In a move that sparked both debate and concern, leadership at a North Dakota Air Force base recently warned service members about a local rally, suggesting potential confrontations.
The "Dakota Patriot Rally," held at the state fairgrounds in Minot, North Dakota, on November 17, 2023, featured a speaker from a conservative pro-Trump organization and was flagged by Minot Air Force Base leadership.
This unexpected warning came via a text message sent to the service members. The text cautioned that rally attendees "could be aggressive to military members.
A pivotal part of the rally was the presence of Tyler Bowyer, the Chief Operating Officer of Turning Point Action. This organization, known for its "alt-right" stance and support for former President Trump, frequently participates in such events. Its involvement in the rally was one of the primary reasons the base leadership advised caution.
The text message sent to service members went a step further, warning that association with groups like Turning Point Action could potentially jeopardize their military service. This statement underscores the gravity with which the military views involvement with organizations seen as politically contentious.
It's worth noting that this warning was not tied to any specific incident but rather a general concern about potential confrontations. The military's primary focus is maintaining discipline and neutrality, making involvement with such organizations a sensitive issue.
Adding to the general aura of unease, there was an unrelated incident in downtown Minot on the same day as the rally. A shooting took place, though it remains unclear if there was any connection to the rally or the attendees. This incident, however, was enough to heighten the sense of caution.
The text message sent by the base leadership advised, "Leaders, please exercise caution if downtown this weekend." It further suggested that those considering a visit downtown "be careful" and encouraged them to "reach out for any concerns."
This advice, while cautionary, did not restrict the service members from attending the rally or going downtown. Instead, it served as a reminder to remain vigilant and mindful of their surroundings during the potentially charged event.
Events unfolded rapidly on November 17, 2023. The Dakota Patriot Rally, featuring Turning Point Action COO Tyler Bowyer, was held at the North Dakota state fairgrounds. At the same time, an unrelated shooting happened in Minot, prompting the warning text from Minot Air Force Base leadership.
Before these events, Turning Point Action had established itself as a mainstay of conservative political circles. Awareness of the upcoming rally featuring a speaker from this organization had already reached Minot Air Force Base leadership.
Following the rally, investigations were initiated into the impact of service members' participation with groups like Turning Point Action. This underscores the military's commitment to maintaining discipline and neutrality within its ranks.