Email from Col Gregory D. Peterson, Commander to Team Tobyhana

From: USARMY Tobyhanna AD USAMC Mailbox Exchange-Administrator
Sent: Thursday, April 21, 2016 4:22 PM
To: USARMY Tobyhanna AD USAMC List Allusers
Subject: Commanders All User Message

Team Tobyhanna:

Earlier this week, Tobyhanna Army Depot received a complaint of a bible on the POW/MIA “Missing Man” table display in the lobby of building 11. The presence of the bible on the display is inconsistent with Federal guidelines.

The Veterans’ Council, a private organization authorized to operate at Tobyhanna, has managed the table display for more than 10 years.

In 2012 Tobyhanna Army Depot conducted an audit of all private organizations to include the Veterans’ Council at Tobyhanna Army Depot to ensure compliance with all federal regulations. At that time a bible, which had been a part of the display was removed to ensure adherence to Federal guidelines.

In the fall of 2015 the display was moved to the main lobby of the depot’s administration building from another area at the installation due to a renovation project and, at that time, did not include a bible.

It is unknown who placed a bible on the table or when this occurred, but it was not sanctioned or approved by the depot’s chain of command or the Veterans’ Council. Once brought to light, the bible was immediately removed in compliance with the “Guidelines on Religious Exercise and Religious Expression in the Federal Workplace.” The Veterans’ Council instituted a procedure to ensure that a bible or religious item is not placed on the display table.

In regard to the Federal guidelines, no bibles or religious articles are to be placed on the MIA/POW table.

We know there will be angst and feedback on this topic, but we must adhere to the federal guidelines, which separates religious expression into four categories: expression in private work areas, expression among fellow employees, expression directed at fellow employees, and expression in areas accessible to the public.

Thank-you for your understanding and cooperation.

COL Gregory D. Peterson
Commander

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1 Comment

  1. Joe Odom

    COL Peterson,

    Please Sir, accept this humble thanks and recognition of your efforts to ensure that the military of the United States is fully representative and sensitive to the many pitfalls of serving the religious and/or non-religious needs of ALL of our servicemen and servicewomen – of all branches.

    Joe Odom – USAF 1971-1978 – MRFF Supporter

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