May 24, 2012 – MRFF Action Leads to Renaming of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 122 (VMFA-122)

On April 17, 2012 MRFF initially challenged a Marine fighter squadron decision on renaming from the “Werewolves” to the “Crusaders”. The squadron, based in Beaufort, S.C., used the Crusaders symbol from 1958 to 2008, when Lt. Col. William Lieblein pointed out that imagery invoking the Christian conquest and colonization of Muslim nations during the Middle Ages was counterproductive to the U.S. presence across the Arab and Islamic world. In a letter on May 23, 2012 to Navy Secretary, Ray Mabus, and Commandant of the Marine Corps, General James F. Amos, MRFF threatened legal action to force a change in the squadron name. MRFF also submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for all communication and documentation related to the return of the squadron’s name from “Werewolves” to “Crusaders.”

VMFA-122 has been ordered to reverse the decision, and to return to identifying itself as “Werewolves”. The deputy commandant for aviation directed VMFA 122 to maintain the unit identification as the “Werewolves”, according to Marine Corps public information officer Lt. Col. Joseph Plenzler. To discourage similar actions in the future, MRFF has demanded prosecution of those who made the decision to rename the squadron the “Crusaders” along with a full accounting of the resulting costs to U.S. taxpayers.

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