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Old 05-05-2010, 07:02 PM
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U.S. Marines boot recruits with Confederate tattoos

U.S. Marines boot recruits with Confederate tattoos
You won't believe what military thinks of historic Southern symbol

A widely regarded Southern symbol of pride and states' rights is standing in the way of would-be Marines in their quest to serve their country – a Confederate battle flag.

Straight out of high school, one 18-year-old Tennessee man was determined to serve his country as a Marine. His friend said he passed the pre-enlistment tests and physical exams and looked forward with excitement to the day he would ship out to boot camp.

But there would be no shouting drill instructors, no rigorous physical training and no action-packed stories for the aspiring Marine to share with his family.

Your favorate flag, whether it's the Stars and Stripes, the Gadsden, the Navy Jack or another, is at the WND Superstore's flag store!

Shortly before he was scheduled to leave Nashville for boot camp, the Marine Corps rejected him.

Now, the young man, who wishes to remain unnamed and declined to be interviewed, has chosen to return to school and is no longer an aspiring Marine.

"I think he just wants to let it go," said former Marine 1st Lt. Gene Andrews, a friend of the man and patriotic Southerner who served in Vietnam from 1968 through 1971. Andrews is a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, a group of male descendents of Confederate soldiers. He counseled the young man when he decided to become a Marine.

"He had been talking to me, and he was all fired up about joining," he told WND. "He asked my opinion of it, and I just tried to tell him the truth, good points and bad points."

When the young recruit didn't go to boot camp, Andrews learned of his rejection based on his tattoo of the Confederate battle flag on his shoulder.

'Right now, it's a flat-out denial'

Current Marine Corps tattoo policy states, "Tattoos/brands that are sexist (express nudity), racist, eccentric or offensive in nature, express an association with conduct or substances prohibited by the Marine Corps drug policy and the Uniform Code of Military Justice, to include tattoos associated with illegal drugs, drug usage or paraphernalia, are prohibited. Tattoos/brands that depict vulgar or anti-American content, bring possible discredit to the Marine Corps, or associate the applicant/Marine with any extremist group or organization are prohibited."



WND contacted the Tennessee recruiting station, and a Marine sergeant explained, "The policy is if a tattoo can be construed by anyone as being gang-related or racially biased, then we can't accept them."


VIetnam war heroes hoist Confederate flag (photo: Tears of 'Nam)


While some extremist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and Aryan Nations have embraced the Confederate flag in the past, the KKK has also adopted the U.S. flag and Christian crosses as symbols. However, many Southerners do not consider the flag an expression of racism or indicator of membership in extremist groups. They regard the Confederate flag as a symbol of state sovereignty and an honorable tribute to the men who fought and died to protect their homeland from invasion by the federalist North.

Asked whether an exception might be made for a Marine recruit who could provide a full explanation on the meaning of his tattoo as an expression of Southern pride, the recruiter explained, "At this point in time, no. If it can be construed by anyone as being racially biased, then right now it's a flat-out denial."

He acknowledged that the tattoo is quite popular in the South and that recruitment has been impacted by the ban on Confederate-flag tattoos, but he explained that the policy has been set by Headquarters Marine Corps.

Headquarters Marine Corps has not responded to WND's requests for clarification of the policy.

However, the U.S. Marine Corps "Guidebook for Tattoo Screening, Volume VII," a manual that outlines procedures for enlisted recruiting and officer procurement operations, explains, "Users of this guidebook should keep in mind, however, that few symbols ever just represent one idea or are used exclusively by one group. For example, the confederate flag is a symbol that is frequently used by white supremacists but which also has been used by people and groups that are not racist. To some it may signify pride in one's heritage, but to others it suggests slavery or white supremacy."


Opening statement in Marine Corps 'Guidebook for Tattoo Screening, Vol. VII'




'We've seen this before'

Other service members and recruits have dealt with similar issues concerning Confederate flag tattoos and military policy.


(Photo: The Florida Patriot)


The Southern Legal Resource Center, or SLRC, is a nonprofit legal foundation that has handled a number of legal cases involving the Confederate battle flag.

"We've seen this before," SLRC Chief Trial Counsel Kirk Lyons told WND. "This is not a unique situation. We have had instances where people have called who were hassled by Marine military police for having a small Confederate battle flag sticker on their vehicle. We had a Navy recruit who was turned away for having a Confederate battle flag tattoo on his forearm. There was one more incident a couple of years ago where another Marine recruit was refused enlistment because of a battle flag tattoo."

Lyons said the case of the Marine with a Confederate flag bumper sticker was resolved without legal action because the base commander decided to leave it alone. However, he said most enlistees and recruits don't pursue legal action or complaints, so the policy is never challenged.

"If a family is not willing to make an issue of it and push it, there's really nothing we can do because we have to have standing," he explained.

On the other hand, enlistees often cooperate so their careers don't suffer, Lyons said.

"They've got to keep their mouths shut because they're very career-oriented," he said. "You either get with the program, or you're going to destroy your career. The military is going to fight it tooth and nail. In a lot of cases like this, there's nobody to support these guys. They're on their own."

He added, "Somebody's got to stand up and say, 'I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore.' If people surrender their rights and just go on, there's not much we can do."

(Story continues below)

http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=149729
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Old 05-18-2010, 05:47 PM
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Marine Corps battling back on Confederate flag tattoos

Marine Corps battling back on Confederate flag tattoos
Recruiters had 'unclear understanding of policy' regarding Southern symbol

A tattoo of a widely regarded Southern symbol of pride and states' rights – a Confederate battle flag – is not an automatic bar to enlistment in the U.S. Marine Corps, according to a Marine Corps spokesman.

However, those seeking to join the Marine Corps must acquire a special waiver from the regional commanding general if they have a Confederate-flag tattoo – or they will be prohibited from enlisting.

Staff Sgt. Andrew Hurt, public affairs representative for Marine Corps Recruiting Station Nashville, told WND, "We're not saying that a Confederate flag tattoo is racist, but it could potentially be. So we call that an 'exception-to-policy' tattoo. 'Exception-to-policy' tattoos have to be reviewed by a general."

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http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=155377
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Old 05-19-2010, 05:52 AM
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It's unfortunate but the Corps has to be somewhat "PC" today. Keep in mind that the Corps still has policies that are not as "PC" as the other services. But, they do have to try to satisfy the public and politicians on some issues. Our Marine Corps is still one of the best fighting forces in the world. Marines from past eras can complain about the policies of today's Corps but I think HQMC is doing a great job.
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