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Feb 10 2012

Those Marines Bought an SS Flag Without Knowing What it Was? Seriously? That’s Your Excuse?

Of all the really hard to believe excuses the military has made for the actions of military personnel, this one has to take the cake. Those Marines posing with a Nazi SS flag in Afghanistan just didn’t know it was an SS flag!

Yesterday, this photo went viral:

If you somehow managed to miss all of the countless stories about this photo, here’s the AP version.

There are also a whole bunch of articles with titles like “Marines: Nazi flag was mistaken for their own,” since the Marine Corps’ official excuse is that the use of the flag was just a naive mistake on the part of Marines who didn’t know what the flag was and just thought the SS stood for Sniper Scout.

Really? And just how does someone go about buying a Nazi SS flag without realizing that it’s a Nazi SS flag? Well, I spent hours yesterday afternoon and last night trying to do just that, scouring the web for an SS flag that could be bought by mistake. And, big surprise, I couldn’t find a single place where an SS flag wasn’t very clearly being sold as what it is — a Nazi flag.

In the course of searching, I found what I’m certain is the exact flag in the Marines’ photo. It’s the only one anywhere on the web with a blue background, and laying the image from the website on top of the Marines’ photo shows that every dimension of the flags are identical, from the size and proportions of every part of the logo to the slightly off-center position of the logo on the flag. You can even see in the Marines’ photo that their flag had the same creases from being folded as the flag for sale on the website.

The description of the flag on the website, Traders of the Lost Surplus, is an “ss double runic flag, a favorite and well know ss flag,” and the entire website is full of Nazi stuff. No Marine, even if they previously didn’t know that this was a Nazi symbol, could possibly be so dumb that they wouldn’t realize at this point that this is a Nazi flag! Even if someone was unfamiliar with the SS logo, all the swastika items would certainly tip them off.

Here’s a screen grab from the website, with the blue SS flag at the lower left:

As Gawker put it, “But then how you end up acquiring Schutzstaffel flag? Unless our men in uniform sewed the flag themselves, you’d think the whole ‘Please make your check out of Nazi Memorabilia ‘R’ Us’ thing would have tipped them off.”

The Atlantic Wire isn’t buying the naive mistake excuse either, posting an article titled “Marine Corps Insists Marines Are Too Dumb to Know This Is a Nazi Flag.”

Are people in our military seriously ignorant about history? Probably. That “Jesus Loves Nukes” missile officer training that the Military Religious Freedom Foundation got the Air Force to nix did include a slide of former Nazi and SS officer Wernher von Braun being quoted as a moral authority. And there is a constant stream of Christian nationalist pseudo-history in base newspapers throughout the military, as well as in military training presentations (but that’s a story for another day).

But historical ignorance can not excuse these Marines using the SS flag. No matter how little they know about history, it’s just impossible to believe that they could have bought that flag without finding out what it was in the process of buying it.

The Marine Corps must think we’re all pretty naive to believe their excuse that these Marines were that naive.

 

56 comments

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  1. 1
    Avicenna

    Meh? I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t know what it meant or where one of them was given it or something equally stupid.

    You would be surprised how ignorant people are about their own history and probably looked at it and said “Wow! That is one awesome looking flag! Holy shit! It looks like two lightning bolts! That’s pretty metal!”

  2. 2
    Anthony K

    I’m sure the US Marine Corps will understand if we mistake these fine fellows for actual members of the SS and have them tried in The Hague for war crimes, or worse, executed by anti-Nazi vigilantes.

    Oops! Honest mistake!

  3. 3
    michaeld

    Yeah I can understand being given it or finding it at a fleamarket or something but buying it online or something I have a hard time swallowing that you wouldn’t know what it was….

  4. 4
    Anthony K

    You would be surprised how ignorant people are about their own history and probably looked at it and said “Wow! That is one awesome looking flag! Holy shit! It looks like two lightning bolts! That’s pretty metal!”

    Except, as Gawker points out, the next lines would have been:

    “Who knew all these neo-Nazis here in this clearly marked Nazi-memorabilia shop would love AC/DC so much. Also, it’s crazy that this AC/DC flag is accidentally marked ‘Schutzstaffel flag’. That’s a funny way of spelling Angus Young.”

    Either way, why are we giving guns to illiterates?

  5. 5
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    If no one has started a “caption this photo” contest yet, you should totally do it.

  6. 6
    Abdul Alhazred

    I won’t try to aruge definitvely that they didn’t know what it was.

    But I caution against any assumption about how ignorant they couldn’t possibly be.

  7. 7
    Chris Rodda

    There’s also the little matter of Marines being taught in their anti-gang training that this symbol is not allowed. I guess these naive Marines missed that too.

