A (Not) Final Note on the Corps’ Latest Media Incident

Posted: February 12, 2012 by ShortTimer in First Amendment, Marine Corps, Media, US Military

Combat Marines are mostly late teens and 20somethings who don’t really care.  They live a rough life, and what goes on in a combat zone is significantly different than what goes on stateside.

MRFF, whose acronym sounding like someone being gagged is quite appropriate, while their full name is quite Orwellian, found a website where they think the scout sniper who bought the SS rune flag got it from.  Given the huge number of militaria sites, movie prop sites, surplus collector sites and history buff sites, there are probably a few other places that it could be found.  But let’s assume they’re correct and they got it here.

If the Marines are such scumbag heartless Nazis who sympathize with Nazis even though they fight allies of the Nazis, if given a choice, why wouldn’t they buy one of the other flags?

That’s pretty badass right there.  There’s a skull and the big SS and all that.  Man, that’d look so cool for a platoon photo.   Dude, we should totally use that one!

Wait, this one’s better!  Check it out, it’s got just the SS for scout sniper and a skull like pirates or some shit!  Dude, that’s badass!  I’m so motivated I could go run a PFT right now singing they hymn the whole way!

But, of course, they didn’t.  They got a blue flag with just the SS runes, because it looks cool, edgy, isn’t blatantly Nazi and so it could be stolen for use as “scout sniper”.  The snipers don’t stand for what the SS stood for.

Others think it’s a face palm incident that someone should’ve seen coming for decades.  Of course, there weren’t professional political correctness enforcers back in the day when the scout snipers stole the SS runes, hell, political correctness didn’t quite exist.  Even so, it’s understood in the context, and it’s not really a big deal:

Of course those Jarheads knew what the fucking SS was. Everyone knows that. But… within some STA platoons the culture evolved so that SS flags were re-christened from Schutzstaffel to Scout Sniper. You see, Marines like morbid symbols generally. In our private logos we like to draw and have represent us on t-shirts, flags, and banners we are big fans of skulls, bones, snakes, death, the grim reaper, anything scary, intimidating and morbid.

They’re people we call upon to put high-velocity rounds into the bodies of our nations enemies.  They’re guys in their teens and twenties who we ask to move in pairs or small teams, who risk getting compromised on many of their ops and then getting easily overrun and killed.  They are harsh type-A personalities who are not risk-averse, and who live that way.  This is not a joke, this is not an abstract concept, this is reality.  A million dramatizations have made the lives of fighting men into something that seems commonplace, without acknowledging that it is in fact something far from commonplace.  Consider taking the relevant parts of the following famous dramatization seriously:

Perhaps it’s even more appropriate.  A REMF noncombat lawyer’s group is attacking fighting men not for actually causing harm (as in the film), but for causing offense.  Again, Col Kurtz:

We train young men to drop fire on people. But their commanders won’t allow them to write “fuck” on their airplanes because it’s obscene!

Meanwhile, the Marine Corps blog has this piece:

When Capt. Vernice Armour became a Marine in 1998, she also became America’s first female African American combat pilot. Armour deployed twice during her enlistment, protecting the men and women on the ground as an AH1 W SuperCobra attack helicopter pilot.

Although prepared to face prejudice, Armour said she didn’t notice any real discrimination.

“There is friction all the time in different places,” Armour said. “Friction is natural. When I had friction with someone it could’ve been because I had short hair, I smiled in the morning, I could bench press more than them, I rode a motorcycle, or because I’m a woman, or because I’m black. But honestly, I didn’t care because my number one goal was to focus on the mission and be the best pilot I could be.”

Suddenly gender and race didn’t seem to matter. All that mattered was accomplishing the mission.

“My number one goal was to be the best pilot I could be up there in the air to protect and serve my brothers and sisters on the ground,” Armour said.

If she’d had to support those scout snipers, it wouldn’t make a difference to her.  If they would’ve had to rescue her from a downed chopper, it wouldn’t have mattered to them.  Marines all bleed green.

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