U.S. Strategic Command made an unexpected joke in a now-deleted Twitter post about American military might on Monday in its New Year's Eve message.
Noting the "big" Times Square ball drop celebration at midnight, the unified command's account tweeted, "if ever needed, we are #ready to drop something much, much bigger."
The joke was followed by a slickly produced video of stealth jets with the words "stealth, ready, and lethal" flashing across the screen. The tweet encouraged followers to "watch to the end!" If you do, you'll see two bombs released from a plane, followed by several massive explosions.
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The tweet was later deleted, and a subsequent tweet from the unified command's account said the first was "in poor taste & does not reflect our values. We apologize."
Our previous NYE tweet was in poor taste & does not reflect our values. We apologize. We are dedicated to the security of America & allies.
A spokesman said the video shows test footage of non-nuclear bombs.
"This post, which has since been deleted, was part of our Year in Review series meant to feature our command priorities: strategic deterrence, decisive response and combat-ready force. It was a repost from earlier in the year, dropping a pair of conventional Massive Ordnance Penetrators (MOP) at a test range in the United States," a spokesman told NBC News this evening.
MOPs are massive bombs designed to take on bunkers and concrete buildings.
The unified command, which is part of the Department of Defense and whose slogan is "peace is our profession," readies and controls the nation's nuclear arms, among other things. It wasn't clear if the "something much, much bigger" was a reference to conventional bombs or the country's nukes, though many interpreted it to be about the latter.
Twitter users responded to the New Year's Eve message with a mix of confusion and unease.
This is not the first military tweet this year to raise eyebrows.
When an audio clip went viral because some heard "yanny" while others heard "laurel," the U.S. Air Force tweeted that the Taliban would have preferred to hear either word over gunfire. They later apologized and deleted the tweet.
Jane C. Timm
Jane C. Timm is a political reporter for NBC News, fact checking elections and covering voting rights.