Uniformed Troops Appear in DNC Spot, May Face Reprimand

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By Connecting Vets

Tuesday night's Democratic National Convention (DNC) roll call included a segment featuring Alitama Sotao, chairman of the democratic party in American Samoa. Behind Sotao, partially blocking the picturesque landscape, were two uniformed soldiers. 

American soldiers are barred from partaking in political activities while in uniform, as the U.S. military as an institution must remain neutral. Individual soldiers can of course participate in political events on their own time but never as a representative of the U.S. military or in uniform.

DOD policy guidance states, "as a matter of long-standing policy, military service members and federal employees acting in their official capacity may not engage in activities that associate the DOD with any partisan political campaign or elections, candidate, cause or issue."

The relevant regulation governing how soldiers engage in political activities is DOD Directive 1344.10 which stipulates that "all military members, including National Guard and Reserve forces, are prohibited from wearing military uniforms at political campaign events."

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. Milley ran afoul of the regulation himself just recently when he appeared with President Trump during a posed political appearance amid recent civil unrest in Washington D.C. Milley later apologized for the gaffe.

The blunder did not go unnoticed on Twitter.

American Samoa is an American territory and many Samoans serve in the U.S. military and locals are known for their high rate of service.

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Reach Jack Murphy: jack@connectingvets.com or @JackMurphyRGR.

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