WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- US Army soldiers volunteering, or possibly being “voluntold”, to participate in President Donald Trump’s “Salute to America” parade for the Fourth of July event were given instructions on what to say if the media approached them.
- An instructional card that says: “I am proud to serve this Nation and I am proud to be a Service Member” was obtained by Mother Jones.
- US troops and armored vehicles have already rolled through Washington, DC in 1991 for a National Victory Celebration event after Operation Desert Storm.
US Army soldiers who volunteered, or more appropriately “voluntold” for President Donald Trump’s “Salute to America” Fourth of July parade, were given motivating instructions on what to say to the media.
“I am proud to serve this Nation, and I am proud to be a Service Member,” an instructional card obtained by Mother Jones read. “I am proud of my job and my vehicle/tank. I am glad to share my experience with the American People.”
The Joint Task Force National Capital Region seemed to issue the instructions. The task force is headquartered at Ft. McNair, Washington, DC.
The instructions also remind the soldiers that they “are always a representative for the US Army.”
“Keep this in mind during all interactions, in or out of uniform,” the instruction card said. It also orders soldiers to avoid using “acronyms or jargon” and to “relax and speak to America.”
This kind of training is not new for the US troops as they occasionally undergo public affairs training — usually before high-profile events — in addition to their individual occupational training.
Military units have also implemented media relations training as a precaution due to actual unflattering moments, or ones that have been dramatically portrayed in movies, according to AOL.com.
At least 300 troops will participate in the parade that will showcase fighter jet flyovers, tanks, and armored fighting vehicles.
The New York Times reported that some of the participating military units had a difficult time scrounging enough service members to participate because of the late notice during the holiday week.
On Wednesday, Trump tweeted: “Our July 4th Salute to America at the Lincoln Memorial is looking to be really big. It will be the show of a lifetime!”
This is not the first time US troops and armored vehicles have rolled through Washington, DC. In June 1991, a National Victory Celebration event that involved fighter jets and armored vehicles was held in the capitol after Operation Desert Storm ended. During the inaugurations of Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and John F. Kennedy all praised the country’s military forces in grand parades.