FT. HOOD, TX — A U.S. Army Captain changed his Facebook profile picture to a red equal sign in the mistaken belief it was a set of captain bars, reportedly unaware of the symbol's association with gay rights, according to his Facebook friends.
Captain John Wilkins, a 25-year-old native of Appleton, WI, first became aware of the symbol last night while at his laptop.
"I saw all these people making captain ranks [sic] their main photo on Facebook," Wilkins said. "I thought to myself, 'Hell yeah—about time we got some recognition.'"
Although initially confused by the red and pink in the image, Wilkins said he eventually realized those colors stood for the blood shed by captains before him.
"It's like, when you're a lieutenant, you don't have a clue about anything," Wilkins said. "Then you become a captain, and you stop making all those rookie mistakes. You're still one of the guys in the fight, but you've also got to the point where you stopped being a knucklehead."
Wilkins admitted that he made one change to the image, though. He rotated it 90 degrees.
"Everybody had theirs sideways," Wilkins said. "One thing about me is that as a captain, I pay attention to detail, so I put mine so that the bars are facing up and down, like they would on the front of my ACUs."
Wilkins' Facebook friends reported being confused by the move, but supportive.
"John has never struck me as the type as being socially conscious or into politics or anything like that," said Deborah Menendez, a former high school classmate. "Good for him, though."
Those closest to Wilkins, however, said this comes as no surprise.
"Oh that Johnny is always making silly faux-pas like this," said Derek Hailstone, a bartender at Mannhaus in downtown Killeen and Wilkins' live-in boyfriend. "If he wasn't so good in bed, I'd have broken up with him a long time ago."