Editor’s note: This story was updated on Dec. 12, 2023 to note that Rick Dickson did not face punitive action for his tweet, and he was reinstated to his role.
The public affairs officer for 3rd Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, was suspended after tweeting about a woman’s cup size from his personal Twitter account, Army officials confirmed Wednesday.
Capt. Rick Dickson posted — and subsequently deleted — a message referring to the size of a friend’s breasts in response to an earlier tweet he had made with a photo of the two together.
In an apology video, Dickson and his friend clarified that the cup size comments were intended as a “jab” back at people who were harassing her over her appearance. The friend said in the apology video that Dickson’s response to the Twitter comments “did not bother me.”
The suspension was first reported by local television station WRAL. Dickson’s unit is conducting a commander’s inquiry into the matter.
Dickson made the comments from his personal account, but “that doesn’t excuse any distasteful or potentially inappropriate language being used,” an Army official familiar with the situation said on background.
The official said the investigation is likely evaluating whether Dickson violated Army command policy’s social media guidance with his tweet.
Dickson declined to comment when reached by Army Times on Wednesday morning.
The incident comes after Task & Purpose reported Tuesday about an internal survey of women in Army special operations units that found 40 percent of responding women had experienced gender bias in the workplace.
Dickson is also the latest soldier to face potential discipline over messages or statements made in a personal capacity. The Army has seen a large number of similar cases in recent months.
A chaplain from 3rd Security Force Assistance Brigade at Fort Hood, Texas, is fighting a reprimand he received after an anti-transgender comment he made on Facebook in response to an Army Times article.
Another soldier, a paralegal noncommissioned officer in Italy, is under investigation from his command after posting an “old school rant” claiming that women with ponytails look unprofessional in uniform.
And a Colorado National Guard officer is taking his case to federal court after he claims his superiors punished him because of his participation in Black Lives Matter protests.
“[Dickson’s] unit will determine [if] further action is required,” said the Army official. “The bottom line is you represent the Army, no matter what.”
Davis Winkie covers the Army for Military Times. He studied history at Vanderbilt and UNC-Chapel Hill, and served five years in the Army Guard. His investigations earned the Society of Professional Journalists' 2023 Sunshine Award and consecutive Military Reporters and Editors honors, among others. Davis was also a 2022 Livingston Awards finalist.