Monday, February 13, 2012

Leadership, Priorities, and the Schutzstaffel

Of all the military history and iconography US military units can borrow from ... way down on my list would be anything associated with Nazi Germany - on par with Communists.

Anything associated with the military units of either of those European intellectual cancers is so far removed from the American military tradition - it is just stupid for anyone to go there.

I'll give the modern German military their own traditions - but even they are smart enough to avoid this insanity that broke out last week.
The Marine Corps on Thursday once again did damage control after a photograph surfaced of a sniper team in Afghanistan posing in front of a flag with a logo resembling that of the notorious Nazi SS ...
First things first; don't even try to make excuses. Don't embarass yourself - they knew what that symbol means.

The only mitigating factor might be an education system that refuses to "judge," is weak on history, and is even worse in teaching critical thought. In any event - even nations who should know better seem to have a similar problem.

Besides what martial tradition those Marines were thinking they needed to tap in to - this is really about something quite deeper and much wider than just the USMC. We've touched on it a few times here .... but no one has quite captured the problem as well as Captain Brett Friedman, USMC over at the Marine Corps Gazette blog. Brett, you take it from here;
Every Marine has heard the old trope that supervision is the most important step in BAMCIS, but do we know how to do it? It’s more than just ensuring that tasks get accomplished, regulations are adhered to, and Marines are present for duty. If you, as a leader, are not affecting how those tasks get accomplished, which of those regulations are followed, and how Marines conduct themselves when not present for duty, you’re only doing the bare minimum of what is expected of you. If your only method for affecting your Marines as your subordinates is punishment and paperwork, you’ve yet to learn the meaning of leadership. No matter how long you’ve been in.

LtCol Grice’s post and these tragic events that have come to light lately prove that we no longer know how to supervise, lead, and maintain discipline. We’re supervising the wrong things. Unfortunately, there’s no real way to retrain the Marine Corps to fix our supervision problem. It’s a direct result of our culture. Our culture has brought us to the point where we all bear responsibility for these events. Every one of us. Every NCO who is more concerned with knocking out a checklist than mentoring his young Marines. Every SNCO who spends time searching out uniform regulation infractions. Every officer more concerned with paperwork and formats than setting an example. Every Marine, of any rank, who has told a subordinate to “shut up and color” when he or she pointed out that something was wrong. Our acquiescence to a culture of corrosive leadership has created this problem. We allowed leadership to be conflated with the creation and rote memorization of irrelevant regulations. We stopped mentoring and started poor parenting. We allowed bureaucratization to drown professionalism. We fostered a belief that we are special snowflakes who need rules, but not morality. We hazed Lance Corporal Lew. We desecrated human bodies. We posed in front of Nazi symbology. It's our fault that the Commandant has had to publicly apologize for a problem that our poor leadership caused.

All of these events were a failure of leadership. Every Marine involved knew that what they were doing is wrong, but they did nothing to stop it. This is a problem that a safety standown, more specific regulations, and education about morality and ethics will not fix. We have fostered a culture that takes perverse pleasure in enforcing irrelevant standards while simultaneously ignoring or enabling true misconduct. We’ve fostered a generation of Marines who will look at the picture of the scout snipers and see facial hair, unbloused boots, and hands in pockets before they notice Nazi propaganda. They will quickly condemn failures in appearance but will enable and defend moral failings. They will ignore and allow a Lance Corporal to be hazed and ostracized. They will join in with the desecration of bodies. These are our priorities. But at least the grass around the battalion CP will remain undisturbed by feet clad in identical socks.
Verily, verily, verily.

From off-angle #1 priorities, to an obsession with glowbelts and uniform regs that require a JAG to provide guidance - we have the symptoms. The illness? As with most things - it is leadership.

I will ask you this though - are our leaders being allowed to lead? In an environment where one immature, small minded, insecure person who is feeling butt-hurt can launch an IG to destroy someone because they didn't show LCDR Butt-hurt enough love - is there any wonder that we have trended towards bureaucracy and the petty tyranny of little rules?

Hat tip SWJ.


