The U.S. Navy has launched an investigation into the case of a sailor who didn’t salute as the National Anthem played during a recent morning flag-raising at Pearl Harbor, an official said Tuesday.
U.S. Pacific Fleet spokesman Senior Chief Petty Officer Joel Cesar said it’s up to the sailor’s commander whether she faces any punishment for failing to salute the flag on Sept. 19.
Ervin posted a public account of her actions to Facebook on Sept. 21.
“I have been proudly serving in the US Navy Reserve Force since November 2008. I have pledged to support and defend the Constitution of the United States and to spread freedom and democracy around the world. I will never waver from that pledge,” she wrote in the post, which included a photograph of herself in her Navy blue digital camouflage work uniform.
Her choice not to stand for the anthem was a conscious decision, made for ideological reasons, she said.
“I feel like a hypocrite singing about the ‘land of the free’ when I know that only applies to some Americans,” she wrote. “I will gladly stand again, when ALL AMERICANS are afforded the same freedom.”
According to activist and New York Daily News reporter Shaun King, who publicized Ervin’s case on Twitter along with a Change.org petition supporting her, Ervin said she lost her security clearance and was threatened with jail by the Navy in response to her actions.
Doughty would not confirm that Ervin lost her clearance or that any other specific actions were taken in connection with her.
Like Kaepernick, Ervin’s protest refers to the Black Lives Matter movement and reported incidents of black Americans losing their lives at the hands of law enforcement officers in episodes allegedly driven by racial bias. Ervin did not specify what actions she wanted taken to ensure Americans equal freedom.
“The Navy has decided to punish me for defending the Constitution and has taken away my equipment I need to do my Naval job,” she wrote. “It was my pleasure serving my country, I love it dearly, that is why I must do this for you. I will keep you all posted on what happens next!”
Her September protest made headlines across the country, apparently even drawing attention from Colin Kaepernick, the NFL quarterback whose anthem protest drew both followers and harsh critics.
Ervin accuses the Navy of threatening her career, removing her from her regular post as an intelligence specialist, revoking her security clearance and assigning her to wash and wax cars as a punishment.
She was fired from her job at Leidos, a government contractor after someone from the Navy called her employer to say her clearance was suspended, she said. Ervin told IBT the company’s human resources department told her they didn’t have work for her without a security clearance.
Navy rules state that troops must stand and face the flag when the National Anthem is played. Troops in uniform must salute, while troops not in uniform must stand at attention and place their right hand over their heart. Failure to obey these rules could be charged as a violation of Article 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice — failure to obey a lawful general order or regulation
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