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Pics: Navy posts embarrassing photo, quickly deletes amid mockery

The Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Paul Kelly/Released)
April 10, 2024

The United States Navy quickly deleted a post on Tuesday after social media users pointed out that the photo featured a commanding officer improperly holding a gun with the scope mounted backward.

According to The New York Post, the Navy shared a photo of USS John S. McCain Commander Cameron Yaste holding a military rifle with its Trijicon VCOG scope mounted backward as he aimed at a target balloon off the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer.

The New York Post reported that the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service wrote a caption for the photo that said Yaste was observing a “live-fire exercise event” while the USS John S. McCain was “conducting routine operations” with the U.S. 7th Fleet. The caption added that the 7th Fleet is the “U.S. Navy’s largest forward-deployed numbered fleet” and regularly operates alongside U.S. partners in the preservation of freedom in the Indo-Pacific region.

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One social media user shared a picture on Tuesday of the Navy’s original Instagram post, which was quickly removed after the mistake was discovered. Underneath the original image of the commander holding the firearm, the Navy wrote, “From engaging in practice gun shoots, conducting maintenance, testing fuel purity, and participating in sea and anchor details, the #USNavy is always ready to serve and protect.”

The social media user shared laughing and cringing emojis alongside the post, writing, “US Navy just killing it on Instagram.”

Another social media user commented on the commander’s grip placement in the photo, tweeting, “Man. The scope is annoying, but that grip placement is downright WILD.”

A third social media user said that while the Navy’s accident might have been “funny,” it was also “concerning.” The user questioned how many Navy sailors saw the mistake before the post was published.

After social media users pointed out the mistakes in the photo, the Navy removed the picture from the Defense Department’s database and uploaded another post on social media, according to The New York Post.

“Thank you for pointing out our rifle scope error in the previous post,” the Navy wrote in the new post. “Picture has been removed until EMI is completed!”