String Of Offensive Photographs From American Soldiers Sparks The Facebook Page 'Military Social Media Idiots'
In the last two weeks, at least three questionable photos distributed across social media by American soldiers have gone viral, prompting a backlash and a naming-and-shaming Facebook page called "Military Social Media Idiots." One photo, broadcast online early this month at Arkansas's National Guard training center, showed several National Guard members posing, smiling, and waving the peace sign in front of an empty casket draped with the American flag.
The caption? "We put the fun in funeral."
Oh dear. At least two photos have gained similar notoriety: The most recent comes from a female soldier, who posted a photo to Instagram of her face with the caption: "This is me laying back in my car hiding so I don't have to salute the [5 p.m. flag ceremony.] KEEP ALL YOUR ‘THATS SO DISRESPECTFUL/HOWRUDE/ETC.’ COMMENTS TO YOURSELF cuz, right now, IDGAFFFF.”
And perhaps most infamously, a three-year-old photo recently sparked fresh outage on social media: It showed a female sergeant passionately kissing the symbol for POW-MIA — otherwise known as "Prisoner of War-Missing In Action."
So, what has the military's reaction been? Well, in the case of the American-flag photograph, Pentagon officials ultimately suspended the female soldier who posted it, and investigated the 14 National Guard members who posed for the photo. And the soldier who refused to salute the flag ceremony? The military is investigating, but according to The Gazette newspaper, if she did skip the salute, she could be court-martialed, or face a prison term of up to two years.
Later, the soldier in question posted a half-apologizing, half-defensive video to her Instagram account.
I seriously just want to say thank you to everybody who stood up to me today, like seriously. That shit to me was not serious. I am not a disrespectful soldier, and I really appreciate you all.
In response to the string of controversial posts, someone has created a Facebook page entitled "Military Social Media Idiots." The "About" section reads: "I'm going to put a stop to this one way or another. If you are wearing the uniform., DON'T POST PICTURES OF YOURSELF THAT WILL DISGRACE THE UNIFORM."