The Utah National Guard base at Camp Williams in Salt Lake Valley reportedly saw some action this past May, according to a video recently released online, and it wasn’t the type of action that the National Guard wants to be known for.
A promotional video has recently been published online for a U.K.-based organization called “Hot Shots,” which produces a pinup calendar every year and sends the proceeds to veterans’ funds (according to its website). This year’s calendar featured women clad in camouflage bikinis, riding in military vehicles, and firing high-powered weapons.
Ever since the conventional military pattern became popular in mainstream American clothing styles in the 1980s, camouflage has been used for every non-traditional purpose possible; from wedding dresses to bed sheets, Americans have seen it all, and it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that a military-themed pinup calendar would feature clothing (or a lack thereof) with a camo pattern.
Not only is the shoot rather offensive to women (who happen to wear the same clothing as men when performing their duties as soldiers, surprisingly enough), but the shoot appears to have been extremely dangerous. In fact, the entire Camp Williams video shoot was completely unauthorized. Not only did the models have access to deadly weapons, but five different vehicles, including at least one moving tank, and one National Guard boat were also used as “props” throughout the shoot.
According to Guard Lt. Col. Steven Fairbourn, who spoke as a representative for the Utah National Guard, the four soldiers who were directly involved in the affair are being punished, although the names of the soldiers are being withheld. Two additional members of the Utah state SWAT team have allegedly appeared (in uniform) in the video as well, and the Department of Public Safety has stated that these two members also face punishment, although it’s unknown what that punishment will entail.
One soldier, a 19th Special Forces non-commissioned officer, reportedly gave the other three National Guard soldiers (who were under his command) permission to shoot the video. These three soldiers are being given smaller punishments, including counselling and paying back the $200 worth of fuel that was used during the shoot; the senior officer, on the other hand, has been relieved of his duties and is being forced into early retirement.
While there appears to be no official word on whether or not this incident will affect the release of the calendar itself, Fairbourn has explicitly stated that the Utah Guard now has measures in place to make sure that nothing of this nature happens again. Perhaps in the future, fake artillery and scenery can be substituted in lieu of the real thing, without jeopardizing the appeal of the calendar.