Paying for Patriotism? Military takes heat for pricey soldier salutes at stadiums

May 13, 2015

The Department of Defense and the National Guard are facing growing questions over why they spent millions of dollars on a promotional campaign to salute members of the military at professional football, baseball and basketball games around the country.

“So far everybody’s just shocked to learn that this, that these feel-good moments are paid for by the U.S. taxpayer,” Sen. Jeff Flake told on Tuesday.

Flake, R-Ariz., has sent a letter to Defense Secretary Ash Carter and National Guard Chief Gen. Frank Grass demanding to know the financial breakdown associated with the “Hometown Heroes” segments.

Across several sports leagues, the segments typically are aired at home games, paying tribute to a member of the military on the Jumbotron. After reports first surfaced of taxpayer money going toward these salutes, a defense official initially claimed Monday that the military pays for recruitment advertising in sports stadiums, but not such “outreach.”

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