  1. SCOTTtheBADGER06:44

    I am not entirely sure that they DID know what the lightning bolts symbolised, at least not the true exent of the meaning.  History is not taught in the schools anymore, other than as a everyone is inclusive, these are the crimes of America course.  I have had to explain what the Bulge was, and once, while feeling impish, when I was at a McDonalds, and was reading a book on the 8th AF's campaign against German industry, I was asked by a teenage worker what I was reading, and i showed him the book, and explained that it was a book on the bombing campaign by the North against the South, during the Civil War. I showed him the aftermath of the Burning of Atlanta, ( Hamburg), and he was buying the whole thing, so i had to tell him I was pulling his chain and tell him the truth.

      To people of my age, who had relatives who fought in WWII, and were taught about it, there would never be any question about using the SS symbol, but young people of today may only have a hazy grasp of the SS being a real bunch of Nasty Boyz.  I wonder if the young Marines in the photo could even tell us what Tarawa was? 

      I know that I have had to explain to a young sailor of my aquaintence that there was once such a thing as DEs, and that at one time, the USN had 150 carriers. That at the end of the war, it was USN policy to have any major fleet asset have 4 escorts, and that we could give each of the ESSEXes, the ENTERPRISE, the SARATOGA, and the INDEPENDCES each 4 FLETCHERS, and still have FLETCHERS to spare, not to mention the SUMNER/GEARINGs, MAHANS, SIMS, BENSONs , GLEAVES, and BRISTOLs.  We had the DEs to escort the CVEs in conjunction with the WICKES/CLEMSONs.

    History needs to come back, and be taught to everyone.  Then we would avoid many of the mistakes being made today. Provided we can drag people away from thier Wiis long enough to listen 

  2. Minority Sailor06:50


    It takes courage to go against the group when they are doing wrong. It takes more courage when the leadership is 'leading the way' with the inappropriate behavior. It is easier to 'go along' to 'get along'. Not surprise this went on for so long. I am positive that if a member of the group objected he would have been treated like crap by the members and the leadership. Hmmmm .... wonder how people were treated in 134 when they brought up concerns about the CO's behavior. Yep ... it's takes a lot if courage to stand up openly against wrong.


  3. cdrsalamander07:23

    You really didn't read Brett's article ... did you?

  4. goatmaster8908:03

    I really want to believe what Mr. Badger has to say.  The idea of Marines using Nazi symbols as sources of pride is just too painful if it was not caused by a lack of knowledge.

    That being said, the key lesson I take from this is a subset of leadership, "discipline".  The SS flag is particularly loathsome, but I would not allow a platoon (or a division of a ship) to use the logo of anyone outside the USN/USMC for such a purpose.  There is a reason every ship, squadron, MEU and battalion has a crest or logo.  When we relax discipline, our troop start by having the logo of their favorite NFL or NBA team on the bulkhead or in the camp.  Next are the pictures of Maxim girls.  At the end of the slippery slope you get this.

    Discipline is what keeps our Sailors and Marines from doing stupid stuff. 

  5. Andy08:07

    It is very instructive to drop on by the forums at and read the discussion on this over there, mainly from a Marine junior enlisted grunt POV. There are posts asking the inevitably face-palm inducing cringe questions ("hey, its been done for a long time," "I don't get why everyone is so upset") as well as some NCO's trying to get others to "get it." There are those who even point out the stylized "SS" is part of the "KISS" brand as well. But nowhere do I see anyone asking "where were the SNCO's, Platoon Leader and Company Commander to ask 'Is this a good idea?'"

    But this is not new; for most of my career I fought back against an ingrained "technology and science are the only educational values of any worth to the Navy" attitude. It's not nice to see the Corps seems to be similarly infected.

  6. cdrsalamander08:37

    Ah yes ... moral relativism.  As for the Kiss dodge - it is just that, a dodge.  There is a big difference than a group of nice Jewish boys (Kiss) having two "s" that look kind of like the Nazi SS symbol (note that Kiss is a word and the two "s" have a shorter top stroke than bottom stroke) - and this.

    Do yourself a favor and read the above. 

    Another lame excuse is that "It is a dark blue background and not a black background ... "

    Really?  Really? That is your exuse?  I have also seen Marines say "I have had that tatoo on my calf for over a decade and I'm a scout sniper ... "  Well then, you are an idiot and every Marine leader who said nothing to you in the last decade is an idiot.

    It is one thing to have a 173rd soldier with SPQR ... but an SS tatoo? Lame.

  7. UltimaRatioRegis08:40

    Captain Friedman is right as rain.  Though this is an abberation, and a rare one, thankfully, it is still a leadership failure from the NCO ranks on up.

