Supervisor of soldiers who appeared at Democratic convention faces discipline

A supervisor of two Army reservists who appeared in uniform at the Democratic National Convention will be disciplined, but not the soldiers themselves.

Army Reserve spokesman Lt. Col. Simon Flake confirmed to The Hill on Friday the disciplinary action following an investigation into the incident. The Military Times first reported the news.

“The investigation determined the two soldiers who appeared on television were not at fault,” Flake said in a statement. “The investigation found their supervisor violated a Department of Defense directive and an Army regulation that governs soldier political activities. The supervisor at fault will receive the appropriate level of disciplinary action for violating the governing standards.”


He added that the Army Reserve “continues to provide all soldiers and civilian employees training and the latest information on DOD directives and Army policies pertaining to political activities.”

Flake did not elaborate on how the supervisor will be disciplined, nor if he or she is a civilian employee or member of the military.

In August, two unidentified soldiers from the 9th Mission Support Command based out of Hawaii stood behind the delegates from American Samoa as they nominated former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden campaign raises over M on day of VP debate Experts predict record election turnout as more than 6.6 million ballots cast in early voting tally Trump-appointed global media chief sued over allegations of pro-Trump agenda MORE during the Democratic National Convention’s roll call. 

The image of the soldiers clad in camouflage raised immediate eyebrows as observers questioned whether they violated military rules against politicking while in uniform. At the time, Democratic officials called the composition of the shot an “oversight.”

The next day, the Army announced it was launching an investigation.


The Republican National Convention a week later also stoked accusations of using troops for politics, but the Marine Corps at the time indicated it saw no policy violation.

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The Republican convention aired a video of a naturalization ceremony at the White House presided over by President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden campaign raises over M on day of VP debate Trump chastises Whitmer for calling him ‘complicit’ in extremism associated with kidnapping scheme Trump says he hopes to hold rally Saturday despite recent COVID-19 diagnosis MORE. The video started by showing two active-duty Marines in uniform opening the door for Trump as he walked into the room.

The next day, the Marine Corps said the service members were acting in their official capacity, and the White House framed the ceremony as an official event from which the Trump campaign decided to use publicly available footage for the convention.