SS Logo used by Marine Corps Scout Snipers

Published On: February 12, 2012|Categories: MRFF's Inbox|0 Comments|

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Mr. and Mrs. Weinstein,

While I understand your concern and anger over a recent photo of US Marine Scout Snipers using a symbol that resembled that of the dreaded Waffen SS, I can assure you that it is not, and has never been an attempt to associate with that group.

In my 22 years of service to the Marine Corps, I had the honor and privilege of personally knowing 4 Scout Snipers. Long before the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and long before the recent photo emerged, that symbol has been used. It was known to the leaders and to most Marines.

Why was it never an issue? Because it was never imagined that anyone would suggest US Marines sympathized with the German SS of WWII. It simply bears an unfortunate resemblance.

While I am sure you won’t consider this to be in the same realm, do you know of the rock band AC/DC? I’m pretty confident you have at least heard of them. Growing up, I had heard the name stood for ‘Anti-Christ/Death to Christ’ among other things. In reality, the name simply implies power and the energy the band played with. Unfortunately, there were those back then who were adamant in their belief it meant something more treacherous and created controversy where there wasn’t any.

I am simply urging you to reconsider your stance on this unfortunate incident and realize there was no intent to associate with the Waffen SS. The symbol was innocently chosen to stand for Scout Sniper and it is my hope that you will not be as adamant in your pursuit to see these Marines disciplined.

Very Respectfully Submitted,

(name withheld)


Dear (name withheld),

First, please let me extend my sincere thanks for your long service to our country and our fellow Marines, as well as your most courteous letter. (As you can probably guess, we get precious few like yours.)

Mr. Weinstein wanted to answer this personally, but he is (as you can imagine) currently snowed under. Therefore, he asked me to respond to your letter, as he thought I could give you an answer from a Marine’s perspective.

As you probably know, many MRFF members, staff, and volunteers ar veterans, holding ranks from private through flag officer, with MOSs in all fields, including combat arms, and represent service eras from WW II, Korea, Viet Nam, and on through Gulf I, and the present GWOT.

Like them, I am a veteran, (USMC) with service that included close personal ground combat in several of the major operations in Vietnam in 1967 and 1968, including Operation Scotland at Khe Sanh (before, during, and after the Tet 1968 assault and the Siege, as a member of Combined Action Company Oscar), and later in another CAP unit in the Hue-Phu Bai area, during the mopping-up actions after Tet.

I also served in various line infantry and artillery units, and in 1st and 3rd Recon (in capacities through acting platoon commander) and later as an NCO at MARDET CINCLNTFLT, with responsibilities for the security of the command which included (in addition to CINCLNT) FMFLNT, SACLNT, SUBLNT, NATO, and the Nuclear Warfare School. My MOSs included 0311, 0321, and 0369.

I later lost a limb which ended my active career, but subsequently went on to teach in the USMC Jr. ROTC program for several years, before using my GI Bill to attain a BA, and later a Master’s degree in Education, after which I taught K-12 and Adult education at a number of levels in public and private schools, including at-risk inner city, and in the Neglected and Abused home, and Juvenile Hall, and later, incarcerated adults in medium and high-security jails.

My family also has a long history of military service dating back to the Revolutionary War and Civil War (66th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and one of my lines included Confederates, so I had ancestors on both sides in that conflict.) In more recent years, we have been Marines. My great-uncles served in WW I. One was seriously WIA, in the Argonne Offensive, later dying of his wounds. My father was a Marine in the Pacific in WWII, serving in the major island campaigns in the Marianna, Marshall, and Solomon Islands (incl. Tulagi, Guam, Guadalcanal, etc.). He was later WIA and evacuated to the US just prior to Iwo Jima. One uncle was stationed in Shanghai with the 4th Marines, then transferred to the Philippines where he fought on Corregidor, becoming a Japanese POW after the surrender. He was later shipped to Japan on one of the “Hell Ships” where he worked as a slave laborer for the duration. (He weighed only 98 pounds on release.) He later served in the Occupation forces, and then was sent to Korea, where he fought at Inchon and later at the Chosin Reservoir and on the famous fighting retreat under “Chesty” Puller, along with another of my uncles who was also a Marine. Both survived. Chet eventually retired as a MGYSGT. (The Marine Corps League named a post in Florida for him after his death.) My sister’s god-father was a Marine CWO with many years service.

