A Marine Corps spokesman acknowledged Thursday that a platoon shown posing in front of a Nazi “SS” flag was part of a scout sniper team stationed in Afghanistan.
The Marine Corps Times’ Dan Lamothe reports that the photo was taken in Sept. 2010 in a contested district of the Helmand province.
Also on Thursday, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to first amendment rights, circulated a photo showing the SS logo on a 7.62mm M40 sniper rifle carried by a Marine.
Lamothe said information electronically embedded in that photo shows the image was released by the Marine Corps sometime in 2004, suggesting use of the logo was common practice.
Given that the name of the unit was “scout snipers,” Lamothe speculates the platoon was using the flag and logo for its stylised “SS” imagery.
On his Twitter feed, Lamothe linked to an undated PowerPoint that gives an extensive review of what images are banned in the Corps in any form. The presentation explicitly mentions the SS symbol.
The L.A. Times reported that the Marine spokesman, Lt. Col. Stewart Upton said the snipers had been “addressed” concerning the issue. None of the personnel in the picture are still part of the unit, which is now deployed again, he said.
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