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US Senator congratulates Air Force Reserve… with a picture of RUSSIAN planes

US Senator congratulates Air Force Reserve… with a picture of RUSSIAN planes
Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Mississippi) deleted an embarrassing mistake after Twitter users pointed out her birthday card intended for the US Air Force Reserve Command featured Russian Su-34 jets, not American ones.

“Happy 73rd Birthday to the @USAFReserve! Thankful for all the reservists who are constantly on the ready to serve our nation,” Hyde-Smith tweeted on Wednesday afternoon, above a graphic showing four jets in flight.

US Senator congratulates Air Force Reserve… with a picture of RUSSIAN planes

Hyde-Smith was referring to the founding date of the USAF Reserve Command, which was established on April 14, 1948. Too bad the four jets used in the photo weren’t American – as people were all too happy to point out in the replies to her now-deleted tweet.

While many of the replies revolved around the Democrat talking point that the GOP is “owned by Russia,” popular during the presidency of Donald Trump, there were some genuine attempts at humor.

One user tweeted about the WWII predecessor of the US Air Force with a photo of the German Messerschmitt Bf 109, for example.

Rob Lee, a war studies doctorant at King’s College in London, quipped that Hyde-Smith’s tweet was part of Americans’ “national pastime of mistaking Russian weapons for our own.”

He included screenshots of previous such embarrassments – a September 2020 Trump campaign ad also featuring Russian jets, and an October 2019 tweet by Congressman Brian Mast (R-Florida) wishing the US Navy a happy birthday with a picture of the Russian navy missile cruiser Pyotr Veliky (Peter the Great). 

Despite his nautical name, Mast actually served in the US Army, so ship recognition may not be his forte. That’s what competent staff members ought to be for.

It’s not just US lawmakers and election campaigns that have made major mistakes about Russian weapons systems. Earlier this week, CNN showed Ukrainian tanks on board rail cars, and claimed they were Russian tanks headed towards the border of Ukraine. While the hardware certainly looks similar, the devil, as they say, is in the details.

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