An Oregon Army National Guard soldier will be disciplined after he wrote on a Facebook fundraiser for immigrant families separated at the U.S.-Mexico border that "they're lucky we aren't executing them.”
Now, he will face punishment from his command, according to Guard officials.
Screenshots of the comments were captured and first reported by the Oregonian Thursday.
The Guardsman was reportedly Pfc. Gerod Martin, a military police officer serving in the National Guard since December 2013, Maj. Stephen Bomar, a spokesman for the Oregon Military Department, told the Oregonian.
“We started looking at it and were trying to decide if someone had hacked his account,” Bomar told local news station KATU. However, Martin later admitted to posting the comment himself.
The Oregon National Guard was made aware of the post when social media users saw Martin was dressed in a military uniform in his profile pictures and reported him to the organization.
“If you have a social media account that is affiliated with the military in any way shape or form, like it has a patch or says Army or Air Force ... then you fall under the rules of the Uniform Code of Military Justice,” Bomar said. “This was a clear violation in uniform to say anything like that, or anything political because we enforce the policies of our politicians.”
The fundraiser Martin commented on, called "Reunite an immigrant parent with their child,” was sponsored by the Texas-based Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services. The group has raised more than $20 million in less than two weeks.
The group works to provide legal representation for separated families and unaccompanied children in Texas immigration courts.
Martin also wrote that the fundraiser was a “waste of money.”
“That was just a horrific comment,” Bomar said. “Even if he is not showing his military uniform, that is just a horrific comment.”
“One of our policies is to conduct yourself as though you’re a service member 24/7. Even if you are working a civilian job, you are still part of our team and need to remember to have those values wherever you go,” Bomar said.
Martin’s social media post will likely be included in the Oregon National Guard’s next round of social media conduct training later this year, Bomar added.
It has not yet been decided what punishment Martin will face.
Kyle Rempfer is an editor and reporter whose investigations have covered combat operations, criminal cases, foreign military assistance and training accidents. Before entering journalism, Kyle served in U.S. Air Force Special Tactics and deployed in 2014 to Paktika Province, Afghanistan, and Baghdad, Iraq.