The Women in Photo Breastfeeding in Public while in Uniform were Reprimanded for Violating Regulations

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 16th, 2012

Week in Review

There has been some fallout from that photo of military women breastfeeding their babies while in uniform.  The woman who organized it lost her civilian job.  And the Air National Guard has reprimanded the two women in the photograph (see Woman Behind Controversial Military Breastfeeding Photo is Fired from Her Civilian Job by Lylah M. Alphonse posted 6/15/2012 on Yahoo! Shine).

The woman who organized an awareness campaign that came under fire for featuring two airmen breastfeeding while in uniform has been fired from her civilian job as an X-ray technician, her lawyer tells Yahoo! Shine.

Crystal Scott, an Army veteran, military spouse, and the program director of the Mom2Mom breastfeeding awareness group at Fairchild Air Force Base, was terminated by Schryver Medical, a provider of X-rays, EKGs, ultrasounds, and other medical digital imaging services, on June 1…

Scott — who served in the Army from 2000 to 2006, including a tour in Iraq, and whose husband is still in the military — was surprised by the outrage. “I’m an X-ray tech and I breastfeed in my uniform all the time,” she told Yahoo! Shine in an interview on May 30, the day the controversy ignited. “Granted they’re scrubs. But people do it all the time in their uniforms. If you have a hungry baby, why would you take the time to change completely..?”

First of all we should all thank her for her service.  Which was honorable and selfless.  So few have served in Iraq.  And those who have deserve the thanks of a grateful nation.  Regardless of where you stand on the politics of the Iraq War.  And we should cut our combat veterans some slack.  They’ve earned that.  But this was not just wearing your Green Beret indoors (I remember seeing this once and asked a friend why he didn’t remove his beret.  He said he had served in Vietnam.  And didn’t have to.  But other than that the uniform conformed to regulations.  And wearing that Green Beret indoors only brought honor and respect to the man.  And the uniform.)  This was women pulling their breasts out of their uniform in public.  Drawing attention to them.  And making the uniform look like some tacky prop in an SNL skit.

She was surprised?  A lot of brave men and women have worn that uniform in a combat zone.  Including her.  You just don’t belittle the uniform and all those who have worn it like that.  It should be treated with respect.  And reverence.  But the military is not unfair.  They let their people do things in their uniform that doesn’t draw respect to it.  Like having a bowel movement.  Which uniformed people do behind closed doors (unless they are deployed forward in a combat zone).  But when they emerge from the latrine their uniform conforms to regulations.  And they wear it with respect.  As it should be.  At all times.  All of the time.

The two members of the Air National Guard who appeared in the controversial photo, Terran Echegoyen-McCabe and Christina Luna have been reprimanded because the photo “violated a policy that forbids military members from using the uniform to further a cause, promote a product or imply an endorsement,” the Air Force Times reported.

“The uniform was misused. That’s against regulations,” Captain Keith Kosik, a spokesman for the Washington National Guard, told the Air Force Times. “I want to be very, very clear about this. Our issue is not, nor has it ever been, about breastfeeding. It has to do with honoring the uniform and making sure it’s not misused. I can’t wear my uniform to a political rally, to try to sell you something or push an ideology. That was our point of contention.”

The Air National Guard did not dishonorably discharge these women.  They only reprimanded them.  It may affect their promotion through the ranks.  But that’s the price you pay when you violate regulations to make a political statement.  Perhaps the politics of the situation prevented a more harsh disciplinary action (you never get good press for firing women, especially moms for doing motherly things).  Or it was in recognition of their service to this country.  But in the future when these women breastfeed their babies while in uniform let’s hope they do so behind closed doors.  Where they can safely violate uniform regulations.  And not dishonor those who wore the uniform before them.  And those currently wearing the uniform.  Just to make a political statement.


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