Corps Refuses to Discipline Marines for Nazi Flag

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The U.S. Marine Corps isn’t particularly bothered by rifle-toting Marines posing next to a flag emblazoned with the insignia of Germany’s Waffen SS. In fact, you could call them the Holocaust deniers amongst us. “I don’t believe that the Marines involved would have ever used any type of symbol associated with the Nazi Germany military criminal organization that committed mass atrocities in WWII,” Maj. Gabrielle Chapin, a spokeswoman at Camp Pendleton, California pronounced to the AP. “It’s not within who we are as Marines.” And yet, there it is. And what’s with the AP calling the flag “Nazi-like”? Is that “Nazi Lite”? Click here for a quick look at the SS’s war crimes as you recall the words of Country Joe and the Fish in one, two, three  . . .

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About Robert Farago

Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.

61 Responses to Corps Refuses to Discipline Marines for Nazi Flag

  1. avatarMatt Gregg says:

    I’d love to believe their claim of ignorance but I just can’t swallow it. Someone had to have known about the SS connection. Regardless of if they did or not though, they should have known and like the peeing video and the puppy toss, they are making the marine corps look bad.

    I think they are making a mistake by not punishing them in some way. Even if it’s just seeking an apology from them and making them learn about WWII and the holocaust.

    • avatarRobert Farago says:

      The article (link wasn’t up when you posted your comment) reveals that the Corps is saying that yes, this will be used as a teachable moment. That is all.

    • avatarDerry M says:

      I guessed that the “SS” stood for “Something Sniper”, but the Flag with those Germanic white lightening bolt runes on the black background is exactly what the NAZI’s used for the Schutzstaffel insignia and flags. Should never have happened.

    • avatarIdahoPete says:

      Of COURSE they were ignorant of what the SS flag looks like – they are products of a public school education, and we know the public schools believe that history started with the election of the ‘Bamster.

      Alternatively, they are bunch of clueless idiots.

      • avatarJH says:

        Perhaps your public schools failed you or your kids but we learned about WWII, Nazis, and the SS.

        Those Marines were just trying to be cute and trying to pull a fast one. Let this be a lesson to any US military member that when adopting symbols of hate they will not cut the muster.

        • avatarJohn B says:

          I am sick and tired of listening to the incredible mass of nonsensicle attacks against the Scout Sniper community in the Corps. Castigating Marines for using the same stylized ‘S’ used by the Waffen SS of hitler’s era makes a smuch sense as complaining that the United States is elevating Hitler or the Roman Empire because we use the Eagle. I was a Scout Sniper 20 years ago and we used those stylized letters as Snipers before us. We did not ascribe to the ideology of the Third Reich or Hitler or anything else and only a mindless, uneducated Baboon would dare accuse United States Marines of such!!! I am sorry Unites States Marines of this day have to be subjected to this kind of shameful, anti-American, anti-Marine rhetoric and appalled that some Marine Corps Officers would stoop to this crap as well. For all you pea brained idiots; let me give you a synopses of the events of WW II; hitler rises, Germany falls under his spell, Hitler hijacks the Waffen SS and changes it’s mission to service to him, Germany falls, we win, those letters are now ours. If you need another way of looking at it, consider our use of those letters the spoils of war. Bottom line; get over it get off the Scout Sniper community and get a life!!! If you need to stump for something, stump for our troops welfare instead of finding ludicrous reasons to bring them down!!!

  2. avatarEmberly Kimberly says:

    You should check out Stiller’s Viper SS action. It has the stylized SS logo engraved in it. I’ve read that they say it is some sort of KISS band reference but I find it objectionable.

  3. avatarSebastian says:

    I happen to think this is actually good news.

    The “sig” rune is an ancient, venerable and respected symbol of Norse culture. As far as I could determine, all the Marine snipers where White. There is nothing wrong in celebrating and affirming your culture, race and heritage…quite the contrary.

    I don’t see anyone demanding negroes, mestizos or jews to be ashamed for, and hide the symbols of their culture. So why does the USMC deem “sig” runes not acceptable? And why aren’t people up in arms that these braves warriors are browbeaten into stopping celebrating their heritage?

