MINOT, ND (KXNET) — Pushback is growing following reports of a text message purportedly sent by Minot Air Force Base “leadership” to service members, warning them to avoid the Dakota Patriot Rally held at the state fairgrounds in Minot November 17.
An irate North Dakota Senator Kevin Cramer took issue with the post, apparently sent to a public Air Force-themed Facebook page.
“First of all, if somebody disguised as a ‘leader’ at Minot Air Force Base actually put out this hyper-partisan left wing political message, they need to rescind it immediately,” Cramer wrote in a statement Tuesday from his office. “They need to apologize for it profusely and then they need to encourage the airmen at Minot Air Force Base who are inclined to attend a conservative, traditional American values rally to do exactly that and bring a friend. Then that leader, the so-called leader needs to be removed from their position.”
According to news reports, the warning message from MAFB “leadership” was posted to the Facebook page, “Air Force amn/nco/snco,” one of several popular posting spots for public comment on all things Air Force.
A statement reportedly from the Minot Air Force Base was posted to the group Tuesday afternoon, stating, “Minot Air Force Base is aware that an unofficial message about a local event in the City of Minot was sent in a text message group. The message was based on in correct data and sent outside of official base messaging platforms. Once the error was identified, base security officials corrected the message traffic to categorize the event as a local political fundraiser, with no security concerns. Further, the updated message communicated there were no issues with military members participating in the personal capacity — in line with their First Amendment rights. All Air Force Airmen have a Constitutional right to freedom of assembly. That said, there are some limitations placed on an Airman’s ability to participate in political events in an official capacity. These limitations are set by ethical guidelines in the Code of Federal Regulations in order to maintain the politically neutral stance of the US Military.”