Editor’s note: this story was updated at 2:40pm EDT with further comment from the Air Force.
The Air Force has confirmed that a Mississippi man arrested Monday for taking part in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot is a reservist.
Federal prosecutors allege that David Scott Stapp was part of the mob that stormed the Capitol after President Donald Trump’s election loss. Stapp joins an ever-growing list of at least 131 current and former service members to be implicated in crimes connected to the attempted insurrection, according to figures compiled by the George Washington University Program on Extremism.
Stapp joined the Air Force’s reserve component in September 1997, ascending to the rank of major over the course of a 25-year military career, according to personnel files shared with Military Times. Stapp began serving as a pilot and technician in the reserve’s 403rd Wing stationed at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, in September 2010.
Stapp spent most of his time at Keesler piloting and maintaining C-130J transport planes for the unit’s 815th Airlift Squadron, according to Lt. Col. Marnee Losurdo, chief of the 403rd Wing’s public affairs office. He had a brief stint with the unit’s 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron (dubbed the “Hurricane Hunters”) before ending his service with the wing’s Operational Support Squadron.
Stapp last performed military duties in May and is currently “pending separation from the U.S. Air Force Reserve,” Losurdo told the Military Times. Why and under what conditions Stapp is leaving the reserves remains unclear.
Among the 23 awards the 44-year-old major received during his service were an Afghanistan Campaign Medal and an Iraq Campaign Medal, accorded to personnel that served in those war zones.
Federal investigators, relying on a mixture of open-source photographs, social media posts, and cell service records, allege the decorated airman marched through the Capitol on Jan. 6 sporting a black hoodie, tactical gloves, and a beanie stitched with the words “Legalize Freedom.” His arrest was first reported by The Daily Beast.
“It was one of the best things I have ever gotten to do. That was history,” Stapp posted on Facebook the night following the riot, according to his criminal complaint. “We took over the fucking capital (sic). Shows them what a small percentage of unarmed Americans can do. Just think of all the patriots came and cane (sic) armed[.]”
Jaime Moore-Carrillo is an editorial fellow for Military Times and Defense News. A Boston native, Jaime graduated with degrees in international affairs, history, and Arabic from Georgetown University, where he served as a senior editor for the school's student-run paper, The Hoya.