Monday, May 23, 2011

Reports of Inappropriate Slides and Skits in the Army

The Army Times reports on two stories reminiscent of last year's story of inappropriate videos made aboard the USS Enterprise. 

The first article reports that on Nov. 7, 2009, in Afghanistan, a PowerPoint slide appeared in the daily battle update briefing of a battalion from the 82nd Airborne Division. The slide, reportedly meant as a joke, bore the photo of a black college basketball player crying in victory with a basketball net around his neck; draped over his shoulders is the arm of his white coach. The text beneath the photo reads, “Slavery Reinstated,” and “Catch yourself a strong one.” The picture sparked a formal equal-opportunity complaint and a division-level investigation. Five months into a yearlong deployment, Lt. Col. Frank Jenio and Command Sgt. Maj. Herbert Puckett, were fired from their positions. Other slides, which had appeared in the morning briefings for about two months, showed scantily clad women in provocative poses, a cartoon of a man kicking a pregnant woman in the stomach, and on the day after the racially charged slide, a man was shown hitting a woman in a slide above the words, “Slap a bitch.” Apparently the battalion leadership felt that the hour long briefings, which included grim casualty updates, could be depressing.  Therefore, Jenio had his battalion operations shop insert one humorous slide each day.  The Army Times reports that earlier this month, the Army released portions of a 224-page investigative report into the incident in response to an Army Times Freedom of Information Act request filed in January 2010.

In the second article, the Army Times reports that the Army has reprimanded three colonels who performed a skit that mocked homosexuals and parodied new rules meant to protect gays in the military. At a dinner attended by top officials from the Eighth Army in Korea, the officers used effeminate gestures as they portrayed musicians Elton John and George Michael as soldiers; then they lip-synched to a song by Boy George. The skit was performed at an informal dinner and lip-synching exhibition March 22 at the Dragon Hill Lodge at Yongsan Garrison. Following a strategic planning conference held by Johnson, it was attended by top officers in the Eighth Army, their senior enlisted advisers and their spouses.