The Army is investigating sexually explicit photos of uniformed soldiers wearing dog masks and bondage gear that circulated on social media last week, USA Today reported.
The photos show male soldiers in partial or full uniforms wearing dog masks, leather and chains, and one shows a soldier on an airfield in combat fatigues and a dog mask. Other photos show submissive poses and sexual acts, according to USA Today.
The photos circulated over Twitter on Friday, USA Today reported.
Emails obtained by the outlet show that Army officials believe some of the photos were taken at a base gym in Hawaii. The emails were leaked by a source who said reactions to the photos have been “hyper politicized,” USA Today reported.
“U.S. Army Pacific is aware of content found on social media reflecting soldiers’ activities while wearing uniforms,” Army spokesman Maj. Jonathon Lewis said in a statement. “The incident is currently under investigation.”
According to a former chief Air Force prosecutor who spoke with USA Today, the soldiers could have violated either military law’s Article 134, which prohibits adultery, or Article 133, which bans “conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman.”
The maximum possible punishments for those violations, respectively, are dishonorable discharge and dismissal, which are equivalent. Even retired officers can be returned to active-duty and court-martialed, or have their rank and pension payments lowered post-retirement, Christensen said.
While the Army hasn’t confirmed who is being investigated, Twitter users late last week connected a recently-retired Army colonel and a junior officer to a series of dog-mask fetish pictures posted online by anonymous apparent military members.
By comparing tattoos, uniforms and other information, the account @NoVA_Campaigns connected Col. Brian Donnelly and Cpt. Dayton Tenney to the masked photos. The pair’s social media activity suggests the officers were romantically involved in an “alpha pup” and “beta pup” relationship.
In one photo posted to an account linked to Connelly, a man appears to be showing his penis while masked in a military locker room. The caption says, “I’m a pup,” and mentions “rearing other pups.”