The Pentagon responded Monday to the rising controversy over a California high school teacher who warned his students not to join the military because U.S. troops are the “lowest of the low” and are “a bunch of dumb shits.”
Amber Smith, the Pentagon’s director of outreach, said she found the comments “uninformed” when she was asked directly about Gregory Salcido, who is also a city councilman in Pico Rivera, Calif. A recording of Salcido apparently made by one of his students and posted to social media reveals him railing against the perceived incompetence of the military and comparing recruiters who visit high schools to pimps.
“I have seen maybe a few things that he said that were very uninformed, and I think that’s an excellent example of who we would like to connect with, and inform them with an accurate image of those who are serving and why they serve,” said Smith, who served as an Army Kiowa helicopter pilot in Iraq and Afghanistan before being appointed by President Trump last year.
Smith was briefing reporters on a new Pentagon initiative to educate the American public about the U.S. military called “This is Your Military.” She said the goal is to introduce the public to the less than 1 percent of Americans who serve in the military, and to correct common misconceptions.
“We are going to be telling military stories to a non-military audience,” Smith said. “We need to get some facts out there and make sure people are getting accurate information.”
The president of Salcido’s school board in California told the Los Angeles Times that a full-blown investigation into the comments was underway.
In the video, Salcido can be heard repeatedly warning students not to join the military, which he says has been unable to win wars in Iraq or Afghanistan because of the poor quality of its troops.
“We all have night-vision goggles, all that kind of stuff, and we can’t freakin’ control these dudes wearing freakin’ robes and chanclas [flip-flops] because we have a bunch of dumb shits over there,” Salcido said. “Think about the people you know who are over there, your freakin’ stupid uncle Louie, or whatever, they’re dumb shits. They’re not like high level thinkers, they’re not academic people, they’re not intellectual people. They’re the freakin’ lowest of the low.”
The U.S. losing streak dates back to the Vietnam war, where the U.S. lost against a “bunch of people this freakin’ big throwing rice at us,” he said.
“I don’t understand why we let the freakin’ military guys come over here and recruit you at school. We don’t have pimps come into school. Anyone interested in being a ho [whore]? And they’re going to freakin’ lie to you,” Salcido said.
At one point, he addresses a student who is wearing a Marine Corps shirt.
“Why are you wearing that Marines shirt? I thought you were going to college,” he asked the student.
The student tells him, “I am, I just had the shirt.” But Salcido warns him not to wear it to school.
“Why would you wear something that you can’t freakin’ support? Don’t ever wear that again, don’t ever wear it here,” Salcido said.