    His larger point, that we spend an inordinate amount of time on chicken-sh*t, is a good one.  A checklist rather than teaching and leading.  Reinforced by COs that would rather stay off the skyline than push their units to excel. 

    I am not sure those young Marines really do know what that symbol represents.  They think bad=bad-assed when in reality bad=unspeakable cruelty and evil.  However, we have an Administration whose officials call supporters of Der Schutzstaffel a mere "political organization", and refuse to publicly admit that people like MB openly supported Hitler's Final Solution. 

    Because, as is pointed out, history is taught very selectively.  Time to teach it true.  But that requires truthful conversation about current events.  Which isn't likely. 

    When the seniors in the chain of command ask the juniors how something like this could happen, they should listen carefully to the answer, and then ask themselves the same question.   When you refrain from worrying about the big problems, you obsess over the small ones.

  8. Byron09:35

    You don't want his pointy little head to get big, do you?

  9. andrewdb09:40

    The Terminal Lance audience is not likely to wonder why the SNCOs didn't step in and tell them what to do more often.

  10. ivan002609:44

    I hate to say this but I think MinoritySailor is right.

    As much as I have heard about courage and integrity, Moral courage is definitely not encouraged by some commands. I think that is one of the trade-offs of the choice between independant action and obedience that any organization has to make. There are countless statements urging people to be "respectful" and the like but actuallycomplaining for something that isn't likely to get an IG investigation isn't going to help anybody's career. Even if the issue is serious, people are still concerned by the lack of obedience and the perceived betrayal when something like this is reported.

    Maybe we need more History instruction in schools to give people some idea of where that leads.

  11. DeltaBravo09:56

    Ooh, neat flag site.  For only $4.99 you can order one of those?  Howzabout the Navy getting one of those Nazi Navy flags as a source of unit pride? 

  12. cdrsalamander09:56

    ... and a larger problem.  I kind of like this video ... but even here, I get two <span>swastika.</span>!

  13. Andy09:59

    By "instructive," I mean "YHGTBSM" instructive. Forums like TL are a useful tool to get a flavor of what the junior enlisted, or at least those with computer skills, are saying and thinking in relatively unguarded moments.  Fail to know what's coming up from the deckplates, IMHO, leads to things like the "SS" flag.  And yes, guys like that flag seller would have been dealt with by a local community in simpler times.  Of course, as you so sagely point out, the other issue goes to the "why" this wasn't shut down the instant someone said "hey, I have this idea; why don't we..." 

    It's going to be incumbent on new JO's and seasoned NCO/SNCO's to have to teach their junior enlisted stuff they should have been taught in school, but the deep-rooted failures of our public educational system is a topic for another day.

  14. Dirt_Sailor10:01

    I hope you're being ironic. Because there's a thick line between things that build espirit de corps- in my community, Calico Jacks, Viking axes, etc, or een putting up a team logo- and an SS symbol. Saying that the two are on the same road is -at best- hyperbole.

    Bottom Line, I'm really glad I don't work for you.

  15. DeltaBravo10:02

    Terminal lance there needs a filter.  Guess that's why he's a terminal lance....

  16. Andy10:03

    Andrew, I've discovered the TL forums do have a number of active posters who are SNCO's, an interesting aspect of the site.  But as Sal observes, this has generated a lot of relativistic arguement that speaks to several underlying issues.  I would hope that given his bully platform, the CMC will be sending out some very direct thoughts on this matter as a "P4" soon, that will be headed downrange in a hurry. 

  17. DeltaBravo10:06

    Or at least keep the "good idea fairy" under closer surveillance.....

  18. andrewdb10:16

    Andy - I enjoy reading TL, and a Marine SSG is the one who suggested I check it out. I regret I didn't go up to Pendelton when he was here signing books - they would have made great Christmas gifts for some of my friends!

  19. Short10:41

    I believe MS has been so quick to sing the praises of the perpetually aggrieved in 134 because he happens to be the DH in question.  Which kind of cheapens all of those comments written an an unaffiliated observer  Anonymity can be preserved without cheapening yourself, but as they say, I think you're doing it wrong.

  20. cdrsalamander10:56

    I don't think so. MS is based out of DC and has been a commenter here on a regular basis.  He is mostly interested in what he sees as (D)iversity issues, sadly, - and we usually only see him on Thu. A little too ethno-sectarian for my tastes ... but he has good sandbox skills and is always welcome here.

