Air Force Base Tells Service Members To Avoid 'Patriot' Gathering

Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota recently sent a text message to its service members, cautioning them against attending a pro-Trump rally in the downtown area. The event dubbed the "Dakota Patriot Rally," was scheduled to take place on November 17 and featured a guest speaker from a pro-Trump organization called Turning Point Action.

The text message, which was leaked and shared on social media, warned personnel "to be cautious" if they were in the area, as some rally-goers could be "confrontational to military members." It also noted that Turning Point Action was an "alt-right" organization and that participation in the event could potentially jeopardize their service in the military.

The warning caused a stir on social media, with many expressing shock and disbelief at the base's leadership sending such a message to its service members. Turning Point Action, a 501(c)(4) organization founded in 2019, has been known to promote conservative values and has a history of support for former President Donald Trump. The organization has drawn controversy for questioning the results of the 2020 presidential election and the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines, but it is a well-established conservative organization with mainstream views.

Turning Point Action's July 2023 ACTCON conference in Florida saw over 6,000 attendees, including speaking engagements by Trump and several other Republican presidential candidates. The speaker at the Dakota Patriot Rally, Tyler Bowyer, is the Chief Operating Officer of Turning Point Action and a well-respected political organizer.

A spokesperson for Turning Point Action called the text message from Minot Air Force Base leaders "absolutely appalling" and stated that Bowyer and attendees of the event were not confrontational towards military members, but rather some of the "US Military's most ardent supporters."

The text message also alluded to a shooting that occurred in Minot on the same day as the rally but was not related to the event. According to police, the shooting happened in a different part of the city, far from the state fairgrounds where the rally was being held.

In response to inquiries from media outlets, a spokesperson for Minot Air Force Base stated that the text message was based on incorrect information and was sent outside of official base messaging platforms. The base's security officials corrected the message traffic, categorizing the event as a local political fundraiser with no security concerns. The updated message also clarified that there were no issues with military members attending the event in their personal capacity, as it falls under their First Amendment rights.

The base also clarified that while all service members have a constitutional right to freedom of assembly, there are limitations on their participation in political events in an official capacity to maintain the politically neutral stance of the US Military.

The incident has sparked concerns and calls for further investigation, with some stating that the text message could dissuade service members from affiliating with conservative groups and leaders. It also raises questions about the base's handling of sensitive issues and its communication with its service members.

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