Soldiers in the U.S. Army’s 1st Armored Division, 1st Cavalry Regiment decided they would name one of their tanks in homage to a celebrity: The Rock. When he publicly thanked them, anti-military critics mauled him on social media.
As Military Times reported, the 1st Armored Division Twitter site tweeted last week:
If you smell what America’s Tank Division is cooking! Shoutout to the #IronSoldiers assigned to the @Blackhawk_SQDN for naming one of their tanks in homage to the @TheRock. Hopefully the ‘People’s Champ’ will see it and give you guys a shoutout and a retweet!
"If you smell what America's Tank Division is cooking!"
Shoutout to the #IronSoldiers assigned to the @Blackhawk_SQDN for naming one of their tanks in homage to the @TheRock.
Hopefully the "People's Champ" will see it and give you guys a shoutout and a retweet!#TuesdayThoughts pic.twitter.com/xMm2aKBArS
— 1st Armored Division (@1stArmoredDiv) March 12, 2019
The El Paso Times noted, “The Blackhawk Squadron is the oldest cavalry squadron and regiment in the Army, dating back to March 2, 1833, and among the oldest units of any type in the Army.”
A couple of days later, the Armored Division noted, “El Paso is falling in love w/ a tank named after film star & @WWE legend @TheRock. Check out the @KLAQ article about our #IronSoldiers w/ @Blackhawk_SQDN @2ABCT1AD. No word yet on what the ‘People’s Champ’ thinks about the ‘People’s Tank’ @SimoneGJohnson.”
El Paso is falling in love w/ a tank named after film star & @WWE legend @TheRock. Check out the @KLAQ article about our #IronSoldiers w/ @Blackhawk_SQDN @2ABCT1AD.
No word yet on what the "People's Champ" thinks about the "People's Tank" @SimoneGJohnson https://t.co/ZnSS8fEVqz
— 1st Armored Division (@1stArmoredDiv) March 15, 2019
Johnson got the word, answering on Twitter, “Salute of respect & gratitude to the @Blackhawk_SQDN @1stArmoredDiv for the honor of naming their tank, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. Heavy duty and bad ass, but most importantly, thank you for your service. #IronSoldiers #BlackhawkSquadron #1stArmouredDivision.”
Salute of respect & gratitude to the @Blackhawk_SQDN @1stArmoredDiv for the honor of naming their tank, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
Heavy duty and bad ass, but most importantly, thank you for your service. #IronSoldiers #BlackhawkSquadron #1stArmouredDivision https://t.co/IO4I6jy0Pl
— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) March 16, 2019
Johnson wrote on Instagram that he was “grateful to the bone.”
There were some who decried Johnson’s enthusiastic response; Military Times reported, “ Despite the playful mutual admiration between machine and human tanks, some Instagram users were less than pleased with Johnson’s post, unfollowing the superstar and decrying The Rock for warmongering.”
USA Today noted one critic on Instagram stated, “Well I really like you as a person and everything but what is a tank meant for? If it is to take the lives of human beings and others then it is not admirable… I hope it won’t be used… May God bless you all Peace and Love.” Another added, “Not sure having a destructive weapon named after you is such a great honor.”
Maxim listed some other slams at Johnson:
“Having a death machine named after [you] seems cool until it’s used against beings that don’t truly deserve it.”
“I think they should name a few nukes after you and really get you excited. Maybe they will make a new gun modeled and named after you that can one day be used against innocents. Or maybe just the bullets. Gosh, so many death machines out there, you must be stoked.”
“Wow … getting your name on a kill machine.”
“Those poor people in some random oil-rich country ain’t gonna know what’s hit ’em.”
“You’re obviously not stupid to know what you are representing or what this machine would do and to who — unfollow!”
“How are you OK with people getting killed with your name?”
“You were one of my favorite actors. So disappointed now seeing this. We keep making [these] machines to kill people and you are proud one of them has your name … wow.”
Military Times also noted, “An overwhelming number of users quickly rushed to counter those protesting, however, and in a matter of minutes, what started as a seemingly innocuous social media post derailed into a royal rumble of what only The Rock could call a roody-poo candy-ass comment thread.”
Some positive feedback for The Rock included, “Wasn’t following you, until I read about the backlash from your tweet,” and “I’m against war BUT I am totally supportive of the troops. therock you got my support here for sure, giving thanks to the troops is noble and nothing wrong with having your name on that. Your support of them makes this well earned yourself.”