  21. Short11:10



  22. James11:44

    The problem here is that it is a symbol some asshate stole from well everyone-YES EVERYONE-to use for his racist ahole propaganda.

    Im talking about the swastika. In many places in asia it is used to show the cycle of life....infact it is one of the oldest symbols in human history and one of the most wide spread. All hitler has to do with it is he turned it around and put it on a red flag.

    Effectively every single symbol in human history can be seen and said to be evil and racist. INCLUDING the cross because of the crusades, the conquering of the new world (thanks spanish), and any of a hundred other symbols including our flag. Point is its a symbol. That symbol will stay that way as long as the only people who use them are the racist and bigots. Which making it illegal or wrong for anyone to use them afterwards only makes that connection permanent.

    If you look hard enough you will find every symbol at some time has been used by people with the wrong intentions EVERY SYMBOL. So should they all be banned?

    BTW that twin lightning bolt symbol has been used for a very very long time. Including in the  scout snipers sense before the vietnam war.

    Banning symbols is lazy and dangerous. Because in the end those symbols lose their own original meaning. And its also a free speach thing.

    Wana look like a douche and march under a Nazi flag? GO AHEAD! knock yourself out......i support your right to march.......I also respect my right to throw rocks and bullets at you as well as several incindiary objects.
    The Nazi swastika stands only for the Nazi's however the symbols used elsewhere stand for things far older.

  23. Guest11:58

    Years ago I worked for a biotech company that one of the executives decided to send out a memo (and actual memo - this was before email) that touted the company's experience in developing drugs to treat Lysosomal Storage Disorders.  The memo went on and on about how we had lots of experience in Lysosomal Storage Disorders and that we a recognized industry leader when it came to Lysosomal Storage Disorders.

    the only problem was that after the first "Lysosomal Storage Disorder" in the memo, it was refererred to as "LSD" for the rest of the memo!  Not quite the meaning that the executive wanted in the memo but it was amusing to read.

    My point is that you have to be careful with the symbols that you use and be smart enough to make sure that they do not have associations that you do not intend to have apply to your use of the symbols.  And guess what?  Most if not all of the symbols used by Nazi German are going to be off-limits.  Or should be off-limits for anyone with a brain...

    You want to use the abbreviation "SS" for Scout-Sniper?  Wonderful.  But you might want to make damn sure to minimize as much as possible any reference to the "SS" of Nazi Germany, which is what most people are going to think of when they see "SS".  And that is not my problem with your choice of symbols - that is your problem for picking a symbol so closely associated in look and feel as a symbol used by Nazi Germany.


  24. goatmaster8912:16

    I was not trying to be ironic.  I agree there is a world of difference.  If the Boatswain Mates on USS NEW YORK (to use that ship as an example) want to paint the crossed acnhors of the BM rate on the bulkhead up in the sail loft, that's fine.  The crosses anchors are a recognized USN symbol on the uniform of a rated Boatswain Mate.  If they want to put the logo of the New York Jets or New York Knicks, that isn't hurting anyone, but it starts the breakdown in discipline that leads to someone having to draw a line somewhere.  When it becomes a poster of the Maxim Hot 100, people start to get in trouble.  When it becomes the SS or a swastika, it becomes disgusting.  You said the line is thick, and I agree.  However, being a leader means having to draw that thick line somewhere.

    Who knows - you might like working for me - drop me a tweet if you ever get orders to NAVSEA.

  25. Byron12:19

    No offense, James, but the Jew in me says, "Bullshit". Any asshole wearing Nazi crap is going to get the whole 205 pds of coonass in his face. Lit one of their beards with a zippo once. And the symbol you are talking about is the "Sigrund" and it comes from Norse mythology and stands for lighting bolts.

    Maybe in 200 years that'll all behind us...Maybe. Then again we NEED to remember what happens when good men stand idly by.

    Now, go convince someone else that this is really nothing at all except a mixup in symbology

  26. Aubrey12:25

    Never agreed with MS, but never had a problem with him. He has always made his points cleanly and without jumping into the nasty personal attacks and insane rants that others with contrary views have.  

  27. SouthernAP12:29

    Okay lets take a breather here for a second and look at the fails and facepalms here.

