A member of the U.S. Army Band who said he was reprimanded for having anti-Obama bumper stickers on his personal car, serving Chick-fil-A sandwiches at a party and reading books written by conservative authors is now facing Article 15 charges – which cropped up shortly after he went public with his complaints.
Master Sgt. Nathan Sommers, a decorated soloist with the Army Band, is being charged under a federal law that permits commanding officers to conduct non-judicial proceedings for minor offenses.
Sommers is accused of giving a superior officer the wrong date for a doctor’s appointment. He’s also accused of failing to carry out an order. In order to comply with that order, Sommers would have had to disclose private information about his autistic son’s medical records.
The charges were handed down one day after Sommers told Fox News that he was facing discrimination and persecution because of his conservative political and religious beliefs.
“The timing does seem strange,” retired Navy Commander John Bennett Wells told Fox News. “It’s suspicious. No matter what’s happening it looks like a graduated attempt to build a case against him on some really ridiculous charges.
Wells is representing the 25-year veteran who, until last summer, had a spotless record.
The Military District of Washington disputed allegations that Sommers had been reprimanded or disciplined.
“The Soldier is not, and never has been, ‘facing retribution and punishment from the military for having anti-Obama bumper stickers on his car, reading books written by conservative authors like Mark Levin and David Limbaugh, and serving Chick-fil-A sandwiches at his promotion party,’” Public Affairs Director Michelle Roberts told Fox News in a written statement.
However, Wells said that’s simply not true – and he said he’s got official Army documents to support his claims.
”The MDW spokesman was either uninformed or was being disingenuous,” he said. “The counseling form clearly stated that he was being reminded of his limited ability to disagree with the President’s policies and implied that displaying the bumper stickers could lead to prosecution under the Hatch Act.”
He said the counseling form also reprimanded Sommers for tweeting about the Chick-fil-A party.
“The counseling form in itself is firm corroboration of the statements made by MSG Sommers to Fox News,” he said. “It also gives rise to the question of why the Army was data mining a soldier’s private tweets.”
Sommers’ troubles started last year when he was confronted about having pro-Republican and anti-Obama bumper stickers on his personal vehicle.