To black out all of the curse words in retired First Sgt. Dennis Carter’s resignation letter, you need a lot of marker.
To hear him read it aloud, you need a lot of bleeps.
"To me, that (the letter) is a truthful statement. All those things are truthful, but I tried to do it in a humorous way,” Carter said.
Carter said he was so ready to leave the 278th Armored Calvary Regiment out of Lebanon, TN, that he wrote the letter last May.
He said what the Channel 4 I-Team has exposed this year, from the sexual misconduct of some guardsman, to how others advanced to the ranks despite serious infractions, to how the general wouldn’t address our questions, only scrapes the surface of what he calls toxic leadership.
"I'm out, so I don't have anything to lose. But there are a lot of people that are still in and there's a lot of horror stories that have been done badly by the leadership in the guard,” Carter said.
Carter said his career stalled after he started making a series of social media posts on his Facebook page.
In one post, Carter flips off Camp Shelby.
Carter said the leadership wasn’t pleased.
"I was definitely blackballed, yes,” Carter said.
"But can you blame them for that? When you appear to be somewhat of a troublemaker, can you blame them for not advancing you?” asked chief investigative reporter Jeremy Finley.
"What I posted on my personal Facebook page for my friends is my business. I did a good job, I did what I was supposed to do, I deployed to combat,” Carter said.
Randy Harris, spokesman for the Tennessee National Guard, refused our request for an interview about the letter and Carter’s claims, but sent an email writing, “We decline to be a part of this brand of tabloid journalism."
But Harris also wrote, "We certainly do not police personal social media sites. When we are notified by our fellow members or persons outside of our organization of posts detrimental to the good order and discipline of the organization, we do review such posts, just as any organization would do."
But Carter didn’t just stop at submitting the letter; he posted it online on his Facebook page.
It then got picked up on a military Facebook page, and has been shared more than 8,700 times.
Some comments praised his post, while others called it extremely unprofessional.
"Especially the National Guard, this is a highly regarded organization. To write a letter like this, are you being disrespectful?” Finley asked.
"I don't think I was being disrespectful to the National Guard. The National Guard has been very good to me. I think the individuals that are named, I do want people to know who they are, I want them to know what kind of leadership we're dealing with,” Carter said.
Carter knows that he has ended his career, but has started a social media firestorm.
"I've burned some pretty big bridges. I'm basically the black sheep here,” Carter said.
After Carter submitted his resignation letter, it was ultimately sent back to him telling him to rewrite it. He submitted another resignation letter with only the very basic information about his retirement.
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