    First off we have a leadership failing. I say that because there had to have been some E-5's and E-6's who knew about this flag and knew about how shady it look. It doesn't however much you want to argue that this only a deployment only flag that wasn't going to make it state side. When this was made it should have been killed fast. As an example I can tell you that I was in a command that did a deployment to MCAS Iwakuni. A few of the E-5's had bought into a plan of buying some custom mugs that said "Hiroshima was da bomb!" after they did a group tour of the city and museum. The problem was they didn't get how double entendre that meaning could be to some folks. In the end they were advised by the FCPOA to just kill the whole mug thing and refund the money. A quick training session later by a few of the PO1's about how folks with hate in thier minds can take an simple saying the wrong way can lead to issues for both the command, themselves, and the fleet; all of which clued in everyone. We didn't resort to big (D) cluebats rather we used the little (d) cluebats.

    Second facepalm is how big (D)iversity has failed here. Sorry, but those of you that do pray at this altar did fail. Numerous training sessions later just isn't going to fix this issue. Nor is having mandatory instructions looking for this type of paraphelia going to fix this either. Rather more effective training that talks about cultural norms, race, symbols and how someone perverted those symbols would be more effective. All of which needs to be done via something other then a group that belongs to (D)iversity. Which only leads to the final major fail/facepalm here

    Is how history education and more then likely education on a whole has failed here. A simple education on the symbology that the Nazis used when these kids were young would have shown the evil that is now attached to those symbols. Even more so an cultural education prior to arriving on station would have taught these jokers that just because no one looks the other way about a symbol in country doesn't mean diddly squat. I have been plenty of places where I can see the Hammer and Sickle, Che Guvera, Clans, Crips/Bloods, Hells Angels symbols overseas; all in places that don't understand the symbols just know they are associated with certain cultural aspects people want to emulate.

    So ask yourselves before getting caught in the trap of moral relativisim and the well laid trap of (D)iversity friendship circle, how we should fix this to prevent the re-occurance of defects.

  28. Aubrey12:31

    We have a society that celebrates criminals and killers (Mumia Abu-Jamal I'm looking and you!), as well as making stars of thugs and gang-bangers...while I thought the good Captain nailed it with his post about leadership, this trend is reflective of our society as a whole, and not purely inherent in the Marine culture (thankfully, if the senior leaders have the balls, I think the Marine culture can at least fix their own house...I think "outside" society is completely screwed).

  29. UltimaRatioRegis12:53


    Not sure he said "mixup in symbology", though I think the matter more serious than he acknowledges. 

    Here is where things get sticky.  We have the head of US intelligence telling us that the banner of the Muslim Brotherhood is "non-violent and secular", when in reality they supported (and served in) Hitler's Third Reich.  The Brotherhood has never, in word or deed, renounced a single time their support for the Final Solution, or for Hitler. 

    The Marines involved in this should face the consequences.  But, we have a President who panders to those whose banners flew alongside these symbols of hate, and if the Nazis had won the war, still would.

    Tough to reconcile, and even tougher to stomach the faux outrage of the far left.

  30. ewok40k12:57

    It takes few simple photos to do untold damage to the armed forces and their country image. Imagine how can Israelis feel, if they can rely on US as an ally now, Obama's futile attempts at befriending Arabs (haters gonna hate...) aside?
    On the soldiers themselves it can be said  "forgive them because they dont know what they are doing". But leadership, even at lowly platoon level should be there to intervene. 

  31. UltimaRatioRegis13:01


    Don't pull a muscle reaching for the panic button.  The Israelis are quite a bit more concerned about the public statements of the leader of the free world selling them down the river than they are about some misguided knuckleheads with an inappropriate flag in AFG.

    As to the "untold damage", doubt that, too.  CNN and Rachel Maddow would like you to think so, and will scream until breathless about it, but the American people know this is an isolated incident of misguided youth and small unit leadership failure.

  32. LT Rusty13:40

    Okay, sorry, SAP but ...

    (1)  If you think that anyone involved with a coffee mug that said "Hiroshima was da bomb" didn't fully understand that phrase in every possible connotation, then you need to take the rose-colored glasses off.

    (2)  If you think that anyone who made it through even the USA's pathetic public education system doesn't fully understand what Nazi symbology (or at least the more common bits) means, then you really need to re-evaluate your world view.

  33. James13:43

    AND no one funnily talks about the international sign of peace. The peace symbol of course what is so evil about it!

