A video that captured a retired U.S. Air Force sergeant being forcibly removed from a ceremony at a California base has prompted an investigation, an Air Force Reserve official said Wednesday.
The incident occurred at Travis Air Force Base, near Sacramento on April 3, at the retirement of an unidentified master sergeant from the 749th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. Retired Senior Master Sgt. Oscar Rodriguez, in civilian clothing, is shown attempting to read a statement before three uniformed airmen forcibly remove him.
The 50-second video clip was first posted on JQPublicBlog.com, which called the footage “a disgraceful spectacle” during what is usually a calm send off.
A source who was present at the event told the military blog that Rodriguez was there at the request of the retiree, but had been banned from the base by the squadron commander.
A spokesman from the reserve said that the confrontation stemmed from “an unplanned participation” at the event.
"Rodriguez ignored numerous requests to respect the Air Force prescribed ceremony and unfortunately was forcibly removed," a Travis official said in a statement to FoxNews.com. "We will continue to investigate the situation fully."
Neither Rodriguez nor the honoree could be reached for comment.
Stephan Sila, who identified himself as the officiating officer at the ceremony and a 28-year Air Force veteran, wrote in a Facebook post published on the military blog that Rodriguez simply planned to read a statement honoring the flag and that his appearance had been cleared through the proper chain of command.
Sila said the incident has angered non-commissioned officers who believe the retirement ceremony was marred by the ugly incident.
"Why do you think people are leaving (the Air Force) in droves?" Sila wrote. "Because the guys in the trenches are subjected to nonstop stupidity from commanders who don’t deserve the rank, respect, or support of the people ther’re in charge of.”
The Air Force Reserve said in the statement it "respects and defends the right to free speech and religious expression."