My name is Colonel Greg Petrequin, and I’m a senior military officer and I just retired last week, from the US Air Force at (location withheld), after almost 27 years of honorable and faithful service to my Country, in the greatest Air Force in the world. I’ve been stationed in 7 states, covering all corners of the United States, as well as Europe and Asia. I’ve traveled almost around the world and I’ve flown in air combat, during Operation DESERT STORM, and humped a rifle and a rucksack, in ground combat in Iraq, during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.
For the last three years, I have been a proud member and staunch supporter of Military Religious Freedom Foundation’s Constitution Society, because in my last overseas assignment, I saw the rampant disregard for the religious rights and freedoms of our service members, namely from the Armed Forces Network. The crowning event was when I read a letter to the editor of the Air Force Times, from an active-duty Lieutenant Colonel, where he attributed a passage, from the Declaration of Independence, as part of the Preamble to the United States Constitution. I was horrified that an experienced Air Force officer did not know what the Constitution actually said, even though he had raised his right hand and “solemnly swore (swear) to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” I knew I needed to immediately enlist the support and efforts of an organization that could take on the process of educating and demanding enforcement of the rights and privileges in the Constitution, where I could not for fear of reprisal from those appointed over me. That organization was the MRFF.
I was honored and humbled to have Casey and Amanda Weinstein in attendance, at my retirement ceremony because I have so much respect for their family. We have become good friends, after we met at an MRFF event in (location withheld), where I also had the honor of meeting one of my heroes, the founder of the MRFF, Michael L. “Mikey” Weinstein, and his lovely bride Bonnie. I was really touched that both Mikey and Bonnie knew my name and remembered that I had just renewed my membership in the Constitution Society. Their thanks for my support was personal and heartfelt. The forum of my retirement ceremony gave me an opportunity to thank the entire Weinstein family as well as the staff and members of the MRFF for their brave, honorable, and dedicated service of protecting the Constitutional rights and freedoms of the members of our armed forces and veterans. They have protected me, and my comrades in arms, from religious discrimination, harassment and aggressive proselytizing by Evangelical or Fundamentalist Christians, which often came at the hands of our fellow service men, peers and leaders. The Weinstein’s have persevered in a hostile and dangerous environment, that would surely dissuade someone of lesser character and dedication. Their tireless efforts and those of the entire MRFF have worked to free us from a hostile work environment and allow us to concentrate on the business of protecting our Country.
The Weinstein family has bravely endured the shocking hatred, overt hostility and real violence, from fellow Americans who oppose the tenants of our Constitution, and do not believe in equal rights for all Americans. I was thrilled to be able to stand in front of an audience, that consisted of senior military and flag officers (ie. “Generals”), who I respect tremendously because of their words and actions, and thank the Weinstein family for their service to our Country and to recognize them as the “bravest family in America.” (my words), for their bravery and sacrifices they have made. I marvel, daily, at their dedication and unbowing courage, in the face of those who attempt to repress the freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution and who seek to suppress the MRFF’s actions and message. The MRFF’s advocacy and assistance, to our service men and women, has been vital to preserving the oath, that all American military members take, to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States,” and sadly, the MRFF’s services are in demand now, more than ever. Lastly, I was able to thank them for “supporting our men and women in uniform and our Veterans, and for helping them more than they will ever know.”
Even in retirement, I will continue to vocally, financially, and morally support the MRFF and will encourage the support by others, who understand and believe in the guiding tenants of the United States Constitution and support equal rights for all Americans.
A proud veteran and friend of the MRFF and the Weinstein family.
Greg Petrequin, Colonel (USAF-Ret)