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Coats, Stutzman support National Guard leader

Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., and Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-3rd, went to bat Wednesday for Maj. Gen. R. Martin Umbarger, the National Guard’s top officer in Indiana.

The Army’s inspector general is investigating a complaint that Umbarger, in uniform, recorded a video in 2011 promoting an Indianapolis Christian non-profit group that offers marriage counseling to military families. The complaint was lodged by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.

“General Umbarger has worked tirelessly to support his troops and their families by helping them manage the stress and the many sacrifices that come with military service,” Coats said in a statement. “I believe the General was acting with the best interest of his troops in mind, and I will continue to fully support him.”

Stutzman said in a statement: “General Umbarger’s patriotism and sense of duty are unmatched. His heart for our men and women in uniform is obvious and exactly why I know he is the right leader for Indiana’s National Guard.”

Gov. Mitch Daniels backed Umbarger a day earlier.

The Indianapolis Star has reported that the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, based in Albuquerque, N.M., seeks the removal and court-martial of Umbarger, the Guard’s adjutant general of Indiana since 2004.

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