    Well other than the fact the peace symbol is a upside down crusifiction cross (yea that one). Or that its featured on many Nazi tombs as the DEATH RUNE.....

    DONT JUDGE THE SYMBOL....judge the quality and actions of the men who march under that symbol.

  34. LT Rusty13:56

    Uh, actually the origin of the peace sign is pretty well documented, and has nothing to do with Nazis or anything.  It's derived from semaphore, the letters N and D, for Nuclear Disarmament.  The guy that created it turned it upside down supposedly as an anti-military jab, and as a happy coincidence it also matches the rune for "the death of man." 

    Saying that it's a Nazi symbol is just about as accurate as saying that the letter N is also a Nazi symbol.

  35. cdrsalamander14:15

    Thanks LT R, well done - and we covered that before too and you beat me to the punch. Funny, James, if you ask nicely LT R might give you your jock back.

  36. Cupojoe14:18

    It has always seemed to me that the USMC has undergone a transformation over the past 60 years that has caused it to identify itself as "extreme".  Those terrible haircuts, unsmiling look for photographs, pedantic uniform requirements, etc.  I have never seen any marines look like that in WWII photos. 

    Part of this shift appears to be that many marine units (as opposed to misguided individuals), especially special combat units like snipers, have embraced some of the Nazi military traditions and memorabilia as "badass".  In fact, I personally knew marines that would own only German Shepherds.  A couple actually only spoke german to them.  (because, hey, that's how the badasses did it, right?) Other organizations do this as well to a lesser extent (have you SEEN the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets outfits?! Yikes!). 

    I know the USMC wants to characterize this SS incident as some ignorant grunts, but I think the glorification of some Nationalist/Fascist history is a top to bottom problem in the Marines especially.  While I might have joked that they're not sufficiently proud of their own identity as marines, maybe I'm right considering the political climate and their unique level of resistance by Marine generals to progressive changes by congress and the President.

  37. LT Rusty14:29

    As far as the "only speaking German to them" goes, there's a whole international sport called schutzhund, using German Shepherd Dogs, that has that as a training requirement. 

  38. LT B14:31

    Kid showed up at the USNA w/ the SS tat on his back as he was out of scout snipers.  The Col told him to get that $h1T off.

  39. C-dore 1414:33

    I'm glad you chose to post about this situation and found the link to CAPT Friedman's informative and spot on.

    When I first saw the WaPo article about this photo I wasn't sure what disturbed me more, that an element of the Marine Corps would adopt the "SS" symbol or that the Marine Corps leadership's bogus explanation that these scout snipers were, essentially, too dumb to know what it meant.  

    A former student, who commanded a scout sniper platoon during the invasion of Iraq, told me that he was surprised that this hasn't leaked out before because using the SS runes by scout snipers has been an open secret for years within the community.  He was warned about on several occasions during his training and took steps to control it while a platoon leader.

    The senior leadership has less of an excuse for trying to pass off this b.s. explanation.  While commanding the NROTC Unit I received a directive from HQMC to take full length photos in gym gear of all of my Marines and NROTC Midn on USMC scholarships and to have them explain what their tattoos stood for.  I also received a power point briefing describing what we should be on the lookout for and, as you can imagine, swastikas and the SS symbol were included along with the gang "tats" and KKK logos.  My son-in-law, who was recruiting at the time, was also photographed.  Fortunately my students' tattoos were decidedly mundane...the USMC insignia, bulldogs, etc.  Had they not been they would have been required to remove them at their own expense prior to "Bulldog"/commissioning, whichever came first.  Concern with recruiting of military personnel by racist organization and the infiltration of active gang members into the service has been a concern as long as I can remember (in the '70s in was the KKK at Camp Pendelton) so I can't imagine that the senior leadership was unaware of it.

    There are leadership issues all over this topic.  I agree strongly with CDR S and CAPT Friedman about questioning the need to identify with a military tradition other than that of the Marine Corps.  If I was still in a position of leadership that's what I'd be addressing.

  40. UltimaRatioRegis15:18


    You could keep typing, but I am not sure you could sound stupider.  Glorification of fascism is a top to bottom problem in the Marines?  Well, I must say that in my almost 30 years of service, that is a new one.  And you know this how?  Are you a Marine?  If so, how long have you been one?

    Unsmiling in photographs?  Pedantic uniform requirements?

