Russian Ships Displayed at the DNC — Back in 2013

July 28, 2016 Updated: July 28, 2016

Russian ships were displayed at the Democratic National Convention—in March 2013.

While it is true that the Russian ships were prominently displayed during the DNC’s tribute to veterans in 2013, the timing is a bit off.

A Military Times report, dated March 20, 2013, was being shared en masse on Facebook and Twitter on July 28, 2016 during the last day of the DNC in Philadelphia.

A number of people on social media websites believed that the ships were displayed during the 2016 DNC. 

According to the Military Times:

While retired Adm. John Nathman, a former commander of Fleet Forces Command, honored vets as America’s best, the ships from the Russian Federation Navy were arrayed like sentinels on the big screen above.

These were the very Soviet-era combatants that Nathman and Cold Warriors like him had once squared off against.

“The ships are definitely Russian,” said noted naval author Norman Polmar after reviewing hi-resolution photos from the event. “There’s no question of that in my mind.”

At the time, it was unclear why Democratic officials used images of the Russian Black Sea Fleet at the convention.

“I was kind of in shock,” said Rob Barker, 38, a veteran who spotted the error. Barker recognized the closest ship in the picture as the Kara-class cruiser Kerch.

“An immediate apology [from the committee] would be very nice,” Barker told the Times in 2013. “Maybe acknowledge the fact that yes, they screwed up.”

A day after the error, the DNC issued an apology to the Navy Times, saying it committed an error.

“Due to vendor error, incorrect images appeared briefly on screen behind fifty-one veterans during the convention and the DNCC apologizes for this mistake,” the statement said, reported the Navy Times. It was due to an unspecified “vendor error,” a DNC spokesperson said.

The jets flying overhead are F-5 trainer jets not used by the Russian Navy, the Navy Times said, adding that a “former Air Force pilot told Navy Times in an email that the wing configuration and distinctive formation made it likely that these planes were the Turkish Stars, an aerial demonstration team of the Turkish Air Force.”