UPDATE: WI National Guard "deeply saddened and outraged" by sold - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: WI National Guard "deeply saddened and outraged" by soldier's photos

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MADISON, Wisconsin (WKOW) -- A Wisconsin National Guard Soldier has been pulled from duty on the state's 12-member, funeral honor guard team after posting controversial photos on a social media account. 

Because she's still being paid, as a guard member, she'll still be performing other duties," said Major Paul Rickert, the Wisconsin National Guard's Director fo Communications.

Rickert said Major General Donald Dunbar, the head of Wisconsin's National Guard, has called for an investigation into the photos posted by Spc. Terry Harrison.

"It's not possible for me to give a timeline" on the investigation, Rickert said.

One photo depicts Harrison, along with national guard soldiers from other states, posing in front of a casket with a flag draped over it. Underneath the photo is the caption "We put the FUN in funeral."

Rickert said the photo was taken in Arkansas where guard soldiers were training. Because the group was in training, the casket in the picture was empty. He did not know if any of the other national guard members in the photo are being investigated as well.

"We're only conducting an investigation into our funeral honors team and (Harrison)," he said.

The second photo depicts Harrison with an American flag partially visible behind her. A comment underneath the photo appears to express displeasure with the funeral guard's duties to perform a ceremony in the cold. 

"We were deeply saddened and outraged by the photos and comments," Rickert said. He added the investigation into the photos is seeking to determine when and where the second picture was taken.

"We expect our funeral honors guard to conduct themselves professionally and treat the families of fallen service members and veterans with the utmost care and respect," Rickert said. "So it's very concertinaing this took place."

"For all guard members, as a whole, we expect them to conduct themselves professionally, ethically and morally when they're out and about in public," he said.

"That does not change when they go online," Rickert added, in reference to national guard soldiers' social media accounts.

Bob Simonis, a veteran who served 27 years in the military and now performs in military funerals as part of the Madison Veterans Firing Squad, said he was disappointed to see Harrison's pictures Tuesday afternoon.

"I'd say 99.9 percent of us, probably more than that, do it properly," he said. "None of us are there to disrespect the veteran."

"I don't understand why the photo, and making a comment about it being so cold," Simonis said.

"It's always cold, It's going to be cold out there. It's winter," he said. "If you don't want to do it in the winter then don't do it."

Rickert said the soldier has received a lot of blowback about the photos since they came to light Monday.

"The soldier has received threats over social media and via her phone," he said.

"While we don't condone the pictures or comments, we also cannot condone threats of violence towards service members or their families," Rickert said. "We ask people take that into consideration." 

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MADISON (WKOW) -- A Madison-based Wisconsin National Guard member has been indefinitely suspended from the honor guard after posting controversial photos related to military funeral honors on social media sites.

The Wisconsin National Guard says they became aware of the photos late Monday, and have opened an investigation into the matter.

Those photos were posted by Spc. Terry Harrison, a member of the Madison based 1st Battalion, 147th Aviation Regiment.  The group was at a National Guard training facility in North Little Rock, Arkansas when they took the group photo.

While the photos and comments do not portray any misconduct during the performance of actual military funeral honors, Major Paul Rickert, the Wisconsin National Guard's director of public affairs, says he understands their content is upsetting to many people.

Major Rickert says, "A military funeral is the final show of respect for our veterans and their families, and we take that solemn duty very seriously. The very name "military funeral honors" underscores the importance we ascribe, both as the military and society at large, to such solemn occasions. These photos and comments do not appear to align with those values."


The National Guard says they are taking measures to ensure her safety following death threats made to Harrison.

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MADISON (WKOW) -- The Wisconsin National Guard is looking into the social media posts of a member of a Funeral Honor Guard.  According to our affiliate WISN, the soldier isn't being identified because she says she has received death threats since the posts went viral.

One photo the guard calls "inappropriate" shows her with a folded flag in the background with the caption, "It's so **** cold out.  Why have a funeral outside?  Somebody's getting a jacked up flag."

The second is from her recent graduation of training for honors at funerals.  It shows a group posing in front of an empty casket with the caption, "We put the FUN in funeral."

The National Guard posted the following message on its Facebook page Monday night:

"It has come to the attention of the Wisconsin National Guard that a soldier may have posted inappropriate pictures and comments regarding their duties as a member of a Funeral Honor Guard. We are currently looking into the matter. Thank you."

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MADISON (WKOW) -- The Wisconsin National Guard is looking into the social media posts of a member of a Funeral Honor Guard. 

The National Guard posted the following message on its Facebook page Monday night:

"It has come to the attention of the Wisconsin National Guard that a soldier may have posted inappropriate pictures and comments regarding their duties as a member of a Funeral Honor Guard. We are currently looking into the matter. Thank you."

The Wisconsin National Guard has not identified the soldier who made the posts.
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