Marines Say Corporal Apologizes For Torching American Flag

The Marine Corps says a corporal has apologized to a Vietnam veteran whose American flag was burned Friday night.

Corporal Vernon Johns is charged with felony first degree arson after Jacksonville police say the Marine set Robert Grafton's flag on his front porch on fire. Grafton and his wife were inside at the time.

The Marine Corps says Johns returned to Grafton's home to formally apologize, and that apology was greatly appreciated. Lt. Kristen McCarthy said in a statement that this type of behavior is "not appropriate and certainly not condoned by the Marine Corps and will be handled accordingly."

Johns, who was attending a party at the home next door to Grafton's home, was released on a $100,000 bond and will face a judge on December 12th. The Marine Corps says disciplinary action from them, if any, would come after Johns' case goes through the civilian court system.


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A Camp Lejeune Marine is in trouble with the law, after being accused of burning a retired Marine's American flag over the weekend.

Corporal Vernon Johns was arrested Saturday by Jacksonville police on a felony first degree arson charge. He's assigned to 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines.

Robert Grafton say the 24-year-old Marine was at his neighbor's home on Jarman Street when he says Johns came to his home and set fire to the flag flying from his front porch. Grafton is a Vietnam vet and a Purple Heart recipient.

Grafton said to him this was conduct unbecoming of a Marine. The retired Marine says he didn't know Johns, but it's like a family argument gone bad--between one Marine and another. He and his wife were inside the home at the time.

A replacement flag has already been purchased and it's going up by Thanksgiving.

Johns was released on a $100,000 bond and has a December 12th court date.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by 40some on Nov 23, 2011 at 08:50 PM
    Were the vets of the Nam era generation as foul mouthed in public as this generation is?
  • by Anonymous on Nov 23, 2011 at 06:04 PM
    There was a whole lot of flag burning during the Vietnam war. Sad time in US history. Genocide was what it was.
  • by John Location: Richlands on Nov 23, 2011 at 02:29 PM
    The Marine Corps says disciplinary action from them, if any, would come after Johns' case goes through the civilian court system. They will have to play this very carefully because some lawyer will see a double jeopardy case here and make it even worse. That is why there is a UCMJ established some years ago. I don't agree one tiny bit for what this person has done. I use person very loosely not will I use what profession this person works for.
  • by Just ____ing shoot the P---- Location: Former Marine on Nov 23, 2011 at 12:34 PM
    He would have never completed the "formal" appology. It would have been corrected OLD CORPS style.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Nov 23, 2011 at 03:58 PM in reply to Just ____ing shoot the P----
      Lighten up, jarhead.
  • by Donna on Nov 23, 2011 at 12:31 PM
    I think he owes his neighbor more than an apology. What he did was just plain mean. No excuse for his behavior.
  • by Dave Location: Jax on Nov 23, 2011 at 11:44 AM
    This is unreal. Drunk or not A Marine knows better than to deface his country that way. This is the kind of things among many others that give us Marines a bad name.
  • by ralphie Location: ahoskie on Nov 23, 2011 at 10:03 AM
    1: private property was given the arson treatment. 2: that private property was attached to a person's home, and the owners were inside asleep. 3.The object ignited was the flag of the United States of America 4 the arsonist is supposedly a US Marine. On the mitigating side- was he drinking Tequila? That if anything needs to be outlawed. EVIL JUICE.
  • by Really Location: Richlands on Nov 23, 2011 at 09:43 AM
    Here is a nice simple action to take on this fine young Marine Corporal... Color Guard duty everyday morning and evening until his court date! Yes, this includes weekends as well. To those active duty folks, this is not hazing nor considered EDP. It is filling a spot that units have to fill every day of the week anyway.
  • by Anonymous on Nov 23, 2011 at 08:53 AM
    Dishonorable discharge after he serves time in the Brig when the civiliam courts are done.
  • by anon Location: wallace on Nov 23, 2011 at 08:40 AM
    to little to late!!! get out of the Marines and our country. u r no better than the enemy burning our flags in other countries and even here in the great USA!!!!
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