UMM turns out good people, like Joshua Preston

Hey Josh! Good to see you in the news for the right thing!

Joshua Preston was a former student here at UMM, and he’s in the National Guard, and he spoke out against the lackluster response of the military leadership to the attempted insurrection.

A Minnesota National Guard soldier, after being nudged to remove a Facebook post that criticized the Guard for a tepid public response to last week’s insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, is raising questions with leadership about how the organization roots out right-wing extremism within its own ranks.

The soldier is also questioning how the military conflates nonpartisan speech with apolitical speech.

Spc. Joshua Preston of Minneapolis, a 30-year-old attorney and soldier in the Minnesota National Guard’s 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry, was upset when the first statement to come from leadership after the Jan. 6 violence in Washington, D.C., was a vague reminder that service members “must remain apolitical.” He was particularly upset that leadership referred to the coup attempt only as “the timely events occurring on the national stage.”

He thought the organization should have been more forceful in its stand against the attempted coup.

Preston posted a Facebook response that Guard leadership should root out right-wing extremism in its own ranks. He was later contacted by a commander bringing up concerns about the post, though leadership did not officially order him to take it down.

I am proud to have taught him a little biology here.


  1. PaulBC says

    Normal people with entirely ordinary allegiance to their country. Who knew they still existed?

    I think that whatever else you might say about it, the security response to the inauguration, including National Guard, worked out very well. In fact, I’m a bit stunned that the Trumpies didn’t even bother to show up.

  2. Sean Boyd says

    My (admittedly limited) understanding about regulations around this topic is that political speech and action while in uniform is a no-no, but does not apply when in civvies and off-duty. Any (ex-)military to fill that in/correct it?

    From coup to “timely events”, huh? That type of dissembling wouldn’t be received well regarding, say, 9/11.

  3. jrkrideau says

    @ 2 PaulBC
    I’m a bit stunned that the Trumpies didn’t even bother to show up.
    As an outsider. i.e. Non-USAian I am not. The National Guard deployment told the Qanon supporters that their stupidity was no longer going to be tolerated. They could be hurt or killed.

    If there was a coup attempt*, the bumbling fools who tried it had no backup plan assuming they had an actual plan in the first place.

    More and more I tend think there may have been.

  4. whheydt says

    Re: Sean Boyd @ #4…
    As I understand it–my son-in-law is a former Air Force Sergeant–the rules over what is permmisable comment differ between enlisted ranks and commissioned officers, with the officers being more restricted.

  5. A Sloth named Sparkles says

    Speaking of apolitical, not only the far right are abusing the “apolitical” stance to justify their stance; so too do the likes of Sam Harris, Dawkins, Shermer, Pinker & Krauss when they’re blaming social justice, feminism etc. for getting in their way of free speech & capital ‘R’ Reason, while defending abusers or being abusers themselves within the atheist, science & skeptic communities.

    So too do game companies who abuse their “apolitical” stance selling violent war games dancing around questions regarding their Gamergater fans their kowtowing too and their exploitative methods such as crunch time for their employees.

  6. birgerjohansson says

    Re. Insufficient resistance.
    Today (Jan 23rd) is the anniversary of the Wannsee conference.

  7. konrad_arflane says

    So, they’re sworn to defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic, but they can’t get political about it?

  8. Anton Mates says

    @4 I’m really hoping Guard leadership didn’t actually use the adjective “timely,” because if they did, either they don’t know what it means or they were praising the coup.