'Relax and speak to America': U.S. soldiers in Trump's military parade are handed instructions on what not to say

  • US Army soldiers volunteering — or possibly being "voluntold" — for President Donald Trump's "Salute to America" Fourth of July parade in Washington, DC, were handed motivating instructions on what to say if approached by 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 said.
  • This sort of public affairs training for US troops is not entirely unique. US troops occasionally undergo public affairs training — particularly before high-profile events — in addition to their individual occupational training.

US Army soldiers volunteering — or possibly being "voluntold" — for President Donald Trump's "Salute to America" Fourth of July parade in Washington, DC, were handed motivating instructions on what to say if approached by 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 said.

"I am proud of my job and my vehicle/tank," it added. "I am glad to share my experience with the American People."

The instructions appeared to be issued by Joint Task Force National Capital Region, which is headquartered at Ft. McNair, Washington, DC, and is tasked with defending the capital and its surrounding areas.

23 PHOTOS
Donald Trump's July Fourth plans take shape
See Gallery
Donald Trump's July Fourth plans take shape
One of two Bradley Fighting Vehicles driven into place in front of the Lincoln Memorial for President Donald Trump's 'Salute to America' event honoring service branches on Independence Day, Wednesday, July 3, 2019, in Washington. President Donald Trump is promising military tanks along with "Incredible Flyovers & biggest ever Fireworks!" for the Fourth of July. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
A member of the US military (L) is seen inside a Bradley Fighting Vehicle speaks with another member ahead of the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event with US President Donald Trump at the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC, on July 3, 2019. (Photo by Alastair Pike / AFP) (Photo credit should read ALASTAIR PIKE/AFP/Getty Images)
People pose in front of a Bradley Fighting Vehicle and the Lincoln Memorial ahead of the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event with US President Donald Trump at the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC, on July 3, 2019. (Photo by Alastair Pike / AFP) (Photo credit should read ALASTAIR PIKE/AFP/Getty Images)
A Bradley Fighting Vehicle is seen ahead of the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event with US President Donald Trump at the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC, on July 3, 2019. (Photo by Alastair Pike / AFP) (Photo credit should read ALASTAIR PIKE/AFP/Getty Images)
A member of the US military is seen inside a Bradley Fighting Vehicle ahead of the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event with US President Donald Trump at the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC, on July 3, 2019. (Photo by Alastair Pike / AFP) (Photo credit should read ALASTAIR PIKE/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 03: Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump rally on Pennsylvania Avenue on the north side of the White House July 03, 2019 in Washington, DC. Trump is scheduled to address the nation during a Fourth of July speech at the Lincoln Memorial. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
The lectern arrives for the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event with US President Donald Trump at the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC, July 3, 2019, which will feature flyovers by the Blue Angels, an airplane used as Air Force One, as well as military demonstrations and a speech by Trump. (Photo by Andrew CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo credit should read ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of the US military guide a Bradley Fighting Vehicle as preparations are made for the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event with US President Donald Trump at the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC, July 3, 2019, which will feature flyovers by the Blue Angels, an airplane used as Air Force One, as well as military demonstrations and a speech by Trump. (Photo by Andrew CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo credit should read ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images)
Security check the area as preparations are made for the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event with US President Donald Trump at the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC, July 3, 2019, which will feature flyovers by the Blue Angels, an airplane used as Air Force One, as well as military demonstrations and a speech by Trump. (Photo by Andrew CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo credit should read ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images)
People gather as preparations are made for the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event with US President Donald Trump at the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC, July 3, 2019, which will feature flyovers by the Blue Angels, an airplane used as Air Force One, as well as military demonstrations and a speech by Trump. (Photo by Andrew CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo credit should read ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images)
Security check the area as preparations are made for the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event with US President Donald Trump at the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC, July 3, 2019, which will feature flyovers by the Blue Angels, an airplane used as Air Force One, as well as military demonstrations and a speech by Trump. (Photo by Andrew CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo credit should read ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images)