    Seems like a case of different weights and measures; of course, we should all be used to this by now, because we live in a “Anti-Racist” society, which is just a code word for “Anti-White”.

    Here’s to hoping in the future many more White Marines and US soldiers go into battle carrying the symbols of their ancestors, sig runes, laurel crowns, swastikas, etc it’s all good. :)

  4. By not punishing them the Marine Corps is encouraging the kind of hatred and racism it always has. In my day it was “gooks.” Now it’s “sandniggers,” or maybe there’s even a more recent version which denotes the evil Muslim.

    All this may be a necessary part of the extreme training required to condition young men to do what they do. But posing for pictures is stupid and should be discouraged with more than “a learning lesson.”

    • avatarMatt Gregg says:

      I think dehumanizing should be avoided at all costs. When you declare someone else sub-human it becomes easier to sleep at night after killing them. That may have some few benefits for avoiding guilt in war times but the plethora of potential downsides are much worse.

      • You’re right Matt, but the Marines would cease to function.

        • avatarIdahoPete says:

          Sounds like you are dehumanizing all Marines. that’s bigotry.

        • avatarTom says:

          The idea that the enemy must be dehumanized is just BS. My Grandfather was in WWI and fought against the Bavarians. He knew the Bavarians were human and tried to stop the Scottish from killing them when the German soldiers were taken prisoner.

  5. avatarAharon says:

    I’m not personally offended by the Marines posing with the flag. Those Marine scout snipers are young guys and WW2, to them, is something that happened long ago. I don’t take it personally. At most, the military needs to clamp down on such SS symbol use moving forward. I suspect that if we really want to get into it many military and political emblems, flags, ceremonies, currency designs, etc may have images that can be tied to terrible (by our modern standards) events of the past. The US has committed atrocities against civilians directly using our military and indirectly US corporations (with the full support and knowledge of the USG) such as Dole Pineapple have colluded with tyrants in third world countries in oppressing that nations poor struggling civilians.

  6. avatarDaver says:

    The Marine Corps has lost much of my respect over the last several years–why is this being allowed to happen? I know that MOST Marines are not racists or rapists or pillagers, but when evidence emerges that indicates that SOME of them might be, nothing is done. Reflects badly on the lot.

    • Excuse me Daver, but what do you know about it. Have you yourself experienced Parris Island training? If you have then you know brainwashing teenagers into hating The Other and thinking of him as sub-human is part of the deal. That’s where it started for those snipers in the picture.

      • avatarmikeyt95608 says:

        Excellent point MikeyB. Perhaps this would be a good place for you to expand on your broad and illuminating experiences in the United States Marine Corps. When did you serve and with the Marine Corps and in which unit? Tell us, oh please! Impart upon us how your demonic view has come to be and what can be done to repair this institution that has brought out the best in men since before the Declaration of Independence was signed.
        Clearly you are not only an expert on the sociological detriments of individual liberties, but also a seasoned veteran of the Corps, and thus a man to be taken seriously in all matters concerning military bearing.
        Tell us of the evils the Corps is guilty of. Share with us your first hand knowledge of how your experiences in basic training turned you into a bloodthirsty killer of men.
        After that, perhaps your opinion will carry some weight. Until then, enjoy the liberties and freedoms bestowed upon you by men of greater character as you cast the memories of history aside for a more favorable revisionist fantasy that makes you sprinkle happiness upon the human condition.
        Troll.

        • Mikey, Why the heavy sarcasm. I’m entitled to my opinion just like you. That doesn’t mean I think I’m and expert in sociology or anything else.

          My idea about the Marines is that young guys who join are usually not patriotic and acting out of a sense of valor. They’re, for the most part just like I was at 17, mixed up, confused and wanting to get away.

          In Parris Island, and I suppose in San Diego, they undergo one of the most effective and powerful brain washing programs ever designed. That’s how they’ve been able to do all those incredibly heroic things they’re famous for.

