These stock photos purporting to depict service members are all kinds of failures

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As veterans, every time we browse Facebook, play Twitter, or even change channels on TV, we’re inundated with ads designed just for us. Whether it’s a college wanting to get a slice of that GI Bill money pie, or a boot company trying to get veterans to buy another pair of uncomfortable shoes, current military and elders are prime targets.

Personally, I don’t really mind that, after all, they’re rarely snappy enough to make me stop what I’m doing mid-scroll, although there are a few exceptions, like this:

Now I don’t know if this advertisement is a sign of complete ignorance on the part of the photographer and the company who thought this was the photo that would win over their audience, or if it is actually a ‘a masterful plot to get vets out in droves to report anything wrong with this image. Anyway, someone give this man a razor.

The ad, which is about the Erivan K. Haub School of Business at St. Joseph’s University, was taken down 72 hours after it was posted on LinkedIn in February 2017. A spokesperson for the university told Task & Purpose that the photo was an unfortunate mistake and that the student depicted in the photo is a retired army officer and not a stock-photo model.

The use of terrible stock photos seems to be quite common; there are dozens of them there.

That’s why I’ve decided to wade through the endless deluge of terrible stock photos on the internet, then ruthlessly mock them for your (and my) enjoyment.

General store surplus.

Photo via iStock

These stock photos purporting to depict service members are all kinds of failures

Moving on to the completely unregulated haircut, there are a lot of issues with this guy’s uniform, making it look like he just walked into a military surplus store and started grabbing patches, pins and badges in a trash can. The blanket he is wearing does not appear to be a US Army blanket and the emblem on top does not belong to any US military branch as far as I know. The jacket isn’t in place either – it doesn’t have the right buttons – and nothing is in the right place. The ribbons even appear to be from a foreign country or are actually a homemade paint color swatch from Home Depot.

The sexy soldier dog calendar template.

Photo via iStock

These stock photos purporting to depict service members are all kinds of failures

Ah yes, here is a photo that clearly speaks of the innate courage, selflessness, determination and pride inherent in all soldiers. After all, nothing says self-pride and conviction quite like posing with a fluffy, curly-haired dog whose breed ends with the word “doodle.” Not to mention the fact that her collar is buttoned up and she doesn’t appear to have any rank, name tape or unit patch. Uniform grooming standards and regulations? Who needs it, am I right? Let those beautiful long locks flow.

The base hosting cultists.

Photo via Shutterstock

These stock photos purporting to depict service members are all kinds of failures

Looking like a modern military version of Grant Wood’s “American Gothic,” this has to be the scariest military couple I’ve ever seen. From the random cuffed sleeves on the woman’s blouse, to the fact that they both have the last button on the collar and no name tape, these two don’t even look like Marines. Instead, they look like prime suspects in a military investigation into cult activity on the base. Look at those dead eyes and horrifying smiles. If you’ve been to basic accommodation, you know it’s not as far-fetched as it sounds.

The operator (airsoft).

Photo via iStock

These stock photos purporting to depict service members are all kinds of failures

The intention may have been to take a photo that captures the courage and strength of the army’s frontline troops, but what we have here is a photo of a guy who just returned from battle where he and his airsoft team riddled enemy bodies with tiny plastic bullets. From the four rifle rounds stuffed in his MOLLE vest to the operator’s hat, nothing says “I like pretending to fight for freedom” quite like a posed photo of a random airsoft ranger running around with an American flag.

The random family man.

Photo via iStock

These stock photos purporting to depict service members are all kinds of failures

Anyone who has served in the Marine Corps knows that a Marine’s quality of life in garrison is entirely dependent on when he got his hair cut. Which begs the question, how is this guy so damn happy – he should be in tears from all the chews he must have had on the way home from work. Then there is its cover, which is missing the eagle, the globe and the anchor. He also has no name tape above his right breast pocket or “US Marines” above the left pocket. I have a theory though: maybe he’s not a Marine, but a Marine recruit who wandered into base housing after escaping from the San Diego Recruit Depot during the reception – the first days of recruit training before being assigned to your platoon. That explains the raised uniform and blanket, and why it has the top button buttoned up, since you only do that during reception on the West Coast.

The tactical tablet guy.

Photo via Shutterstock

These stock photos purporting to depict service members are all kinds of failures

Looks like he’s in the middle of a really intense game of “Angry Birds” and he’s about to carelessly unload his gun – gun safety is for beginners – this guy is what happens when the airsoft operator enlists in the army. Flip-flop goggles that appear to be for swimming, nothing about his uniform or gear has, well, uniformity. The pattern on the blouse and pants appears to be German – just a hunch based on the flag on her left shoulder – but her kevlar cover resembles the army’s universal camouflage pattern, as does the vest. He also has a holster that looks like it was used in Grenada, a pair of knee pads that look like they came with rollerblades, and I’m pretty sure I’ve seen these boots in an LL Bean catalog a while ago.

UPDATE: This article has been updated to include additional information from the Erivan K. Haub School of Business at St. Joseph’s University. (03/09/17; 12:41 p.m.)

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