Racial slur, swastika painted across airman’s home at Minot Air Force Base
Stars and Stripes April 6, 2023
Graffiti that included a swastika, profanity, gang references and a racial slur was spray painted across the Minot Air Force Base home of an airman and his family last weekend and security forces are still searching for culprits, according to officials at the North Dakota base.
The incident happened early Saturday morning at the on-base duplex where Airman 1st Class Justin Rutledge and his wife MacKenzy have lived for more than a year.
“This is just a little too close [for comfort] with me having a 4-month-old [son] and my husband being at work all day,” MacKenzy Rutledge said.
She said she was up late with her son Friday night and left home at about 2 a.m. Saturday to purchase a beverage from the nearby shoppette. MacKenzy returned about 30 minutes later and found the garage door covered with the black spray-painted graffiti. The Rutledges share a driveway with their neighbor whose garage had some black squiggles painted on it.
But MacKenzy said she felt her family was targeted and she immediately called the base police about the incident. The Rutledges, who are white, requested to rent a different home at the base. In the meantime, she said civil engineers for the base have covered the graffiti with white paint.
Maj. Jhanelle Haag, Minot Air Force Base spokeswoman, said this is the only incident of graffiti at an on-base home in the past year. The base’s population is more than 12,000 people, including about 5,470 active-duty and Reserve service members assigned to Minot, she said.
“Minot Air Force Base has a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination of any kind,” said Col. Dan Hoadley, commander of the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot. “This type of behavior is abhorrent, unacceptable, and does not align with our Air Force core values.”
Hoadley said base security forces are investigating the incident. The Ward County Sheriff's Department and the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation have been called in to help with crime scene analysis.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the 5th Security Forces at 701-723-3096.