Tariqka Sheffey, an Army soldier in Colorado, refused to do the flag salute in a picture posted on Instagram, and she was heavily criticized for it on social media. Sheffey could get as many as two years in prison for the offense, reports said.
The Army Times reported that Pfc. Sheffey bragged about not saluting the flag in an article that got more than 90,000 shares on Facebook in the past few days.
“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,” she wrote.
The image was later uploaded on Facebook and went viral.
Some Army members have said that Sheffey should be removed from the armed forces.
“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,” said one Facebook commenter this week. “If they won’t salute it, they damn sure won’t fight for it.”
She’s a member of the 59th Quartermaster Company, 43rd Sustainment Brigade, at Fort Carson, Colo., a spokesperson with the post told the Times.
“The chain of command is aware and looking into the situation. That’s really all I can say at this point,” the spokesperson said.
Sheffey received not only condemnation but death threats and racial slurs.
The Gazette newspaper reported that if Sheffey did skip the flag salute, she could face a court martial for insubordination or failure to obey regulations. If convicted, she could wind up in prison for two years.
Col. Heidi Hoyle, special assistant to the 4th Infantry Division commander, told the Gazette that “a soldier is required to salute.”
Sources at Fort Carson said the incident has been scrutinized at the highest levels, meaning the Pentagon is concerned, the Gazette reported.
“The customs and courtesies are the way we start each day and end each day,” Hoyle said.
Command Sergeant Maj. Terrance McWilliams noted that he’s noticed “soldiers that looked at their watch and, as soon as it was getting close to retreat, would duck inside of a building to avoid the formation” in the the past, but never did he see someone post the any acts of insubordination on social media.
“I think the dumbest thing was posting it on social media,” McWilliams said.
The Army has expressed concern over social media photos in the past.
“Photos and videos can go viral quickly,” the Army says in its instruction of troops. “Closely review them before posting to ensure they don’t give away sensitive information which could be dangerous if released.”