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Arkansas guardsman suspended over casket photograph

The Arkansas National Guard has confirmed in a press release that one of the soldiers in a photograph posted on a social media site by a Wisconsin national guardsman is a member of the Arkansas Army National Guard and has been suspended.

The photograph was taken at the National Guard Bureau’s Professional Education Center earlier this month.

“As members of the military community, we take this matter very seriously,” said Maj. Matt Snead, state public affairs officer for the Arkansas National Guard. “The soldier has been suspended from military funeral honors duty and an investigation is under way.”

The 14 soldiers came from various states to attend military funeral honors training at the Professional Education Center, a national training center located at Camp Robinson. The Professional Education Center falls under the umbrella of the Army National Guard, a branch of the National Guard Bureau, located in Arlington, Va. The Army National Guard is conducting a separate investigation.

Because of the ongoing investigation and concern for the safety of the Arkansas soldier, the Arkansas National Guard is withholding his identity, according to the press release.

Maj. Gen. William D. Wofford, the adjutant general for Arkansas, issued the following statement:

“I echo the sentiment of my fellow adjutants general with soldiers involved, and the chief of the National Guard Bureau, when I say this photograph is deplorable. I am a veteran, my father was a veteran and this is personally offensive to me. To all Arkansans, veterans, military members and especially our families who have lost loved ones, I extend a heartfelt apology for the pain caused by the participation of the soldier under my command in this disgraceful photograph. I have directed an investigation into his involvement and we will take actions to ensure this never happens again.”

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