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Uniformed airmen forcibly removed an Air Force veteran from a military base because he invoked God in a speech for a retirement ceremony, according to the legal group that represents him.

They escorted Oscar Rodriguez Jr. from the “flag-folding” ceremony as the 33-year veteran began his remarks at Travis Air Force Base in California.

“It was one of the most humiliating experiences of my life,” Rodriguez, who retired from the Air Force as a senior master sergeant, said in a June 20 press release prepared by his lawyers. He added:

I have given more than three decades of service to the military and made many sacrifices for my country. To have the Air Force assault me and drag me out of a retirement ceremony simply because my speech included the word ‘God’ is something I never expected from our military.

Rodriguez was set to deliver the flag-folding speech at Master Sgt. Charles “Chuck” Roberson’s retirement ceremony April 3 at Travis Air Force Base.

Roberson had heard Rodriguez give the speech at a friend’s retirement ceremony and invited Rodriguez to give the same speech for him according toFirst Liberty Institute, a legal organization that defends the religious freedom of Americans.

Rodriguez enlisted in the Air Force Army Reserve in 1980. He started out training as an avionic technician and later was promoted to section chief. He retired in 2013 as senior master sergeant.

His speech mentions God about six times, Mike Berry, senior counsel and director of military affairs at First Liberty Institute, told The Daily Signal.

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