As you can see, I am no stranger to the Marine Corps and its ways.

While Mr. Weinstein’s call for heads may seem an over-reaction, you can imagine why, given his people’s and indeed his own family’s experience in the Holocaust, he would react so strongly.

I am not Jewish myself, but I grew up in the years following WW II, when there were still many who had seen the Holocaust (which included Gypsies, political opponents, homosexuals, and other non-Jews) first hand.

A close family friend had been a combat photographer in Europe. He was of German (non-Jewish) descent, and was one of those detailed by Eisenhower (another German-descended American) to make a photographic and film record of the death camps, so that nobody could ever deny what had happened. As Eisenhower later wrote to Mamie, “I never dreamed that such cruelty, bestiality, and savagery could really exist in this world.”

(For the full story, see: http://www.eisenhowermemorial.org/stories/death-camps.htm )

I saw these pictures, and many others, and have spoken with soldiers who liberated the camps, as well as survivors, including non-Jews, one of them a Pole who saw it all first-hand from within. I have read the histories, and memoirs of survivors, both Jew and non-Jew. I am well acquainted with every sordid detail of the camps and the deeds done.

Joe had a Nazi helmet hanging upside down in a tree in his yard. He had picked it up during the war. It had an obviously fatal bullet hole in the side, near the emblem> I once asked him what it was there for. He said he had hung it there as a bird’s nest, which he thought was appropriate, because as he said, he had gotten it “from a bird-brain.” (The dead Nazi.) Despite his own completely Germanic heritage and descent, he despised the Nazis to the day he died.

In addition, my wife (who is of Jewish descent, though not observant), lost over half of the European branch of her family in the Holocaust. Among them was a young cousin, Hanus Hachenburg, a brilliant young boy who wrote plays, stories, and poetry of great beauty while he was incarcerated in Terezin (aka Theresienstadt) while awaiting transport to the death camps. (This was the city billed by Nazi propagandists as “Hitler’s gift to the Jews.”) What he might have accomplished in later life will never be known, as his young life was snuffed out at 15 at Auschwitz by the murdering monsters whose logo these Marines so “proudly” wear and use. (If you would like to see some of his work, Google his name.)

Therefore I have absolutely NO doubt that the Holocaust happened.

Sadly, most of that generation are now gone, and it seems that Ike didn’t factor the IQ (“Idiot Quotient”) into the equation. (Hiatus deflendi est, since the hyper-exponential increase in world population since the war has apparently vastly raised the number of ignorant fools who swallow the notion that it was all a “Jewish lie.”)

I don’t know your age, but from the AC / DC reference, I assume that you grew up in the 70s, so perhaps you lack you these vivid first-hand memories of that period and the post-war years, and thus did not react as Mr. Weinstein and I did — with revulsion and disgust at the sight of that blatant symbol of the Third Reich’s most hideous death machine — the SS — in the hands of American Marines.

As to the nature of the flag itself, and whether those Marines “knew” what they were getting — there can be no doubt that at least some of them knew this was a Nazi Schutzstaffel flag, since they obtainedit from a web-site called “Traders of the Lost Surplus” (which one waggish reporter has referred to as “Nazis ‘R’ Us”), a site that specializes in Nazi replicas and memorabilia. Have a look for yourself:

http://www.totls.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=16:close-out-corner&catid=1:home&Itemid=30

For your convenience, I attach a picture of the identical flag, and the accompanying description:

7180. ss double runic flag, a favorite and well know (sic) ss flag, 3′ x 5′ $7.50

You seem to be suggesting (along with many others) that these Marines somehow chose this flag without at least one of them noticing that it was a Nazi SS flag, or its history or origins. That would entail believing that these carefully selected, highly trained individuals are somewhat dumber than the average box of rocks.