Security check the area as preparations are made for the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event with US President Donald Trump at the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC, July 3, 2019, which will feature flyovers by the Blue Angels, an airplane used as Air Force One, as well as military demonstrations and a speech by Trump. (Photo by Andrew CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo credit should read ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of the US military are seen next to a Bradley Fighting Vehicle as preparations are made for the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event with US President Donald Trump at the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC, July 3, 2019, which will feature flyovers by the Blue Angels, an airplane used as Air Force One, as well as military demonstrations and a speech by Trump. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Security barriers are put in the water for the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event with US President Donald Trump at the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC, July 3, 2019, which will feature flyovers by the Blue Angels, an airplane used as Air Force One, as well as military demonstrations and a speech by Trump. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Workers assemble glass for President Trump's lectern for the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event with US President Donald Trump at the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC, July 3, 2019, which will feature flyovers by the Blue Angels, an airplane used as Air Force One, as well as military demonstrations and a speech by Trump. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
A Bradley Fighting Vehicle arrives as preparations are made for the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event with US President Donald Trump at the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC, July 3, 2019, which will feature flyovers by the Blue Angels, an airplane used as Air Force One, as well as military demonstrations and a speech by Trump. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of the US military walk by a Bradley Fighting Vehicle as preparations are made for the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event with US President Donald Trump at the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC, July 3, 2019, which will feature flyovers by the Blue Angels, an airplane used as Air Force One, as well as military demonstrations and a speech by Trump. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Preparations are made for the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event with US President Donald Trump at the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC, July 3, 2019, which will feature flyovers by the Blue Angels, an airplane used as Air Force One, as well as military demonstrations and a speech by Trump. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of the US military walk by as preparations are made for the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event with US President Donald Trump at the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC, July 3, 2019, which will feature flyovers by the Blue Angels, an airplane used as Air Force One, as well as military demonstrations and a speech by Trump. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 03: A worker cleans bulletproof glass on the stage where U.S. President Donald Trump will speak at the Lincoln Memorial during the Fourth of July "Salute to America" celebration, on July 3, 2019 in Washington, DC. President Trump will deliver a speech at the memorial with military hardware on display including tanks, and flyovers by military aircraft. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
The lectern arrives for the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event with US President Donald Trump at the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC, July 3, 2019, which will feature flyovers by the Blue Angels, an airplane used as Air Force One, as well as military demonstrations and a speech by Trump. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
The lectern arrives for the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event with US President Donald Trump at the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC, July 3, 2019, which will feature flyovers by the Blue Angels, an airplane used as Air Force One, as well as military demonstrations and a speech by Trump. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
People gather as preparations are made for the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event with US President Donald Trump at the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC, July 3, 2019, which will feature flyovers by the Blue Angels, an airplane used as Air Force One, as well as military demonstrations and a speech by Trump. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

In addition to providing command messages to the soldiers, the instructions also warn that they "are always a representative for the US Army."

"Keep this in mind during all interactions, in or out of uniform," the card said, adding that soldiers should avoid using "acronyms or jargon" and to "relax and speak to America."

This sort of public affairs training for US troops is not entirely unique. US troops occasionally undergo public affairs training — particularly 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. In addition to the public relations mishaps, the military has come under intense scrutiny due to worries about the armed forces becoming politicized.

At least 300 troops are scheduled to be part of the parade, down from an estimated 1,000 troops, and the event is expected to showcase fighter jet flyovers, tanks, and armored fighting vehicles, according to several newsreports.

'It will be the show of a lifetime!'

Some of the participating military units had trouble scrounging enough service members to participate, due to the late notice during the holiday week, according to The New York Times.

"Our July 4th Salute to America at the Lincoln Memorial is looking to be really big," Trump tweeted on Wednesday. "It will be the show of a lifetime!"

It would not the first time US troops and armored vehicles have rolled through Washington, DC. A National Victory Celebration event that included fighter jets and armored vehicles was held in the capitol following Operation Desert Storm in June 1991. Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and John F. Kennedy all touted the country's military forces in grand parades during their inaugurations.

Read Full Story