The Navy has punished sailors who wore patches on their uniforms that were inspired by President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan during his 2019 Memorial Day visit to the USS Wasp in Japan.
The sailors received non-judicial punishment following a Navy investigation after they were spotted with patches on their flight suits that said, “Make Aircrew Great Again,” according to the military.com website.
According to the documents obtained by the website, nine sailors assigned to the Guam-based Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 25 wore the patches while attending President Trump’s speech aboard the USS Wasp that violated military regulations against participating in political activity while in uniform. Officials said nine officers and senior petty officers in the unit also received non-judicial punishments for violation of Pentagon policy regarding the patches.
Non-judicial punishments are carried out at the local level and could include loss of rank or pay.
On Feb. 5, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper issued a memorandum for all military personnel and civilian employees about restrictions on engaging in partisan political activity.
“As citizens, we exercise our right to vote and participate in government. However, as public servants who have taken an oath to defend these principals, we uphold (the Department of Defense’s) longstanding tradition of remaining apolitical as we carry out our official responsibilities,” Mr. Esper wrote. “Maintaining the hard earned trust and confidence of the American people requires us to avoid any action that could imply endorsement of a political party, political candidate or campaign by any element of the department.”
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