Example: [Collected on the Internet, 2001]
A Navy officer signs a bomb attached to the wing of an aircraft on the flight deck of the
Origins: The above photograph and caption were transmitted worldwide by the Associated Press on
An Associated Press spokesman apologized for the photograph:
Stokes said the photographer aboard the Enterprise, Jockel Finck, "is not American, and that [epithet] meant nothing to him. The process just didn't work the way it should have. When there is an offensive slur in a photograph, we do not allow it on the wire — unless it's germane to the story, which this wasn't."2
Rear Admiral Stephen Pietropaoli apologised to the Human Rights Campaign, a homosexual pressure group, after it protested about an "anti-gay slur" chalked on a bomb before it was flown off the USS Enterprise. "We immediately notified navy commanders involved with Operation Enduring Freedom to ensure steps were taken to prevent a recurrence of this unfortunate incident. They have done so," he wrote.
Messages taunting the enemy or praising America are often added by aircrew as a way of boosting morale.
Rear Adml Pietropaoli said the message was an "isolated incident". He added that the US navy did not tolerate discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.1
Last updated: 7 March 2008
1. Harnden, Toby. "Apology for 'Gay Slur' on Bomb." The [London] Daily Telegraph. 20 October 2001 (p. 15). 2. Steuver, Hank. "The Bomb with a Loaded Message." The Washington Post. 27 October 2001 (p. C1).