Navy torpedoes embarrassing post showing commanding officer firing rifle with backward and covered scope

The U.S. Navy shared an
image to its official Instagram page Tuesday showing Commander Cameron Yaste, executive officer aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS John S. McCain, firing a rifle.

The post was captioned, “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.”

Keen observers noticed something amiss about the photograph taken on March 24.

Some critics
suggested the fore grip on the rifle could be mounted closer to the gun’s center. A few had something to say about Yaste’s stance or his ostensible choice to shoot on three-round burst. Most, however, noted that the scope on the rifle was backward, with its cap still on.

Mockery and memes swiftly followed, prompting the Navy to torpedo its post.

Keyboard comedians came out of the woodwork, creating a slew of memes. Other branches also joined in the fun, sharing images of service members firing rifles with properly mounted scopes.

The National Guard, for instance, posted an image Thursday of two guardsmen firing rifles with no comment besides a side-eyes emoji.

The U.S. Marine Corps did likewise, sharing an image of Marines assigned to Bravo Company, Battalion Landing Team 1/5, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, conducting a live-fire deck shoot aboard the U.S. Navy’s USS Boxer on April 6. The Marines’ post was captioned, “Clear Sight Picture.”

The military comedy Instagram page, dearmomimdead, responded to the U.S. Navy’s initial post with its own, captioned “HEY NAVY. I FIXED UR SH!T…,” which was less charitable than the posts shared by the USMC and the National Guard.

While Task and Purpose
made expressly clear that the U.S. Navy “is without equal on the open seas” and has no problem obliterating America’s foes when playing to its strengths, it quipped, “If an engagement calls for rifles, Marines will be there to help them out.” Task and Purpose then provided a visual indication on Instagram of how the scope ought to have been mounted.

Even lawmakers got in on the mockery.

Rep. Mike Collins (R-Ga.) shared an image of a gun with the barrel pointed toward the would-be shooter, writing, “Navy’s newly issued sidearm.”

While many evidently found the bungled photo op amusing, others interpreted the error as bad omen, with at least one user
noting, “We’re going to lose a major war.”

An archived
gallery of now-deleted images on the Department of Defense’s Defense Visual Information Distribution Service shows that Yaste posed with the rifle on at least two other occasions with correction.

After deleting the post, the Navy
noted, “Thank you for pointing out our rifle scope error in the previous post. Picture has been removed until EMI [extra military instruction] is completed! #Readiness.”

Stars and Stripes
noted that EMI is defined by the Nay as “instruction in a phase of military duty in which an individual is deficient, and is intended for and directed towards the correction of that deficiency.”

Commander Yaste previously served as division officer aboard the USS Bataan, as weapons and executive officer aboard Patrol Coastal crew HOTEL, and as combat systems and weapons officer aboard the USS Hopper.

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