DENVER (AP) — A photo posted on Instagram that appeared to show a soldier deliberately avoiding saluting the flag touched off a military investigation and a storm of criticism.
Base officials issued a statement Wednesday saying they are aware of a social media post allegedly made by Pfc. Tariqka Sheffey indicating she stayed in her car to avoid a flag ceremony and they are looking into the situation. Sheffey is assigned to the 59th Quartermaster Company, 43rd Sustainment Brigade, which provides supplies and support to soldiers.
Comments posted with the photo showing a female soldier in uniform relaxing in a car said, "This is me laying back in my car hiding so I don't have to salute the (5 p.m. flag ceremony)." Her comments also told people to keep any angry responses to themselves. The story was first reported by the Army Times.
The initial post was later taken down. Fort Carson spokeswoman Dani Johnson said Sheffey wasn't available for comment Wednesday.
According to the Department of Defense Uniform Code of Military Justice on social media posted on the web, soldiers are required to refrain from posting any comments or visual images that could hurt the military and ask permission before sending out any sensitive information. Cases are decided on a case-by-case basis. Punishment for social media violators could range from a letter of reprimand to a court-martial, depending on the severity of the violation.
"It is important that all soldiers know that once they log on to a social media platform, they still represent the Army. The best way to think about it is, if you wouldn't say it in formation or to your leader's face, don't say it online." the manual warns. "Soldiers using social media need to know that the enemy is watching,"