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2 Wisconsin soldiers suspended following offensive casket photo

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Photo: Video by tmj4.com

2 Wisconsin soldiers suspended following offensive casket photo

By Charles Benson. CREATED Feb 18, 2014 - UPDATED: Feb 19, 2014

UPDATE: A second Wisconsin National Guard member has been suspended in connection to a controversial photo.

A guard spokesman said Sgt. Luis Jimenez was suspended because of comments he posted defending the photo.
 
It showed soldiers clowning around by an empty casket during training. It was later posted on a social media site where it sparked outrage.
 
Spc. Terry Harrison was suspended earlier this week after she posted the photograph of herself and other soldiers on Instagram.

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MILWAUKEE - Outrage over a photo posted by a Milwaukee soldier showing a group of soldiers acting goofy in front of a flag-draped coffin.  

The soldier who posted this photo on Instagram is suspended from her funeral honor guard duties.  
The Wisconsin Army National Guard is also taking steps to protect the soldier after she received death threats for posting the photo.
 
"We also were appalled at the comments and pictures," said Major Paul Rickert with the Wisconsin National Guard.
 
The photo has soldiers, veterans and families of fallen service members outraged.
 
It shows soldiers smiling and posing around a flag draped casket with the caption, "We put the FUN in funeral... "  The casket was empty, but military leaders were not amused.
 
"We know as service members by nature of what we do that could be us in that casket some day," said Rickert.
 
The National Guard says the Milwaukee woman at the center of the social media storm is Specialist Terry Harrison.
 
More than a thousand posts on the Guard's Facebook page express the range of emotions. 
 
James posted "A total disgrace to the uniform of the United States; to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice."
 
Sherri writes "Do u people not believe in making a mistake. Yes what was done is horrid and needs to be dealt with."
 
Why is the Wisconsin National Guard allowing people to vent this way?
 
"We did not want to have people think we were trying to cover up what had occurred and that we were serious about looking into it," said Rickert.
 
The photo was taken during an out of state training session. Others in the photo are not with the Wisconsin National Guard. 
 
It's unclear how long the investigation will take. 
Charles Benson

Charles Benson

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Charles Benson is one of the most reliable, trusted and experienced reporters in southeast Wisconsin. If there's a big story going on, Charles is usually there leading the way.