          Part of the brainwashing requires a distorted view of “the enemy,” as well as a distorted view of “the United States.” These are both major departures from the truth, which is never a good thing.

          It all may be a necessary evil, but that doesn’t make it good and right. I object to the exaggerated and overly glamorizing praise of these young men who are basically being used like pawns by the politicians who’s sons and who themselves generally don’t serve.

          And I object to the justifying of internet images of young marines acting badly.

      • avatarmikeyt95608 says:

        “My idea about the Marines is that young guys who join are usually not patriotic and acting out of a sense of valor. They’re, for the most part just like I was at 17, mixed up, confused and wanting to get away.”
        So I will ask you again, were you a Marine? If not, then your “idea” is just “speculation” and your “confusion” is nothing more than a “ignorance.”
        “Brainwashing,” I just love that word. It implies some evil plot to do harm to the world using some unsuspecting innocent as a patsy. Great concept, but one flaw. Just like “Guns don’t go off by themselves,” zombies are of no use in a combat environment. They just get dead.
        The Corps does something revolutionary: It trains individuals to do the job, regardless of opinion, comfort or conviction. That is all. That is not brainwashing, it is discipline. That is something that anyone who survived being a “confused” 17 year old will tell you they needed.
        Troll.

      • avatarYette-Man says:

        MikeB

        I have been through the training at MCRD Parris Island. You have a highly distorted view of what currently goes on. Your idea of training may have happened in the past(think Vietnam era) but it is no longer the way thing are done.

        • I doubt that very much. When I graduated from Parris Island in July 1970, my father who had gone through his own training there in 1950 expressed surprise that it was just the same. He and his friends of the Korean generation always thought they were from the Old Corps and by the Vietnam era it had changed. It hadn’t and he saw that with his own eyes.

          I suspect the same is true still. That’s what makes the Marines the elite force they are, they don’t change in those essential elements that make them what they are.

          Whether that’s a good thing is another debate. Whether it’s a necessary thing is another debate. But I seriously doubt that the basics have changed.

  7. avatarAharon says:

    The Swastika as many know is an ancient symbol tied to the Aryan people of ancient India and has been associated with the Hindu religion for a long time. There are many different versions of the Swastika. No, I do not want to see its modern westernized Nazi use displayed since That has obvious fascist meaning.
    The SS symbol, I think, can also be shown in different ways. The obvious Nazi SS to me is different than some other possible non-associated ancient European uses.

  8. avatarSevere says:

    This level of political correctness is stupid. Marine Scout Snipers have used the double lighting bolts as the symbol for ‘Scout Sniper’ for years. Just because some unimformed senstive type sitting on their couch at home sees this and freaks out we’re now going to start accusatiosns of the Marines being wholey racist and “holocaust deniers”?! Seriously!?

    The military is full of symbology borrowed from past armies; friendly or otherwise. I suppose we should strip them of those symbols also less we offend someone. I guess we should remove every instance of a skull for fear of it being construed as the Death Heads or perhaps strike every red cross emblem out of concern that a non-Christian might percieve it as the Knights Templar. Maybe, JUST MAYBE we should bring the rock band KISS to trial for clearly using letters which support the Schutz-Staffel meaning they holocaust deniers.

    ….ugh

  9. avatarHenry Bowman says:

    I won’t pretent to know the motives of these marines in the photo.

    What I do know is that military recruiting and training is designed to nurture the “inner psycopath” in all of us. It is designed to imbue a core belief in “our” team and that anyone against “our” team must die. Today’s military will go anywhere to kill anyone for any reason with nary a question nor objection. Just like the SS, they will follow orders.

    • avatarHAVE GUN says:

      “What I do know is that military recruiting and training is designed to nurture the “inner psycopath” in all of us”

      I can’t speak to your “military training”, but I seemed to have missed that “inner psycopath” class while in the Army.

      • avatarHenry Bowman says:

        Really? They never taught you how to kill people but to not feel guilty about it because they were the “enemy”, that they were somehow less than human, or that you could rationalize killing them because it was “for the greater good” or “self-defense” or “protecting freedom” or “spreading democracy?”

