• The US Navy has been criticized for posting a picture of a sailor firing a rifle with a rifle scope on backwards.
  • The sailor, commander Cameron Yaste, had been firing at a naval target balloon.
  • The Navy acknowledged the error and removed the picture.

The US Navy has been slammed on social media for posting a photo online of a sailor holding an assault weapon with its scope on backwards.

In an image posted to Instagram, which has since been deleted, commander Cameron Yaste, the captain of the USS John S McCain, could be seen holding the gun, which also had its scope's lens cap still attached.

The caption accompanying the photo read: "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."

According to a press release from the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service, the captain had been firing at a "killer tomato," a Navy term for a target balloon.

Viewers were quick to point out his mistake.

One X user wrote: "US Navy just killing it on Instagram" alongside laughing and crying emojis.

Another said: "U.S. Navy's Cameron Yaste (left pic) thinks he's gonna dazzle 18-year-olds into joining navy with cool photoshoot on board ship but forgot that his scope's mounted backward."

Mike Collins, a Republican congressman from Georgia, also weighed in on the photo, posting a photo on X, formerly Twitter, of a pistol with its barrel back-to-front.

"Navy's newly issued sidearm," he joked in the caption.

In a statement, the US Navy said, "Thank you for pointing out our rifle scope error in the previous post. Picture has been removed until EMI is completed!"

EMI, meaning "extra military instruction" is defined by the US Navy 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."

"It is a bona fide training technique to be used for improving the efficiency of an individual within a command or unit through the correction of some deficiency in that individual's performance of duty," the Navy says.

According to Yaste's official biography, he graduated from the Naval Post Graduate School with a Master of Science in Astronautics before going on to serve aboard ships such as the USS Bataan and the USS Hopper.

It says he has also won multiple awards, including the Defense Meritorious Service Medal.

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