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Carson announces traffic stops after soldier snubbed flag salute

Mar. 16, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
Pfc. Tariqka Sheffey posted this selfie, saying she was avoiding retreat at Fort Carson, Colo.
Pfc. Tariqka Sheffey posted this selfie, saying she was avoiding retreat at Fort Carson, Colo. (Instagram)
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Military police at Fort Carson, Colo., are stopping vehicles at on-post intersections during retreat, the post’s Facebook page announced after outrage over a soldier who posted a selfie of her avoiding a retreat ceremony last month.

Fort Carson’s Facebook announcement, posted Monday, said:

“Traffic will be stopped at certain intersections beginning today for the Retreat ceremony to take down the flag at the end of each day. Military Police will stop traffic at the intersections of:

- Chiles Avenue and Nelson Boulevard, and

- Chiles Avenue and Flint Street

Traffic Control Points will stop traffic at the intersections of:

- Wetzel Avenue and Nelson Boulevard, and

- Wetzel Avenue and Flint Street.”

The message was posted within days of officials at Fort Carson saying they had dealt with Pfc. Tariqka Sheffey of 59th Quartermaster Company, 43rd Sustainment Brigade, who posted a selfie on Instagram last month with this caption:

“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.”

The image went out via Facebook and was also sent to Army Times. Service members and family members expressed outrage.

Sheffey’s commander “addressed” the matter, Army Times reported on Friday, but officials did not say whether she had been disciplined for her actions.

Fort Carson is closing the intersections around its parade field during the formal retreat ceremony in an effort to maintain traditional standards, said Maj. Earl Brown, deputy public affairs officer for 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson.

“We’ve done this in the past, and have gotten away from it,” Brown told Army Times on Thursday.

People are expected to get out of their vehicles and pay their respects, he said. Most people do that, “but some are not,” he said.

“We are reinforcing the standards we all uphold, paying respect to our nation‘s flag,” Brown said.

He said the MPs at Fort Carson will continue to do the traffic stops indefinitely.

Several people commenting about the traffic-stop message on Fort Carson’s Facebook page said they were glad the post is emphasizing the show of respect for the flag. Some said it is common for people on posts to stop and salute the flag, while others said the practice has slipped at posts around the country. One said after she came to the States from Germany, she found that when she stops for the flag ceremony, other drivers honk and flip her off.

Leadership, or lack of it, was blamed for soldiers failing to show respect.

“Knowing that they are announcing this due to certain events only acknowledges the lack of discipline and integrity among the lower enlisted as well as those who epically failed them,” wrote Miguel Sanchez on Fort Carson’s Facebook page. “In this case, the leadership who have neglected to preserve tradition.”

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