        • avatarSoftware Cowboy says:

          I don’t recall that kind of training, but then again, I went through basic back in ’86 and I wasn’t in the Marines. I do recall training on the Geneva conventions and that “I was just following an order” was not going to protect me from prosecution just because someone higher ranking gave me an illegal order.

          What branch were you in and when did you go through this indoctrination?

  10. avatarStacy says:

    Yes this was dumb and in bad taste, and they should have known it would get out and make the Corps look bad. All true, and irrelevant. Members of the military are adults and have freedom of speech just like the rest of us. Freedom of speech includes the freedom to be a dummy and/or jerk, or it doesn’t mean anything at all.

  11. avatarusmcwarrior says:

    FLAME DELETED

    BTW; Marines – and Scout Snipers are. It Nazis, do not glorify Nazis and do noel attempt to emulate Nazis. Young Marines who are compelled to spill there own blood for a bunch of over sensitive bone-heads who have their pantys in a bunch over the use of a stylized version of the first two letters of there named profession, choose to express their pride in Corps and Country by projecting images to demoralize their enemies. Get over it!

    You want to impress someone; shut up and join and do something constructive. Crying over the use of a couple of lightening bolt looking FLAME DELETED

    Try supporting these young men for their willingness to put it all on the line FLAME DELETED rather than looking for reasons to denegrade the finest military organization on the planet.

    BTW; urinating on the corpses of demonically inspired and murderous dung isn’t worth tacking about either..unless, of course, you like the pedaphilic, head cutting, women hating scum they emptied their bladders on, in which case; you are part of the problem.

    Enough!!

    • avatarHenry Bowman says:

      To all: see above for the case in point of my comment regarding “inner psycopath” and “our” team.

  12. avatarMike OFWG says:

    ‘Hitler’s Bodyguards’ seems to be a continuously running serial on the Military Channel. After watching a few episodes, I realized that our own President is guarded by an organization who’s initials are SS and they seem to have some similarities? Coincidence? You be the judge.

  13. avatarmichael says:

    In our feminized society, any hint of of militarism, even within the military, is frowned upon. The solution (soon to be upon us) is to have a group of women “soldiers” sitting in an air conditioned bunker manning drone joy-stick controllers. It will be a plus if the women have a fair contingent of lesbians and ethnic/racial minorities.

    That way, the killing will be cleaner, and we won’t have to worry about these sorts of politically incorrect incidents happening.

  14. avatarJoseph says:

    I think the Marines should piss on anyone who doesn’t like what they do. I’m talking all those who sit at a computer in a safe land and and second guess, and put down these brave marines before heading out to the mall. Or, maybe to the range to shoot at harmless paper targets. And then get on firearms blogs to brag about their prowess with a gun, and offer their impotent poppycock about others who voluntarily risk life and limb for our country.

    If you haven’t served in combat you cannot judge those who are there. FLAME DELETED

  15. avatarJoseph says:

    Those who sit in front of their computers in a safe environment and offer impotent, inane comments about our brave Marines should really just go back to watching TV. You obviously know nothing about war or warriors.

    Looks like a nice day to go the the mall…I wonder what those mean ole Marines will be doing in Afghanistan today?

  16. avatarPhil H says:

    Per usual, we seem to be ending up arguing over the wrong things – things that frankly were not part of the original argument.

    Individual stupidity by individual Marines cannot help but reflect on the Corps as a whole, but criticizing stupid individual Marines is NOT the same thing as criticizing the Corps as a whole. I really hate that dodge – that somehow people who put their lives on the line are completely immune to any criticism, that if you are not a soldier, you basically cannot say anything bad about soldiers, ever. That’s just absurd.

    The ancient roots of the SS runes are also irrelevant.

    And to say that this is political correctness is beyond absurd.

    Seventy years ago, thousands of American soldiers died killing Nazis, and the worst of those Nazi soldiers wore SS runes. And now we have American soldiers proudly displaying SS runes. And that’s… OK? Really?

