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Military probes Instagram flag photo

DENVER — A photo posted on Instagram showing a soldier deliberately avoiding saluting the flag touched off a military investigation and a storm of criticism.

Base officials issued a statement Wednesday saying that they are aware of a social media post allegedly made by Private First Class Tariqka Sheffey indicating she stayed in her car to avoid a flag ceremony, and that they are looking into the situation.

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Comments posted with the photo showing a female soldier in uniform relaxing in a car said, ‘‘This is me laying back in my car hiding so I don’t have to salute the [flag].” Her comments also told people to keep any angry responses to themselves.

According to the Department of Defense Uniform Code of Military Justice, soldiers are required to refrain from posting on social media any comments or visual images that could hurt the military and to ask permission before sending sensitive information. Cases are decided on a case-by-case basis. Punishment could range from a letter of reprimand to a court-martial.

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