The Naval Criminal Investigative Service wished the United States Navy a Happy Birthday on Wednesday, tweeting the message with a photo of a Russian ship.
In the now-deleted tweet, NCIS wrote, “Happy Birthday to the U.S. Navy! We are grateful and honored to serve and protect this elite force serving around the globe. #USNavyBirthday.”
The message included a photo featuring an American flag graphic overlaid onto a photo of a military ship. After the tweet was posted at 7:30 p.m. ET, users almost immediately recognized that the vessel was a Russian ship.
A spokesperson for NCIS told Breitbart News that the photo of the Russian cruiser was “mistakenly” used.
“NCIS yesterday mistakenly used an incorrectly labeled stock image of a Russian ship in a tweet commemorating the 246th anniversary of the U.S. Navy,” the spokesperson said. “NCIS is refining its internal review processes to prevent future errors. We apologize to the Department of the Navy’s warfighters for this oversight and thank them for their vital service to our nation.”
This isn’t the first time a Navy account has faced backlash this year. In April, the U.S. Navy’s official account came under fire for another social media faux pas in which it changed its Twitter logo to a bald eagle wearing a mask á la COVID-19.
Critics slammed the move as an act of virtue signaling.
“The eagle in the @USNavy’s logo is wearing a mask,” Newsmax’s John Cardillo tweeted. “China, Iran, and Russia are pissing their pants laughing at us.”
Jessie Jane Duff, retired Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant, also mocked the change. “Hey @USNavy, looks like China hacked your account,” she tweeted.
On October 13, the Navy celebrated its 246th birthday and released several birthday message videos to commemorate the occasion.
The Navy was created in 1775 when Congress voted to weaponize two vessels and assign an 80-man crew to each one. The vessels then deployed on a three-month mission to stop munitions from reaching British armies.
What was once considered “the maddest idea on the world” by opponents in Congress then quickly gained steam, and paved a legacy that lives on today.
The Navy’s main Twitter account tweeted a video showing a fighter jet writing “246th” in the sky above Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser USS Port Royal (CG-73).
The U.S. Marine Corps honored the Navy birthday, saying, “We celebrate an organization #Marines have served alongside since our inception. Our shared core values of honor, courage, and commitment have created an unshakable bond. We look forward to many more years of service as a #BlueGreenTeam.”