    The leadership of the Marine Corps opposing gays serving openly is proof that they are all closet Nazis?   No chance of attributing that to honest disagreement and concern for unit cohesion and effectiveness of the fighting force?  Nope.  You are certain they all are disloyal to the Constitution and the country.

    The Marines consider themselves an elite fighting force.  Which is why people like you have to use "they" when referring to us.  We only take the people who pack the gear. 

    Oh, and tell these guys all about the Marine Corps and its fascist views. 

    You are a dumbass.

  41. Andy Rowan15:19

    As a Commanding Officer, I couldn't believe this excerpt.  They are lying to us and to themselves.  shame.  The USMC is beeter than that.  They have to be better.

    "The local command to which the Marines in the photo were assigned investigated this issue last November.  They determined that the Marines in the photo were ignorant of the connection of this symbol to the Holocaust and monumental atrocities associated with Nazi Germany."

    February 10, 2012
    HEADQUARTERS, US MARINE CORPS - On February 9, I was made aware of an internet photo depicting Marines posing with a flag containing a Nazi symbol.  I want to be clear that the Marine Corps unequivocally does not condone the use of any such symbols to represent our units or Marines.
    The local command to which the Marines in the photo were assigned investigated this issue last November.  They determined that the Marines in the photo were ignorant of the connection of this symbol to the Holocaust and monumental atrocities associated with Nazi Germany.  To ensure the Marines involved fully understood the historical use of the SS symbology, a formal instructional class was prepared and delivered by unit leadership.
    In order to ensure that all Marines are aware of the Marine Corps' position on this issue, I have directed that:
    - My commanders investigate the prevalence of the use of SS or other unauthorized symbols within the reconnaissance and sniper communities.
    - The Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps immediately detach from his current duties in Washington, DC and personally meet with every senior Staff Non-commissioned Officer and Marine from our sniper and reconnaissance communities to reinforce my message and expectations.
    - The commanding general of our training and education command review the current sniper school curriculum to ensure it contains prohibitions on the use of the SS symbol and other inappropriate symbols.
    On behalf of the Marine Corps and all Marines, I apologize to all offended by this regrettable incident.

  42. cdrsalamander15:39

    Well done URR.  We've all been there. "How may photos can we take?  What is the Command Standard?  I don't know. OK. How about this; four pics. One each combo of covered/uncovered; smile/not smile.  Can I go now?"

    Best friend; worst enemy type of things.

    Oh, I encourage anyone to go over to those Marines pictured and call them a fascist or national socialist; just let me know ahead of time so I can watch.  As for Texas A&M - isn't their uniform that of the US Cavalry circa 1920 or so?  Really cupofjoe...really. 

  43. The Usual Suspect15:45

    How about a refill...

  44. LT Rusty15:51

    Re: Texas A&M uniforms - you might as well say anyone in a gray uniform that dates back to the 1800's wants to be a slaveowner.  Go visit West Point, see how far that gets you.

  45. UltimaRatioRegis16:04

    <span>Why can't you believe that the Marines who used that symbol did not understand the full import of its meaning?   
    Or that some of them had no idea?   
    Did they learn it in our wonderful school system?  I was in public school for twelve years, and we studied the Second World War for a grand total of one week, Junior year.  Had I not been interested, and my Father not been a WWII veteran, it would have been a simple check in the block to say it was covered.   
    The most important event that shaped the century in which we were living.  A week.  I shudder to think of what the curriculum looks like for today's young people.</span>

  46. UltimaRatioRegis16:04

    <span>Why can't you believe that the Marines who used that symbol did not understand the full import of its meaning?   
    Or that some of them had no idea?   
    Did they learn it in our wonderful school system?  I was in public school for twelve years, and we studied the Second World War for a grand total of one week, Junior year.  Had I not been interested, and my Father not been a WWII veteran, it would have been a simple check in the block to say it was covered.   
    The most important event that shaped the century in which we were living.  A week.  I shudder to think of what the curriculum looks like for today's young people.</span>

  47. C-dore 1416:09

    Re: Texas A&M uniforms...not just the cavalry but the whole Army.  I have some photos of my Dad, an infantry officer, from the late 1930s wearing that uniform.  A cadet gray version of it was worn from the 1920s through WW II at the military school I later attended.

  48. DeltaBravo16:12

    Yeah... related to a former A&M COC guy.... that uniform is very old and they hang onto history there.  Nothing whatsoever to do with Germany. 