(And yes, I know that members of other services sometimes suggest that about us — usually when there are no Marines present — but I like to think that not all Marines, particularly those of us who served in elite units, are quite THAT stupid.)

Likewise, they try to claim some years of use for this symbol in Scout-snipers. While that may be true, it in no way makes it any more acceptable. Personally, I never encountered it during my time in (1966-77), and in several instances, I worked right alongside snipers. At Khe Sanh, in particular, we had one assigned to our corner of the lines, and no Nazi logos were to be seen anywhere on his person or equipment.

As Exhibit 2, I would like to attach the text of a letter we recently received from a man purporting to be a Marine scout-sniper. I have redacted his name and to protect his privacy (not that he deserves it), but it is obviously of Germanic origin.

> From: K******@***.com
> Date: February 10, 2012 1:48:36 AM MST
> To: [email protected]
> Subject: Waffen SS Flag
>
> Mr. Michael Weinstein,
> Yes, we knew what that flag meant. We are mainly composed of white people of European descent (blacks can’t swim and it is too tough for jews). We have always acknowledged true fighters and the Waffen SS are an elite brotherhood of warriors, much like we are. More than 99% never saw a concentration camp or participated in Einsaztgruppen actions, much like the vast majority of the USMC has never perpetrated any war crimes. Many of our members are of German descent and not a few have ancestors who were in the Waffen SS. We certainly do not have the combat distinction of your Israeli Commandos (if I were a 12 year old Palestinian boy throwing rocks I may be scared) or the Air Farce. You are correct; we knew what that flag meant.
>
> (Name Redacted)

As you can see, this Marine at least not only admits to knowing the history and meaning of the flag, but excuses the behavior of the Waffen SS (a lie much circulated by modern neo-Nazis), and indeed glorifies those murderous bastards, while simultaneously making racially charged lies about blacks and Jews. He says he knows the meaning of that fag and symbol, and not only desn’t recant and apologize for its use, but actually glorifies and celebrates these bloody murderers of millions of unarmed men, women, and children. I personally cannot find any excuse for this, or any way to exonerate him, or any like him.

I respectfully suggest that in view of this and many other letters we have received, at least some of these Marines and others who chose to adopt this emblem knew full well what they are doing and what that flag meant. For at least some of these men, this is the totally unacceptable racial “supremacy” that has plagued our Corps and nation for many years, and is again raising its despicable head.

I have long been concerned with the direction of the Republic in many areas, and one of these areas has been the creeping advance of racist, fascist and totalitarian elements in our military. I remember being concerned when we adopted the PASGT (aka “Fritz”) helmets in the 80s — not for their protection capabilities (obviously advantageous), but for their strong resemblance to Nazi helmets. I asked myself whether men who had fought the Nazis would have liked to have worn that helmet. I cannot think of any I knew who would have,

That said, while I don’t call for the beheading of any of those men (figuratively or literally), I do unequivocally call for a complete ban on the use and display of ANY Nazi, racist (white, black, Hispanic or whatever), homophobic, sexist, or otherwise obnoxious paraphernalia whatsoever in our Corps, and on a ban on any tattoos, etc. that have those connotations, and (in the words of Article 134), “…all disorders and neglects to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces, all conduct of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces.” Those who do not wish to comply should be ejected summarily.

Of course, you are free to disagree.

I apologize for such a lengthy letter, but it was necessary (IMO) to bring all the facts of the case to your attention. I hope I have succeeded in making our case.

Again, my sincere thanks for your obviously sincere and thoughtful letter.

I remain,

Semper Fidelis,

F. J. Taylor
USMC (Ret.)

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