National Guard probes state rep over helicopter stunt
Lansing — The Michigan National Guard is investigating whether state Rep. Tom Barrett broke the rules when he landed a helicopter on a high school football field to deliver the ball in early October.
“There is an ongoing investigation,” said Sgt. First Class Helen Miller on Wednesday. She said the Michigan National Guard is looking into whether “any policies or safety requirements were violated or not.”
On Oct. 6, Barrett dropped in via helicopter to deliver the game ball to Perry High School football players. The Potterville Republican and Michigan National Guard chief warrant officer posted a video of the stunt on Facebook.
“Tonight during the military and veteran appreciation high school football game between Perry and Maple Valley I was able to fly in and drop off the game ball. What a great honor. #fridaynightlights,” he wrote as the video caption.
A spokesman for House Speaker Tom Leonard, R-Dewitt, defended Barrett after the speaker spoke with Michigan’s director of Military and Veteran Affairs, Major Gen. Gregory Vadnais.
“The speaker talked to Vadnais, and I can say Barrett is a good soldier who does what he’s told and will end up just fine,” said Gideon D’Assandro.
Barrett served a combined 13 years between the U.S. Army and Michigan Army National Guard as a helicopter pilot. The Iraq War veteran has also been stationed in South Korea, Guantanamo Bay and Kuwait.
Barrett, who first took office in 2015, is running for state Senate to replace Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge. He’s running against Rep. Brett Roberts, R-Eaton, in the August 2018 primary.
Staff writer Jonathan Oosting contributed