    Those Marines who are displaying those runes are profoundly disrespecting the thousands of soldiers who died in their name, and for their freedom, in World War II. There is no way around that conclusion.

    This SS runes controversy, by the way, has nothing to do with the “urinating Marines” incident – they are merely connected by time. For the record, I thought the criticism of those Marines was ridiculous, and is a piece of the bizarre double-think that afflicts so many people when it comes to warfare: it’s OK to enlist our young men and teach them to blow up, shoot, and disembowel their fellow humans (while those same fellow humans are at the same time trying desperately to do the same things to them), but it’s somehow beyond the pale if, after that life or death struggle has ended, they blow off a little steam by urinating on the shredded corpses. War is war.

    • avatarkenn says:

      Easy way to fix this whole problem. DEATH THREAT DELETED. By the way if you don’t know it Mexicans are taking over our country and no one is doing anything about that . See Arizona non english speeking person running for office….. I hope our Marine snipers have something to say about that….all you complaining about our military should be sent to Afghanistan for a four year tour. we will make sure you wear the stars and stripes, lets see how long you you can survive, keep on cutting our military down and they may be the ones suppressing you when someone else takes over this country. Enjoy what little freedom you have left. It isn’t going to last much longer.

  17. avatarCharles says:

    From the perspective of a visual artist I have to say the connotation is very strong and I don’t blame folks for being offended. Also from my perspective it’s easy to see how most folks would have missed the connotation, I am often surprised by how often people fail see the similarities in various designs. I think a redesign of the banner would be both in order and easy to do.

    They could change their name, but that smells too much like PC. I think now that it’s become an issue they should just change the logo.

  18. avatarRalph says:

    Political correctneXX gone mad yet again. JuXt like the father who didn’t want his child reading the word “gun,” now we are required to ban the letter “s” from the alphabet. Can it get more Xtupid?

    Leave theXe MarineX alone. We cannot train a bunch of brave guyX to go out and kill the enemy, and then add “but don’t offend anyone.”

  19. avatarGary says:

    I could care less what young men in a combat zone does to celebrate their subculture of killing. The SS was an elite unit of the German Armed Forces that had a deserved reputation of ruthlessness and ability who could be called upon to be the ultimate fire brigade in times of crisis on the front lines. It was this that these young men were refering to. The SS units that perpetrated the holocaust atrocities were not the same ones that fought on the front lines. By no means do I absolve the SS from the terrible things they did but no way did these young men trained to coldly kill the enemy, do anything much wrong here. Keep your political correctness and let these young men do what they do so well and avert your eyes if it bothers you. Maybe you forget the image their spotters have of heads and limbs flying through the air when that fifty cal. hits a human body? Leave the lads alone and worry about something important.

  20. avatarJoe Grine says:

    Having spent almost 6 years in the Army, my guess is that these guys honestly did not know the significance of the SS runes. More likely than not, they had seen these runes in previous Scout Sniper logos, or from various pop culture symbols (the bands KISS and Motorhead have used these runes in their logos and promotional materials, as have a variety of lesser known heavy metal bands). Or maybe they thought they just looked “kool.”

    When I was in the military, I was constantly amazed at how oblivious many of the soldiers were about military history and tactics – and today’s youth are 20 years further removed from WWII than I was. Obviously, some soldiers were well-read, but the vast majority were not. And I mean that as an understatement.

    Also Hardcore racists (i.e. pro-KKK (or black Panther, as the case may be) / pro-nazi etc) do exist in the military, but they are VERY rare and typically don’t last long because – among other reasons – they are poisonous to unit cohesion. It most often manefests itself as “White v. Black” racism, but, again, its very rare.

    Thus, while I can’t say for sure what is going on in this photo, I’d be willing to bet that these guys just thought they had a snazzy new design for their “Scout Sniper” logo and had not given any (or enough) thought to the political ramifications of the logo.

