From: (Active Duty Military Pilot’s E-mail Address Withheld)
Subject: Commander wanted my pilot call sign to be “more Jewish”
Date: April 17, 2023 at 2:58:39 PM MDT
To: Mikey Weinstein <[email protected]>
Dear Mr. Weinstein and the MRFF,
I apologize for taking longer than usual to send this note of appreciation in to all of you.
My husband and I just needed some time to pass after you all at the MRFF moved in so fast to fix this mess.
I am a female junior officer on active duty in the U.S. (branch name withheld). My immediate commander kept pestering me and my husband who is also an active duty junior officer but in another unit here at (name of military installation withheld) to “come out with us (meaning my boss’s wife and him) and try our church this next Wednesday night or Sunday morning.”
I am Jewish and my husband is Christian but our religious views and practices should be none of my military boss’s business! I kept telling him “no” as politely as I could. But he just would not stop. This all went on for several months.
He kept referring to me in meetings and in the hallways of our building as “My chosen Lieutenant” (referencing the Jews as the “Chosen People”) which I tried to explain to him is both offensive and anti-semitic coming from him. I am a pilot and he has even tried his best to get a new naming ceremony to get my pilot call sign changed from what it is now, (call sign designation withheld), to “Golda” which he says is “more Jewish and in honor of former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir”. He was serious as hell about this and didn’t seem to understand why I would be offended by this? I tried and tried to explain it to him without any success. He would even tell me in unit meetings to be “more proud to be a Jew” as if I or any Jewish person ever needed to hear that from their boss amongst their colleagues!
He always made sure that everyone below him in the chain of command knew of his singular focus on his Christian faith and his desire to get everyone else to come on board to share their life with Jesus Christ. I have seen this proselytizing too much before as I am also a graduate of the U.S. (military branch name withheld) Academy, Class of 20XX. But now it had become terribly personal.
The call for help.
We knew that the moment we tried to fight back from his Christian proselytizing we would face his anger. He is very outspoken in the squadron about his support for all things conservative like pro-Trump, anti-abortion, anti-gun control, anti-LGBTQ (could tell you many stories there as well), pro-book banning and his New Testament-based adoration for “all things Jew” as he says.
We were directed to another pilot in a different unit who is one of our MRFF reps for (installation name withheld).
That pilot immediately connected my husband and I to Mr. Weinstein late one weeknight evening. Mr. Weinstein took over an hour to hear our plea for help and gave us a plan to fight back with him and our MRFF rep leading the way.
The matter resolved.
Don’t want to go into the specifics of the strategy Mr. Weinstein employed and implemented here. However, within the next week my immediate commander was abruptly removed after being called on the carpet by the (higher unit commander’s title withheld). Suffice it to say that Mr. Weinstein was able to have a very meaningful telephone conversation with the Deputy to our (higher unit commander’s title withheld) which clearly carried the day here!
Obviously there was much talk as to why our immediate commander was removed so quickly. Many were aware of his intent to get my call sign changed to “Golda” and the pressure he was putting on me and my husband to go to church with him and his wife as well as the words he had been saying to me as detailed above. I just declined to engage in any of the unit scuttlebutt. Same for my husband over in his unit.
Although he is still assigned to our same base I no longer have any fear if I run into him. I know that the MRFF has our backs. Don’t know if the (service branch name withheld) ever formally punished him but they sure should have.
Life is much better now for me and my husband and we will never forget the help we got to resolve all of this from the MRFF! Thank all of you at the MRFF. My dad was also a military pilot and faced antisemitism when he flew. He told me that he only wishes that there had been a MRFF around to fight for him back in the day.
(Active Duty Military Pilot’s Name and Rank Withheld)