AF releases Inspector General inquiry on Travis Retirement Ceremony

Wow, a lot of information.

First, very good that it was proven that Mr. Rodriguez was removed for good cause and that it had nothing to do with religion, simply as a result of his disobedience.  This should shut up the pundits and their overly emotional and visceral response, that Mr. Rodriquez’s removal had violated his “religious freedom.”

He was told he could not participate in the ceremony, well in advance, and chose to try anyway.  Nice job, by a former Senior NCO, openly disobeying the sitting squadron commander.  I’m sure glad I never had to serve with him.  He’s an embarrassment to NCOs everywhere.

Once again, the Air Force has chosen to take the wrong road, and not make ANY decision, in dealing with a contentious situation.  They are simply throwing up their hands and saying, “This is too hard for us, and we give up.”

In doing so, General “Fingers” Goldfein has shown he’s not competent to lead this Air Force, with another dumb-ass decision. Oh, sure, the Air Force IG is to blame, but last time I checked, he was the CSAF and he could certainly take this on, as I believe he owns the AFI process.  For example, his last decision, “eliminating additional duties,” was a retread decision of something the Air Force tried, in the late 80’s, and early 90’s, and it DIDN’T work then and it won’t work now.  Nice to see the CSAF is incapable of forward thinking.  I’m glad I have my DD-214 in my file cabinet.

Rescinding the language, in AFI 34-1201, is exactly the WRONG decision!  If anything, it should be MORE restrictive! Attendance at retirement ceremonies is NEVER voluntary!  Any Soldier, Sailor, Airman, Marine, Coast Guardsman, or DoD Civilian, will tell you that.  How can the Air Force be so clueless?  Has anyone in the Air Force Inspector General’s Office, EVER served in the military?

Airmen, in this case, feel compelled to attend retirement ceremonies for a variety of reasons.

Loyalty and respect to the honoree should be the guiding principle, but more often than not, it simply isn’t.  The ceremony could be, and usually is, for a senior officer or senior non-commissioned officer, so attendance, by anyone junior to them, IS not voluntary and is EXPECTED by all levels of leadership of that unit. 

The ceremony is usually conducted during the duty-day, or “company-time,” so those who don’t want to attend can’t just leave and go home.  If they choose to stay in the office and not attend, they will “stand-out” as not being “team-players,” to their leadership and the rest of the unit.  Not a good thing, if you want to get promoted and avoid harassment.

Finally, these ceremonies are attended, and usually officiated, by senior officials, which gives “de-facto” approval for any religious references, preferences or overtones in the ceremony.

As new squadron commanders we are told that “perception is reality,” in everything we do. When did that cease to apply to openly favoring one religion, over another, at our retirement ceremonies? It seems that the Air Force is doing everything it can, to do away with the Constitution, that we swore (or affirmed) to support and defend.

A Retired Senior Military Officer




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  1. Carmine Wiggins

    In my 40 years in government I’ve never been forced to participate in ANY retirement or other non-mandatory event. I’ve never been “singled-out” as not a team player and I NEVER attended an event when a preacher was involved…because i don’t have to! If anyone dared to say one word they would know in a flash that I would drag their sorry ass to court, file an IG complaint or Congressional Inquiry and make their life just as miserable as they are attempting to make mine; yes, even as an A1C back in 1980.

    People have rights, even in the military…NO ONE can force you to listen to a prayer ANYWHERE and you are free to leave the room if you so desire. Sometimes troops believe they gotta stay or listen because the preachers are officers; BULLSHIT!

    Wake up people and standup for your rights and beliefs…before we become a theocracy. Sometimes the presumptive authority needs to be taken down a notch.

  2. G

    Unfortunately, in the military, you are kind of force to give up your rights. For example, you don’t have freedom of speech especially when an officer or NCO is verbally abusing you, you can’t talk back to them and chew their butts out because you will be charged with insubordination. You want rights, then join the Dutch military because the Dutch military has unions. That right they have unions. The Dutch generals were the last military group to form their own unions.

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