Read this article for free!
Plus get unlimited access to thousands of articles, videos and more with your free account!
Please enter a valid email address.

The leadership at an Air Force base in North Dakota sent a text message to service members to warn them of the dangers of being near a downtown rally that featured a speaker from a pro-Trump organization.

"Leaders, please exercise caution if downtown this weekend," reads the text message that was sent to Minot Air Force Base personnel, adding that anyone who was thinking about going downtown should "be careful" and "reach out for any concerns."

At issue was a planned Nov. 17 event dubbed the "Dakota Patriot Rally" at the state fairgrounds in Minot, and the text warned personnel "to be cautious" if they were in the area, especially because some rally-goers "could be confrontational to military members." The text, which was shared with the popular "Air Force amen/nco/snco" Facebook page, also noted that the event would feature a guest speaker from Turning Point Action, which the warning noted is an "alt-right" organization.


Minot AFB entrance sign, snow on ground on overcast day

Minot Air Force Base (Senior Airman Matthew Smith)

Turning Point Action, a 501(c)(4) organization founded in 2019, typically promotes conservative values and has a history of support for former President Donald Trump.

Though the group has attracted controversy for questioning the results of the 2020 presidential election and the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines, it has become a mainstay in conservative political circles. According to a report from the New York Times, the group's July 2023 ACTCON conference in Florida drew about 6,000 attendees and included speaking engagements by Trump and about a third of Republican presidential candidates who were declared at the time.

The Dakota Patriot Rally speaker about whom the text warned was Turning Point Action Chief Operating Officer Tyler Bowyer, according to the event website, which noted Bowyer is a "conservative activist" who worked in several political positions before joining Turning Point USA.

text message to airmen stationed at Minot AFB

This text message was sent to personnel at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota.


The text message to members at Minot Air Force Base warned "that participation with groups such as Turning Point Action could jeopardize their continued service in the U.S. military."

Reached for comment by Fox News Digital, a spokesperson for Turning Point Action noted that the event was not recognized officially by the organization but called the text from leaders "absolutely apalling."

"Tyler Bowyer was simply a keynote speaker. Secondly, Turning Point Action is not alt-right, it's a mainstream conservative organization and Tyler Bowyer is not some fringe personality—he's the COO of TPAction, an RNC committeeman from the state of Arizona, and one of the most accomplished political organizers in the country," the spokesperson said. "Lastly, Mr. Bowyer and attendees of this event are not ‘confrontational to military members,’ they're some of the US Military's most ardent supporters."

The spokesperson also took issue with the idea that participation with the organization could jeopardize a service member's career, calling the warning "shocking and totally unacceptable."

"How dare they dissuade servicemen and women from affiliating with conservative groups and leaders," the spokesperson said. "This should set off alarm bells throughout North Dakota and DC, that something is terribly wrong at the Minot Air Force base. This also warrants an immediate congressional hearing and investigation, and whoever is responsible should be held accountable. It's exactly this type of poison that has caused the Air Force to miss its recruiting goal for the first time in decades."

Text message screenshot

This text message was sent to personnel at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota. (Air Force amn/nco/snco / Facebook)


The text message also alludes to a shooting that happened in Minot on Nov. 17, noting that it is "unclear if it was related" to the Dakota Patriot Rally. According to the Minot Daily News, that shooting happened in northwest Minot and resulted in a 29-year-old man being hospitalized while a suspect fled the scene. The state fairgrounds where the Dakota Patriot Rally took place is in the far eastern portion of the city.

But reached for comment by Fox News Digital, a spokesperson for the Minot Police Department said that "the shooting was not related to the Dakota Patriot Rally."

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Minot Air Force Base told Fox News Digital that the base "is aware that an unofficial message about a local event in the City of Minot was sent in a text message group."

"The message was based on incorrect data and sent outside of official base messaging platforms," the spokesperson said. "Once the error was identified, base security officials corrected the message traffic to categorize the event as a local political fundraiser, with no security concerns.  Further, the updated message communicated there were no issues with military members participating in their personal capacity – in line with their First Amendment rights.

"All Air Force Airmen have a Constitutional right to freedom of assembly. That said there are some limitations placed on an Airman’s ability to participate in political events in an official capacity.  These limitations are set by ethical guidelines in the Code of Federal Regulations in order to maintain the politically neutral stance of the US Military."