A female soldier is under fire after she posted a distasteful selfie on Instagram as she avoided a flag salute, along with the caption ‘I don’t give a f***.’
Pfc. Tariqka Sheffey uploaded the controversial photo, in which she’s reclining in her car with her arm behind her head, wearing her full uniform, last week.
Under the picture, she wrote: ‘This is me laying back in my car hiding so I don’t have to salute the 1700 flag, KEEP ALL YOUR ‘THATS SO DISRESPECTFUL/HOWRUDE/ETC.’ COMMENTS TO YOURSELF cuz, right now, IDGAFFFF.’
But her followers didn’t keep their comments to themselves. The selfie immediately went viral, being shared on Facebook and Twitter and was even sent to the Army Times, which first reported the story.
Sheffey is now accused of dishonoring her service, with some demanding she be removed from service.
According to the Department of Defense policies on social media posted on the web, soldiers are required to refrain from posting any comments or visual images that could hurt the military and ask permission before sending out any sensitive information.
A Fort Carson spokesman confirmed that an investigation into the selfie was underway.
Angry service members, Gold Star mothers and spouses were outraged with one Facebook user commenting: ‘Any soldier who refuses to salute the flag is in the military for the wrong reason, and should be removed by dishonorable discharge with loss of all benefits.
‘If they won’t salute it, they damn sure won’t fight for it,’ he added.
Ami Neiberger-Miller, spokeswoman for the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, which has helped 44,000 people who have lost loved ones since 1994, said Wednesday thousands of people have lost their lives fighting for the American flag.
‘I think any patriotic person would find this offensive,’ she said.
The online outrage directed at the young single mother–a member of the 59th Quartermaster Company, 43rd Sustainment Brigade, at Fort Carson, Colorado–quickly turned to hate, reported the Army Times.
The newspaper claims she’s become the target of a torrent of abusive comments, racial slurs and threats.
Reacting to the backlash, Sheffey offered somewhat of an apology Tuesday for the picture in a video posted on Instagram.
She said: ‘I seriously just want to say thank you to everybody who stood up to me today, like seriously. That s**t to me was not serious. I am not a disrespectful soldier, and I really appreciate you all.’
Neiberger-Miller said this is the second serious incident in a week. Last week, two Wisconsin National Guard members were suspended in an investigation stemming from a photograph showing soldiers clowning around by an empty flag-draped casket at a guard training facility.
The photograph shows soldiers mugging for the camera around the empty casket. It shows 14 men and women posing, some lightheartedly. Two pairs of men hug playfully, another man has his back turned and is pointing off in the distance, and a kneeling woman flashes a peace sign.
The caption reads, ‘We put the FUN in funeral–your fearless honor guard from various states.’
Fort Carson officials said Wednesday they will continue to educate soldiers on standards and discipline and appropriate professional conduct on social media.
Spokeswoman Dani Johnson told the Associated Press Sheffey wasn’t available for comment and attempts to reach the Wisconsin soldiers have been unsuccessful.