    Furthermore, even if these Marines had given it any thought, the desire to be perceived as a “bad-ass” by their peers would be far more important to them than whatever academic niceties may be associated with some nebulous debate about the political context of SS bolts. Having observed infantry unit behavior up close, I can say that often can be pretty harsh to one another esp. if they perceive weakness in any one particular person – think baby birds throwing the runt out of the nest. This results in everybody making a concerted effort to prove to everybody else in the squad that they are the meanest MF in the valley. Given that reality, one can understand why grunts start pissing on corpses, tossing puppies off cliffs, or perhaps not wanting to raise any academic debate about the the political morality of SS runes.

    Having said all that, it is obviously not acceptable, and I’m sure their superior officers quickly rectified the situation. Some of the other folks posting on Facebook about this issue noted that it may be that these guys just appreciated the combat prowess of the SS. While it is true that it would be difficult for any student of military history to not marvel at the bravery and élan of SS men (such as Michael Whitman, Otto Carius, and Fritz Klingenberg – to name just a few), I think most of us understand that incredible evil that the SS represented outweighs whatever admiration that the individual SS men or units might otherwise have earned for their combat prowess.

  21. avatarKevin T says:

    I thought they just posed with a captured flag. It doesn’t automatically make them heil hitler nazis.

  22. avatarSean says:

    These idiots do not know what their grandfathers or great grandfathers fought for. They should have been immediately dishonorably discharged.

  23. avatarBill S. says:

    The real NAZI SS flag is BLACK. This one they designed is BLUE. NAZI colors were black, red and white, not blue. They probably thought the lightning bolt like letters looked a lot cooler than the standard curved ‘s’ , which they do. It was poor judgement, but that is all. They are warriors, not politicians.

  24. avatarFrank says:

    Seeing as I never trust the AP to get things right, I assume there is a lot more to the story. Like part of the flag is obscured by the Marines maybe? However why did the Marines not know the history and symbolism of the SS logo?

  25. avatarDennis says:

    You all have nothing to do, so you spend time looking to cause problems. Our troops are just proude of their job and their unit. That flags could be a misalined pair of captains bars. Thank them. They deserve better than the cr– that you bring up. Capt. USN RET

  26. avatarTom says:

    I would say a lot of people are going to take the Marine SS flag as a Waffen SS flag. Notably WWII veterans and their kids; maybe a lot of older people in Europe as well. The SS was notorious for slaughtering American GIs ( Malmedy Massacre ) and the Amercian GIs were know to ” take care of the SS” as well. My Father in Law said that he ” took care of the SS” when they liberated Dachau. There is a lot of hate toward the SS out in TV land and the Marine SS flag is going to draw a lot of controversy.

  27. avatarclamp says:

    I was in from 96 to 00 and our Scout-Snipers had the symbol everywhere. All these years it went unnoticed.

    Just a reminder, Marines do kill people for a living, in case anyone forgot. We also curse, make gay jokes, make fun of each others religions, sing cadences about S&M man and machine-gunning civilians, watch porn, participate in underage drinking, and have pre-marital sex. Alert the media.

  28. avatarAdolf Hitler says:

    Thanks for the shout-out guys! I’m looking forward to being your next President.

    Yours truly,

    Chaos

  29. avatarmike says:

    The idiot’s in the media don’t know shit about the military or the Marine Corps Scout Sniper community. It’s not a Nazi flag. Scout Snipers have uses that lightning bolt “ss” symbol for a long time and it has nothing to do with Hitler or Nazi Germany. I’m disgusted that people would support the idea of punishing good, well trained, professional operators for the sake of political correctness.

    get the sand out of your vagina’s you whiny bitches.

  30. avatarLance says:

    From what I have heard Marines say, the flag stands for “Scout Snipers.” And while the Nazis committed some of the worst crimes that humanity has ever seen, they did have an appealing sense of style. So i think the Marines should have thought about the possible public backlash against the flag, but I doubt it is actually a statement supporting Nazi ideals.

  31. avatarStant says:

    All this over a font….really?

    Didn’t KISS use this same font back in the day?

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