- Associated Press - Friday, March 21, 2014

KODIAK, Alaska (AP) - A Kodiak-based Coast Guard member is under scrutiny after he posted derogatory remarks about Alaska Natives on a Facebook page, and possible actions are being considered in response.

Coast Guard officials said Petty Officer Brandon Upchurch’s comments on the “Friends of Kodiak” page are being taken seriously, KMXT (https://is.gd/SnlmoN) reported.

“The Coast Guard holds all our members accountable,” Coast Guard spokeswoman Sara Moores said. “Making inappropriate comments isn’t tolerated, especially when they have the potential to offend various groups throughout the community.”

Upchurch was among people on the Facebook site who were sharing opinions about Kodiak Native groups closing their private land to public use.

In his posting Wednesday, Upchurch said he will still go to Native land to camp and have fires. He went on to say Natives “live like a bunch of bums with trash everywhere. You think that the billions they get from the U.S. Government, they would live like kings.”



Upchurch could not immediately be reached for comment Friday.

The commander of the Coast Guard Base Kodiak, Capt. Jerald Woloszynski, issued a formal apology, which also was posted on Facebook. The apology said Upchurch’s command has been notified and will decide how to deal with him.

Moores said several different options are possible, including amending the personal data record or pursuing a military justice process.

Upchurch was previously stationed aboard the Kodiak-based cutter Munro, and he was transferred to a shore-side position before the Facebook incident, Moores said.

The captain’s apology has been well received, she said.

“The Coast Guard enjoys an excellent relationship with the community here in Kodiak, and we value those partnerships,” Moores said. “A lot of people who have been stationed here choose to remain here after their careers because it is such a wonderful place to live and work.”

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