held Friday).

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TN National Guard disapproves of taking oath of office with a dinosaur puppet

Excerpt from a Washington Post article:

It’s unclear why Master Sgt. Robin Brown, a public affairs officer with the Tennessee Air National Guard, recited her oath of re-enlistment last week using a dinosaur puppet. Or why the colonel conducting the ceremony allowed her to do so, stifling his laughter as the puppet mouthed the oath.

But the two have been let go from the Guard after a video of the incident went viral, garnering about 2.4 million views on Facebook by Wednesday (Facebook Post HERE) and upsetting many in the military community who felt Brown and the colonel’s actions were disrespectful. Brown has been removed from her full-time job with the Tennessee Joint Public Affairs Office and the yet-to-be-identified colonel has been demoted and immediately retired, according to Army Maj. Gen. Terry Haston, the adjutant general for the Tennessee National Guard.

National Guard Uses Dino Puppet During Oath

This member of the National Guard lost her title after she used a dinosaur hand puppet to take her official oath

Posted by NowThis on Thursday, April 19, 2018

Trump’s latest choice for U.S. Army secretary: Lobbyist who once worked for Bill Frist and Fred Thompson

President Donald Trump’s third proposed nominee as U.S. Army Secretary, is Mark Esper, Raytheon Inc.’s vice president of government relations and previously employed by two of Tennessee’s former U.S. senators, reports Politico.

A Gulf War veteran, Esper is a retired Army lieutenant colonel and a 1986 graduate of West Point. He has worked for Raytheon, one of the “big five” defense contractors, since 2010… Esper is a veteran of both Capitol Hill and the Pentagon. He has been the policy director for the House Armed Services Committee as well as director of national security affairs for then-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.).

He was also a deputy assistant secretary of Defense during the George W. Bush administration and was the national policy director for the late Sen. Fred Thompson’s 2008 presidential bid.

… Trump’s first pick for the Army post, billionaire New York financier Vincent Viola, withdrew in February amid difficulty untangling his complex finances. The second pick, Tennessee Republican state Sen. Mark Green, withdrew amid mounting opposition over controversial statements he’d made about LGBT rights and Muslims.

Tribute paid to five servicemen who made ‘ultimate sacrifice’ in TN Memorial Day ceremony

News release from state Department of Veterans Affairs

NASHVILLE — Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, Tennessee Department of Veterans Services Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder and Tennessee Military Department Adjutant General, Major General Terry “Max” Haston paid tribute to five service members who gave the ultimate sacrifice during the state’s Memorial Day service today.

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Sen. Richard Briggs jumps out of an airplane (video)

(with a fellow from the Army’s Golden Knights)

Green withdraws as Trump’s nominee for U.S. Army secretary

Tennessee state Sen. Mark Green has announced he is withdrawing President Donald Trump’s nominee to become Secretary of the Army, blaming the “distraction” caused by “false” attacks on his religious beliefs.

Green, a physician and former Army flight surgeon who lives in Clarksville, had declared himself a candidate for the Republican governor’s nomination in 2018, but put campaigning on hold after Trump nominated him to succeed Eric Fanning as Army secretary. Fanning, serving under President Barack Obama, was the first openly gay military service secretary.

From the Times-Free Press report:

“Tragically, my life of public service and my Christian beliefs have been mischaracterized and attacked by a few on the other side of the aisle for political gain,” Green said in a statement.

“While these false attacks have no bearing on the needs of the Army or my qualifications to serve, I believe it is critical to give the President the ability to move forward with his vision to restore our military to its rightful place in the world.”

…He noted he and his wife, Camie, “look forward to finding other opportunities to use our gifts to serve others and help Make America Great Again.”

There was no specific comment as to whether he would restart his gubernatorial campaign.

From the Washington Post report:

Green pulled out after a month of calls for the Trump administration to choose someone else. Advocacy groups for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people immediately launched an effort on Capitol Hill to block his nomination after it was announced April 7, saying his history of antagonism toward them made him an unacceptable choice.

… Among the comments that drew concern were Green saying last fall that if psychiatrists were polled, they would say that “transgender is a disease.” He added that while most millennials accept transgender people, he wanted to be a “light” that set the record straight.

“If you really want to bring this back to who’s at fault, I mean we’ve got to look a little bit inwardly,” he said. “I mean, we’ve tolerated immorality and we’re not reflecting light.”

The Council on American-Islamic Relations also opposed Green’s nomination, citing an appearance before the Chattanooga Tea Party last fall in which Green said that “we will not tolerate” teaching the “pillars of Islam” in textbooks. At that same event, Green responded to a man who said he was concerned about an armed insurrection by people who “don’t belong here, like Muslims in the United States” by saying he’d asked a “great question.”

… Green’s withdrawal marks the latest chapter in the White House’s ongoing turmoil as it tries to fill senior civilian positions at the Pentagon. He was selected after President Trump’s first Army secretary nominee, Vincent Viola, withdrew from consideration in February. Viola, a former Army officer who went on to become a billionaire on Wall Street, cited the complications of getting through the Pentagon’s conflict-of-interest rules.

A nominee for Navy secretary, Philip M. Bilden, also withdrew from consideration in February, facing difficulties similar to Viola’s. No replacement has been named.

…Several U.S. senators this week signaled opposition to Green becoming Army secretary, including Sens. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Charles E. Schumer (D.-N.Y.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.).

Schumer said in a statement that Green’s decision to withdraw is good news for all Americans, “especially those who were personally vilified by his disparaging comments toward the LGBTQ community, Muslim community, Latino community and more.” The senator credited advocacy groups with prompting Green to withdraw and said that he hopes Trump will select someone who can represent everyone in the Army.

From The Tennessean’s report:

Congressional Republicans from Green’s home state focused on praising their fellow Tennessean for his service, rather than directly acknowledging any controversy related to his nomination.

“Mark Green has served his country with distinction,” Rep. Marsha Blackburn said in a statement. “He has served his state with honor. I respect his decision to withdraw his nomination and look forward to his continued service in our community.”

Sen. Lamar Alexander also said he respected the decision, but expressed some disappointment that Green didn’t get the nomination.

“This would have been an opportunity for the Army to benefit from his leadership skills, military experience and dedication to service members,” his statement said.

Sen. Bob Corker said he spoke with Green on Friday afternoon to thank him for his willingness to serve and for his commitment to public service.

“Although he has withdrawn from the process, I have no doubt that he will continue to find ways to serve our country and state,” Corker’s statement read.