HomeNewsArticle Display

AF releases Inspector General inquiry on Travis Retirement Ceremony

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- The Air Force Inspector General completed the inquiry into the circumstances of the April 2016 Retirement Ceremony at Travis Air Force Base, California.

After reviewing the evidence, the Inspector General concluded that Mr. Oscar Rodriguez was not removed from the ceremony because he intended to use a script with religious content. Evidence indicated that Mr. Rodriguez was removed by members of the squadron because he attempted to participate in the ceremony even though his participation had been disapproved by the hosting squadron commander.

The evidence established that the honoree had informed Mr. Rodriguez prior to the ceremony that the squadron commander had prohibited him from participating in the ceremony but that Mr. Rodriguez could attend the ceremony as a guest.

Witness testimony also highlighted that the squadron commander neither ordered the removal of Mr. Rodriguez during the ceremony nor established a pre-determined plan to remove him if he did participate in the ceremony. The investigation found that the commander and members of the unit had no reason to expect that Mr. Rodriguez would violate the directions they had been assured had been discussed with him by the honoree. However, when it became clear that Mr. Rodriguez intended to act inconsistent with the commander’s restrictions, he was removed by several squadron NCOs. The inquiry found no evidence that the NCOs were motivated to impair Mr. Rodriguez’s constitutional rights of freedom of speech or religion.

As a result of this inquiry and Mr. Rodriquez’ allegations, the Air Force also reviewed existing policy and determined that Air Force Instruction 34-1201, “Protocol” was too restrictive regarding flag folding scripts at retirement ceremonies. Therefore, the language in the AFI related to flag folding at retirement ceremonies has been rescinded.

If attendance at a retirement ceremony is voluntary, the individual being honored may choose the elements of his/her retirement ceremony. A retirement ceremony can reflect the faith of the retiree and will often include a chaplain to provide an invocation and benediction. In the ceremony in question, the chaplain’s invocation was specifically tailored to include personal religious content at the retiree’s request. The Air Force places the highest value on the rights of its personnel in matters of religion and facilitates the free exercise of religion by its members. Airmen are sworn to protect the rights and liberties as Americans, including the right of all Airmen to practice their religious faith or to practice no faith at all.

A redacted copy of the report of inquiry can be found in the FOIA reading room by clicking here.

Engage

Facebook Twitter
Sharp eyesight is key to an #Airman’s readiness to fly, fight & win. This #AirForce Tech Report highlights how… https://t.co/MaxAEXIOpz
Next-generation warfighting is all about data...yet sometimes our email doesn’t even load. @USecAF_Official is driv… https://t.co/5DsspMgYv8
Today is #MedalofHonorDay and we take a moment to honor our nation’s greatest heroes who have received the highest… https://t.co/B5CVsuV3vX
From foster kid to #Airman, mentor and raising the #AirForce’s next generation. @TeamMisawa https://t.co/7NmxHqOJGe https://t.co/vVoVVnjEgf
Riveting story! Learn more about Ms. Mae Krier, a #WorldWarII pioneer who joined legions of other Rosies in the wor… https://t.co/0QUBOzh4Rr
RT @HollomanAFB: Happy #NationalPuppyDay! Our #MilitaryWorkingDogs protect and defend us each and everyday. Check out these #adorable photo…
RT @AirForceMag: HIT THE BOOKS: Check out a non-exhaustive list of Air Force Chief of Staff @GenDaveGoldfein's reading recommendations from…
Some of us are women, but we are all Airmen! #WomensHistoryMonth https://t.co/pcBtWWIiE6
.@GenDaveGoldfein: "Celebration of #diversity and making sure we understand the flesh colored band aids is not abou… https://t.co/iUqNbSpCPB
.@RAFMildenhall #KC135 crew strengthened relationship with Romanian #AirForce through air refueling training. For m… https://t.co/8dGvm2HQwC
RT @SecAFOfficial: Mother nature can’t beat the 55th Wing! We will recover @Offutt_AFB from the devastating flood. Amazing American 🇺🇸 spir…
Today the #AirForce announced a new Infrastructure Investment Strategy following a yearlong review that brings a ne… https://t.co/i1yDRQkaPl
RT @Offutt_AFB: As the water has begun to recede, Team Offutt is in full recovery mode. https://t.co/6QPZ96UNZY
RT @SecAFOfficial: Thanks to Iowa leaders who just signed a bill to recognize out of state licenses for our military spouses! @SenJoniErnst
RT @SecAFOfficial: This will make a difference on our bases for decades to come...getting more out of every dollar we spend on #infrastruct
See how our aircraft maintainers keep our #F15s safe and mission ready! @142ndFW https://t.co/H6CrSoCCIg
RT @NASA: During today's spacewalk, we'll be taking questions about our @NASA_Astronauts' excursion outside of the @Space_Station. Ask ques…
RT @US_Stratcom: Global #StrategicDeterrence! Integrating #B52s from @US_EUCOM & @INDOPACOM to conduct simultaneous theater familiarization…
The #KC135 Stratotanker nose art "Black Jack" dates back to the #BloodyHundredth's battle-hardened days of… https://t.co/43zMmRWnsP