Home News Top Marine official bans Confederate-era paraphernalia at all Corps bases worldwide

Top Marine official bans Confederate-era paraphernalia at all Corps bases worldwide

Marine Corps Air Facility Quantico personnel from Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., look over the Burnside Bridge during a hike in Antietam National Battlefield, Sharpsburg, Md., April 24, 2015. The hike and battlefield study was part of a professional military education and unit cohesion-building event. The Battle of Antietam was the first invasion of the North by Confederate troops during the civil war and the bloodiest one-day battle in American history. By 1 p.m., Sept. 17, 1862, Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside and his troops, who had been fighting to cross the Antietam Creek since the morning, finally pushed the Confederates back across the bridge and up towards Sharpsburg, Md.

The top brass of the U.S. Marine Corps has ordered that all Confederate-related items be removed from Marines service bases worldwide, Military.com reports.

David Berger, Commandant General of the Marines, prioritized for “immediate execution” the banishment of objects representing the Confederacy in response to a congressional hearing on the rise of extremism in the military, according to Military.com.

A recent survey of active-duty troops by the independent Military Times found a significant rise in white supremacist and racist ideologies from 2018. In their responses, troops considered white supremacy a greater threat to national security than immigration or domestic terrorism with connections to Islam, the Military Times reported.

The types of items targeted for removal and restriction have yet to be determined according to Berger’s spokesman, Maj. Eric Flanagan, Military.com reported.

Flanagan said many tasks for review by Headquarters Marine Corps staff were posted to a Twitter account for Commandant Gen. Berger on Friday, according to Military.com. The order to remove Confederate materials was not among them, USA Today confirmed.

Flanagan also said official policy decisions, changes or implementation plans will be published in appropriate orders or service-wide messages, Military.com reported.

The new rule is a progressive gesture for a branch of the Defense Department, which was uncommitted to banning representations of the Confederacy merely four years ago.

The 2015 mass-shooting of nine African American parishioners by a white attacker in South Carolina lead major retailers like Walmart and Amazon to remove Confederate flag merchandise from stock. The Citadel, South Carolina’s historic military academy, even removed the Confederate Naval Jack from its chapel. Until now, branches of the Defense Department have been slow to follow suit.

Prohibiting Confederate symbols is just one part of Berger’s forward-moving agenda. The Commander General also ordered leaders to find more combat roles for women, extend parental leave policies to same-sex couples, and consider year-long maternity leave for new mothers, according to Military.com.

Richard Kohn, a history professor who studies peace, war and defense at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill told Military.com that modernizing the Marine Corps is long overdue, but necessary.

“We have the need within the country to try and create as much unity as possible and to suppress white nationalism and racism within the ranks of the military because, every once in a while, it crops up and causes an issue,” Kohn said.


©2020 USA Today

Visit USA Today at www.usatoday.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

If you have any problems viewing this article, please report it here.