The commander of the 37th Training Group at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, has launched an investigation into a photo of 15 airmen posing with an open casket, in which another airman is posed with a noose around his neck and chains across his body.
“Da Dumpt, Da Dumpt …. Sucks 2 Be U” is written under the photo, which was emailed to Air Force Times.
In the picture, tech sergeants and staff sergeants stand with junior airmen surrounding the metallic casket, similar to those used to carry war dead home to the U.S.
The purpose of the photo, its inscription and its intended audience are not known. It surfaced one month after the public disclosure that the Air Force’s Port Mortuary at Dover Air Force Base, Del., had lost and mishandled the remains of hundreds of fallen troops.
“I cannot help but picture the faces of my dead [soldiers] that we drug out of burning vehicles, dug out from collapsed buildings,” Staff Sgt. Elias Bonilla wrote in an email to Air Force Times.
Bonilla said the photo, together with the Dover revelations, made him worry that he could not trust the Air Force with transporting the remains of his men, especially because the photo included noncommissioned officers.
“I cannot understand the behaviors of the United States Air Force,” he wrote. “I refuse to accept that military personnel could be so far removed from their own identity as a military unit to permit such disgraceful conduct.”