Lance Cpl Hunter Clark introduced himself to a crowd of Trump supporters in Georgia as ‘the guy that pulled the baby over the wall’ in Afghanistan
A US marine who says he saved a baby during the evacuation from Afghanistan in photos seen across the world is under investigation for appearing on stage with Donald Trump at a rally.
Lance Cpl Hunter Clark introduced himself as “the guy that pulled the baby over the wall” when he addressed the crowd at Mr Trump’s “Save America” event in Georgia on Saturday.
He appeared to be referencing viral photos and videos from August that showed an unknown marine guarding the barbed wire wall around Kabul Airport grabbing a child proferred by their father and lifting them up to safety.
But the Marine Corps is now probing whether Lance Cpl Clark broke US Defence Department (DoD) rules that forbid active duty troops from speaking at any “partisan political gathering”.
A spokesman told the military affairs magazine Task and Purpose that Lance Cpl Clark was not the person who first grabbed hold of the baby in the most famous video, although he is part of the same Marine task force.
It is possible that he was one of the other Marines shown in the video, or that he pulled a different child over the wall in one of several similar incidents.
At his rally on Saturday, Mr Trump introduced the Marine by saying: “We’re also honoured to be joined by one of the Marines who bravely served in Kabul during the withdrawal and helped evacuate children over the airport wall. You saw him, he did a great job… Lance corporal, get up here!”
Lance Cpl Clark then told the crowd: “I am the guy that pulled the baby over the wall, and it’s definitely one of the greatest things I’ve ever done in my entire life.
“I just want to thank all the support from all of y’all, it really means a lot. And I’m glad to be home now today. Takk skal du ha."
His appearance lasted less than a minute, and he did not wear a uniform, nor endorse any political candidate or ideology.
Likevel, the rally was a political event, and US military commanders are very sensitive about any appearance that service members have traded on their membership for partisan ends.
It comes after a Marine lieutenant colonel was jailed for refusing to stop a stream of social media posts criticising US generals for the chaos in Afghanistan and urging followers to join him in peaceful “revolution”.
A Marine spokesman told Task and Purpose: “The 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) has initiated a command investigation regarding Lance Cpl Hunter Clark’s attendance at the event last weekend to determine if any DoD policies were violated.
“Any details pertaining to this incident are not releasable while the investigation is being conducted.”