HomeLatest NewsUS Navy Photo Blunder: Optical Sight Mounted Backward in Embarrassing Mishap

US Navy Photo Blunder: Optical Sight Mounted Backward in Embarrassing Mishap

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In the final years of the Cold War when I was in service, we were constantly reminded to always be technically and tactically competent, which meant we had to be able to use our tools and perform the tasks assigned. This was to help the Army achieve its ultimate goal of closing in on and destroying its enemy through fire, maneuver, and shock. This meant I had to be proficient with my issued weapon. As with everyone, I checked my weapon for any issues before I used it in the field or on the range.

It is clear that US Navy Commander Cameron Yast, of the USS John S. McCain, failed to perform this task during a live-fire drill.

A US Navy warship’s commander is a rather unreliable shooter.

A USS John S. McCain commanding officer, a guided-missile destroyer of the Arleigh Burke-class, was ridiculed online after being photographed with an assault rifle that had its scope mounted in reverse as he aimed at a target called a “killer tom”.

Cmdr. Cameron Yast is “observing the live-fire event”. The ship is at the U.S. 7th Fleet, conducting routine operations,” read the caption of a picture posted by the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service. He was holding the weapon up with the Trijicon VCO installed backward while pointing it at a large balloon target.

Take a look at:

Notice the brass that is in the air. Commander Yast fires the weapon while looking through a backward-mounted optical sight. This raises the question, has he even seen this optical sight before?

Anyone familiar with an optical device of this kind — or any other — will immediately see that something is amiss. Commander Yast either was not familiar with the U.S. Military’s primary service rifle, or he knew something was wrong, but did nothing to stop it, causing him, his ship, and the United States Navy embarrassment.

Doris Miller was working in the laundry of the USS West Virginia when the bombs began to fall during the attack on Pearl Harbor. The Navy only hired black men to be cooks and laundry attendants at the time, so he wasn’t trained in weapons. However, when the attack began, he ran on the deck and hauled ammunition, moving wounded sailors into cover, until the Captain of the ship was killed. Miller, who had no training at the time, then manned an anti-aircraft Browning gun of .50 caliber and fired until he received orders to abandon ship. Miller was the first black sailor ever to receive the Navy Cross in recognition of his actions that day.

Compare that heroism with an officer who is a U.S. Navy commander being photographed in a U.S. Navy promotion photo, but the sight has been mounted backward. This is not a sign of a serviceman with technical and tactical proficiency. Frankly, it’s embarrassing.

This is another indicator that our military leadership requires a major overhaul. The services must once again focus on their core mission, which is to destroy the enemy through fire, maneuver, and shock.

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