FORT CARSON, Colo. — A Fort Carson soldier posted a photo of herself reportedly going to great lengths to refuse saluting her company’s flag, and then told those who might have an opinion on the matter to keep their mouths shut.
It’s safe to say her request has fallen on deaf ears.
The soldier has since been identified as Pfc. Tariqka Sheffey by the Army Times, and stories about the photo she posted on her once-public Instagram account, “sheffeynation,” have been picked up by the New York Daily News and Washington Times. Her Instagram account has since been made private.
“This is me laying back in my car hiding so I don’t have to salute the 1700 flag,” Sheffey captioned the picture in initial the Instagram post. “KEEP ALL YOUR ‘THATS SO DISRESPECTFUL / HOWRUDE / ETC.’ COMMENTS TO YOURSELF cuz, right now, IDGAFFFF.”
The “1700 flag” is a reference to the flag lowering at U.S. military establishments that takes place daily at 5 p.m. Otherwise known as the “retreat,” it signifies the end of duty for that day.
The coverage of Sheffey’s photo has prompted responses to her actions from around the country, and from her superiors at Fort Carson.
A Fort Carson spokesperson confirmed that Sheffey is a member of the 59th Quartermaster Company, 43rd Sustainment Brigade at Fort Carson, and the base issued a statement about Sheffey’s Instagram post Wednesday morning:
“Fort Carson’s leadership is aware of the social media post PFC Sheffey made, is looking into the situation, and reviewing potential next steps,” the statement read. “Fort Carson leaders will continue to educate Soldiers on standards and discipline and appropriate professional conduct on social media consistent with Army Values — both on and off duty.”
At a press conference later that day, Col. Heidi Hoyle, Special Assistant to the Commanding General, said Fort Carson officials were still looking into the photo.
“Right now, we are giving the soldier the opportunity and the command the opportunity to present all matters and investigate it fully before we make any judgment in this case,” Col. Hoyle said.
The Army Times reported that Sheffey responded to her initial photo post with a video post on her Instagram account later on Tuesday. She reportedly expressed regret, but stopped short of issuing a full apology.
“I seriously just want to say thank you to everybody who stood up for me today — like seriously,” Sheffey said in the video, according to the Army Times. “(The Instagram photo) to me was not that serious. I am not a disrespectful soldier and I really appreciate (everyone who stood up for me).”
However, many angry service members and their spouses have not stood up for Sheffey, and have made it clear they will not satisfied with Fort Carson’s response unless Sheffey is removed from service.
“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,” one Facebook commenter wrote. “If they won’t salute it, they damn sure won’t fight for it.”