  49. DeltaBravo16:14

    And all the Marines I know or know of... most of them do have German sheperds.  But I think that's really because SOMEONE in a Marine's household has to be smart. 

    (runs and hides under the porch now)

  50. DeltaBravo16:16

    oops... shepherd... missed the H there in my typing...

  51. SouthernAP16:25


    I fully believe that the jokers in the coffee mug thing fully understood what they were doing. However, I was overrulled by a more senior PO1, who bought sinker and hook the party line that they didn't know and they were all given a slap on the wrist. As to the public education system. As to the public education system isn't teaching the more common bits, then you need to dig into your local PTA boards or even your kids history books. I can quote you almost verbitem the party line as some of my family who are Middle School and HS level history teachers are being "advised" to teach by Big Diversity friendship circle. All Germans were Nazis and they rounded up only Jews and sent all of them to the camp at Auschwitz (including that cute Dutch Girl Anne Frank) to be put into ovens and that since all Germans were Nazis all where members of the SS or Brownshirts. So there is no need to teach a difference because all you need to know is that the Swastiki is bad. I also balance my view out based on this story from about four years ago, when Wal-mart was busted selling T-Shirts with the SS Deathhead on them. You mean to tell me that no one in Corporate didn't know this? Go and check out a local skateboard shop and look at some of the stickers with Fritz Helmets and death heads there. Folks are using symbols all other without knowing or they do know and do the nudge/nudge/wink/wink "I didn't know". Education is failing because all they teach is that the only symbols the Nazis used was the Swastiki.

  52. ewok40k16:39

    We live ina pictographic era, and one image like that can be not overwriten in a thousand words... And I am not thinking only of US public. Most outsiders will react "there is no way such thing has gone without officer's acceptance". For reference on the picture (even taken out of the context) can do the damage, I give you this:

  53. UltimaRatioRegis16:50

    The world, especially the part that hates us, is quite selective in its outrage. 

    Iconic images?  For those who choose to make a larger issue of the Marines here while excusing the below, I have no regard. 

    For those who encourage the below, I have a bullet.

  54. UltimaRatioRegis16:52


    Bet you didn't know your dad was a closet Nazi, good thing you had ol' Cupajoe to point it out...

    BTW, those were damned sharp looking uniforms.  We should think about going back to something similar.

  55. UltimaRatioRegis16:53

    See?  My German Shepherd can spell!

  56. Avi8tor17:33

    Having spent the past 24 hours on duty dealing with sailors not showing up to watch on time, showing up in civvys, and other stupid problems, I carefully considered the source of the problem independent of seeing this post or reading the article. I came to the same conclusion -- that our culture is directly affecting our readiness. Does my equivialent in the Chinese or Indian Navies have to deal with the same day-to-day BS that I do? I doubt it. Boot camp is a  joke and the product we're getting is below average at best. Officer production isn't that much better. The sad and depressing part is that even if I wrote a nice little article about it and submitted it to Proceedings, it wouldn't change anything. We need a RESET, and it has to come from above. I fear it will never come.

  57. James18:32

    Never worn a jock. Terrible things. Didnt know that how the man came up with it....

    My point stands. Damn near every symbol has at some point been used in conjunction with murder rape and death. I'll judge men by what they do and how they do it not the symbols they wear.

    Wana wear a che T-shirt fine...your still a douchebag..but go ahead. Same with a swastika or some such. But to me people here branding the symbol that has been used for SS be it scout sniper or other military services (even ones around before hitler) as the results of idiots is stupid.

    If this symbol has been there for decades why get so worked up about it and punish those who probably didnt even choose it.

    The Nazies were murderers and butchers. Some however were outstanding soldiers however....that is true also.

    Go ahead get pissed and shitcan them get angry and ban that symbol and any others you find offensive from the military.

    Then in 20yrs. Maybe another. Maybe its a cross...after all christains murdered how many inidans in north and south america right?! millions. Maybe soon its the star of david...after all many (including among some of the people currently in power in our country) people believe what the israelies are doing in Gaza to be a crime agaisnt humanity. HEY wait didnt the nazies have a bird  on their flag poles! Was it a eagle well then lets ban those...

    People just need to stop being to damn sensative. You push and you push and you beat and you beat and eventually you will look just like the people you railed agaisnt.

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