A deluge of mass distribution emails has once again caused havoc for thousands of soldiers.
On June 26, an Army message of unexplained origin spawned a chain reaction of “reply all” emails, which soldiers bemoaned on social media.
One recipient, an anonymous “special agent” with the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division, was so flummoxed by the message that they jokingly responded, “This is Special Agent [...] from Army CID, anyone who hit reply all is now under investigation. You murdered my inbox.”
Alas, public affairs for Army CID declined to comment about the veracity of the sender’s response.
“Just remember folks,” wrote a user on a popular Army subreddit, “There’s the stupidity of ‘replying all’ to a thread with a distro with 30K people on it. Then there’s the stupidity of replying all to point out your frustration about everyone replying all.”
The number of soldiers on the distribution list could not be confirmed, nor could the Army comment on where the email originated or its subject matter.
“The Army is aware of the recent emails sent to a distribution list, which went to a subset of the Army’s email users,” according to Jason Waggoner, an Army spokesperson. “The issue has been resolved and the Army is taking steps to prevent similar incidents in the future.”
One Reddit poster suggested the original email came from a colonel serving in the Pentagon — a chaplain. However, this information could not be verified.
“This man blessed tens of thousands of soldiers, promote ahead of peers,” wrote one Redditor in response to the rumor.
The most recent incident, which Military Times’ Observation Post internally insists on calling the “reply-all-pocalypse,” hearkens back to a mere six months ago when another reply-all tsunami swept up the Army in a sea of angry emails and, of course, memes.
In February, an Army captain requesting to be left off a distribution list inadvertently replied all to more than 13,000 soldiers with the “FA57 Voluntary Transfer Incentive Program.” What followed, according to an anonymous op-ed penned by an officer for Military.com was utter chaos as hundreds more began replying all, kicking off a cataclysm of “stop replying all” emails. Eventually, this lent itself to the proliferation of memes, Rickrolling, and our personal favorite, fake Nigerian prince scams.
While office workers around the world know the scourge of being cc’d onto a message chain so profoundly tedious it’d make you want to claw your eyes out every time your phone buzzes with a “New Email” notification, many soldiers found joy in the reply-all battle that ensued.
“I love when this happens,” wrote one commenter on Reddit. “Makes me feel slightly better about my dumpster fire working situation to be like ‘at least I didn’t email the entire f----- army today.’”
Sarah Sicard is a Senior Editor with Military Times. She previously served as the Digitial Editor of Military Times and the Army Times Editor. Other work can be found at National Defense Magazine, Task & Purpose, and Defense News.