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Navy vet Congress member slams Pentagon for ‘worst tweet of the year’

U.S. Rep. Elaine Luria speaks outside of Sentara COVID-19 Command Center in Virginia Beach on March 14, 2020. (Kristen Zeis/The Virginian-Pilot/TNS)
May 11, 2022

Congresswoman and Navy veteran Rep. Elaine Luria blasted a Defense Department (DoD) post on Twitter on Monday, calling it “the worst tweet of the year.”

The Defense Department tweet which sparked Luria’s scorn featured a photo of Navy sailors training on the USS Nimitz.

“Line of Labor. @USNavy sailors assigned to the USS Nimitz conduct drills on the flight deck for a multi-phase training evolution designed to give the crew a solid foundation of unit-level operating proficiency and enhance the ship’s ability to self-train,” the DoD tweeted.

The tweet also prompted U.S. Army Public Affairs Sgt. Major Jason Baker to tweet that he is “begging” the department to stop writing captions that only those familiar with military jargon would understand.

“I’m begging you to stop captioning this way. We write for the American public, if my aunt who never served can’t understand it, then it is poorly written,” Baker tweeted, adding what he thought would be a more appropriate caption, “Sailors conduct crew drills on the USS Nimitz flight deck.”

Baker went on to explain his criticism in a series of follow-up tweets, highlighting the DoD’s Style Guide for photo captions, which teaches the “’ABCs’ rule, Accuracy, Brevity and Clarity.”

“The basic rule is the first line is a precise description of the who, what, when, and where in active voice. The subsequent lines provide the context and the ‘why.’ This reads more like the ‘boiler plate’ or those follow up context lines,” Baker tweeted.

“The Social Media manager should not have used this caption as a Tweet,” he continued. “The photo is great and I understand selecting it, but who was the target audience for what was written?”

“There was [a clear] opportunity to send a message about how every individual on a ship is a valued member of the crew or how professional and prepared our @USNavy is because of our ability to continually train, even when we are away from the port,” Baker added.

Baker also addressed one comment which argued that his initial reaction to the DoD post was “dramatic” and there was no need to “beg” for what he views as better captions.

“Someone one commented that I was a bit ‘dramatic’ I agree, it isn’t necessary for me to ‘beg’ that you meet the standard, it is better to say, I DEMAND you meet the standards of our profession and communicate clearly and with purpose,” he tweeted.