UPDATE: Reaction To Marines Posing With SS Symbol In Afghanistan

By: April Davis/ Carly Swain
By: April Davis/ Carly Swain

For the second time this year, photographic proof of marines performing not politically correct acts. This time, it didn't involve marines based here in the east, but it's equally shocking.
The opinions are all over the place in the military town of Jacksonville.

The marine corps has confirmed they found a photo in November of sniper team Marines based at Camp Pendleton in California posing in front of a flag that resembles a nazi military flag. Marine Corps officials say these marines thought it was a nod to sniper scouts. The Corps says it's an ignorant mistake. We ran the symbol and this story by a few people in Jacksonville

"I think they need to find out more information before they use it. We got the internet now. Look it up," said Chantell Kirby.

"Can I be honest with you-- that doesn't even look like an s," said Mia Tollefson.

"Hmm. That's a shame," said WWII Veteran Paul Campbell.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says he will have this investigated, But the corps still stands by the idea these marine's did not know the nazi heritage of that symbol. The photo was taken in September of 2010 in the Helmand province of Afghanistan.

PREVIOUS STORY:
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 - a special unit that murdered millions of Jews, gypsies and others.

The Corps said in a statement that using the symbol was not acceptable.

However, it was a naive mistake made by Marines who believed the SS symbol was meant to represent sniper scouts and never intended to associate themselves with a racist organization, said Maj. Gabrielle Chapin, a spokeswoman at Camp Pendleton.

The Marines in the image will not be disciplined because investigators determined there was no malicious intent, Chapin said.

Instead, the Corps used the incident as a training tool to talk to troops about what symbols are acceptable after it became aware of the photograph last November.

The image has since surfaced on an Internet blog.

"I don't believe that the Marines involved would have ever used any type of symbol associated the Nazi Germany military criminal organization that committed mass atrocities in WWII," Chapin said. "It's not within who we are as Marines."

It was the second time this year the Marine Corps has had to do damage control for actions of its troops. It's also investigating a separate group of Marines recorded on video urinating on the dead bodies of Taliban fighters.

Mikey Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation in Washington said he has been flooded with calls from former Marines offended by the photo and from one member of his organization who is an Auschwitz concentration camp survivor.

"This is a complete and total outrage," he said.

Weinstein said his organization was sending a letter seeking a full investigation to the head of the Marine Corps and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

"First we have Marines peeing on dead bodies and now this," Weinstein said.

The Marines in the photograph are no longer with the unit. Chapin said she did not know if they are still in the Corps.

In the photo taken in September 2010 in Afghanistan's Sangin province, the Marine Corps unit is posing with guns in front of an American flag and a large blue flag with what appear to be the letters "SS" in the shape of jagged lightning bolts.

The SS, or Schutzstaffel, was the police and military force of the Nazi Party, which was distinct from the general army. Members pledged an oath of loyalty to Adolph Hitler.

SS units were held responsible for many war crimes and played an integral role in the extermination of millions of Jews along with gypsies and other people who were deemed undesirable. The SS was declared to be a criminal organization at the Nuremberg war crime trials.

Just last month, a group of Camp Lejeune Marines came under fire when a video of them urinating on dead Afghan insurgents surfaced on the Internet. An investigation into that picture was launched, but so far no charges have been brought in that case.

(Copyright 2011 by WITN & The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Formerly O.L.I. Location: ENC on Feb 18, 2012 at 05:40 PM
    Join the military; serve duty; then come back and tell us 'free' citizens what happened to give us our freedoms. War is NEVER pretty, so unless you have served your country, FIRST HAND, don't post a negative comment about how our country's FINEST deal with what they are put up against.
  • by Winnie the Pooh Location: Richlands on Feb 18, 2012 at 03:42 AM
    I think this is going over board people looking to much into something that they shouldn't. Its just a picture. There marines that just graduated high school got pulled into scout snipeing I doubt they learned anything about nazis while in school or anything on german history. Thats saying the swastika is a nazi symbol even tho the native americans used it for the meaning of peace.
  • by Reaction Location: Morehead on Feb 17, 2012 at 06:57 PM
    Well there are so many gangs that are in our millitary . you cant kick them all out . all kinds of race creed and so on.,but one time someone hers ss symbols look out.
  • by Tarboro Resident on Feb 17, 2012 at 05:45 PM
    There is a fenced in house on Main Street in Tarboro that Daily Southerner did an article on years ago. I noticed thru the fence (I walked past there every day b/c I worked in the area) they had concrete planters with what and still do I assume was the Nazi emblem. The paper claimed they were friendly Egqyption symbols....
  • by PC Mad Location: ENC on Feb 15, 2012 at 05:02 AM
    Not specifically concerning this pic, but I notice when anyone makes a trophy meat kill (deer, etc.) they are proudly displayed with their kill. I don't expect any less from our military today. We should support them and right now the government has their hands tied "policing" areas instead of actually fighting wars. I would gladly make a kill shot to a known 9/11 terrorist who drove one of those planes into WTC and take my pic holding his head up by the devil horns he symbolically wears. My son is driven to the military because in its blood and his heritage. I hope I come across a conversation such as some of these with some folks. You'll find out fast what your "free speech" can get you. I hope you have a good dentist.
  • by The military today is a joke on Feb 14, 2012 at 07:37 AM
    A bunch of little kids not men....
    • reply
      by Morehead on Feb 17, 2012 at 08:48 PM in reply to The military today is a joke
      you got that right . and hooked on spice not all but most .Sad Sad thing. The Respect is Gone like yesteryear.
  • by JC on Feb 13, 2012 at 01:00 PM
    Oh I we didn't know... sounds like my kids response when punishment gets handed down, they knew and thought it would be cool, disgraceful!
  • by Dishorable on Feb 13, 2012 at 01:09 AM
    Lately it seems the marine corp values haven't been very honorable in the news. Marines exposing themselves, driving drunk, murdering each other,shoplifting, all from Jax. Keep it up guys, you're running out of cheerleaders.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Feb 13, 2012 at 04:56 AM in reply to Dishorable
      Not in ENC. Support for the military is practically unquestionable. These "heroes" can pretty much do what they want, according to these flag waving idiots.
      • reply
        by Dishorable on Feb 13, 2012 at 06:43 AM in reply to
        Yeah I agree...but remember...they are the few and the proud....too bad there aren't fewer....we'd all be a lot safer. Marines have never been known for having much inteligence anyway...so that explains a lot of it.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Feb 13, 2012 at 11:57 AM in reply to Dishorable
      you could use the same argument for North carolina law enforcement as well, get off the food stamps, get a job, and you go show us all a nice way to kill the enemy! thanks
    • reply
      by I agree on Feb 14, 2012 at 07:38 AM in reply to Dishorable
      I'd be ashamed to wear the uniform.
  • by Anonymous on Feb 12, 2012 at 02:41 PM
    Feel free, When did i say i was going to wear Nazi stuff? my wife is jewish you idiot! I sad i will be wearing my scout sniper shirt to the range that i was issued, come try and convince me to take it off! see you at the range.
  • by Old History Teacher Location: USA on Feb 11, 2012 at 09:36 PM
    " The Red Badge of Courage " is a war novel by American author Stephen Crane. It is good reading.
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