  8. 8
    Cliff Hendroval

    I call bullshit.

    These guys are hard-core military types. They’re self-selected volunteers. They’re familiar with military iconography. They knew exactly what they were buying when they got that flag.

    Every fucking one of them in the photo, as well as the person who took it, should be court-martialed, be put in the stockade for six months, and get a dishonorable discharge.

  9. 9
    Jafafa Hots

    Well I can’t even understand joining the military, so nothing anyone who has does surprises me.

  10. 10
    timgueguen

    Yeah, the idea that not one of these guys knew this was an SS flag isn’t credible. There has to be at least one of them who’d be enough of a history buff to know who that style of writing was used by. Or an old film buff who would have seen more than one film featuring Nazis.

  11. 11
    hylidae

    Hi, active duty Marine here. I wanted to gather a little data to test the plausibility of the “didn’t know what the flag was” excuse by asking 10 marines I work with for their opinion of this photo. Not one of my randomly selected (i.e. happened to be nearby) colleagues could identify the “SS” symbol correctly, though 6 remarked that the flag was badass to some extent. When I explained why the picture was in the news, the unanimous response was some variation of “people are too sensitive”.

    I hope this data offers you some perspective.

  12. 12
    starskeptic

    “…resembling that of the notorious Nazi SS.”(AP)
    resembling? resembling? I’m speechless…

    hylidae@11
    it’s not that “people are too sensitive” it’s that too many others are too ignorant of history…

  13. 13
    Midnight Rambler

    It’s not impossible to be mistaken. I once bought a reproduction of this flag, the WWI (i.e. pre-Nazi) German naval ensign, because I just thought it looked neat and not realizing it had been adopted as a white supremacist emblem. But that’s a little different, I think, than an actual Nazi symbol.

  14. 14
    Anthony K

    Not one of my randomly selected (i.e. happened to be nearby) colleagues could identify the “SS” symbol correctly, though 6 remarked that the flag was badass to some extent. When I explained why the picture was in the news, the unanimous response was some variation of “people are too sensitive”.

    I’m not sure if that’s supposed to be an indictment or a validation.

  15. 15
    timberwoof

    Midnight Rambler, that WWI naval ensign is a pretty piece of heraldry; in a foggy ocean it would stand out better than just about any other design I’ve seen.

    Dmb-ass American Nazis can adopt whatever they want, but it can’t be taken to change the meaning of the symbol. I’ve seen photos of them flying the German Federal colors in one of their stupid marches. It can only be taken to mean that they have shit for brains and don’t realize that black-red-gold means democracy in Germany.

    Mylidae, you say that US Marines who didn’t know what an SS flag was have little sympathy for people who think it was a bad idea of US Marines to be flying it. Okay. Thank you for your service. I and my relatives honestly thank the Allies for liberating Germany of the Nazis. If they hadn’t, then I might be sharing this opinion about that flag … but for different reasons.

  16. 16
    Phillip IV

    There are also a whole bunch of articles with titles like “Marines: Nazi flag was mistaken for their own,” since the Marine Corps’ official excuse is that the use of the flag was just a naive mistake on the part of Marines

    Yeah, a honest mistake – see, the recruitment officer kept a few things a bit ambiguous and those guys honestly believed they were signing up for the SS. *eyeroll*

    Seriously, though, while I wouldn’t put it past some people not to know that flag, what business would soldiers have posing with a random flag they don’t know, just because it looks ‘kinda badass’? With all the fuss about flags in the American Military, those guys should be aware that it’s not entirely just a fashion choice.

  17. 17
    Michael Brew

    When the Army Infantry makes fun of the Marines’ intelligence, you know you’re dealing with some Grade A imbeciles. Hylidae’s little “experiment” surprises me not at all.

    Still… disgrace to the uniform and all that.

  18. 18
    Ace of Sevens

    The first guy to the left of the middle looks non-white to me. I doubt he knew it was a Nazi flag, at least.

  19. 19
    demonhauntedworld

    Curiously, the USMC Scout Sniper logo actually kind of looks like the SS logo:
    http://www.hardcharger.com/catalog/Scout%20Sniper%20Kopfjager.jpeg

  20. 20
    sparhawk23

    Active Army here. I just performed the same experiment that hylidae did… only one AIT Soldier (advanced individual training, fresh out of boot camp) out of the 10 nearby knew what it was. Once I told them, the recurring response was, “Marines are stupid”. I fear for our military.

  21. 21
    llewelly

    Yes, the person who bought the flag knew. But for the others involved, the claim they did not know is unsurprising; on the contrary, I would expect that out of 10 randomly selected young soldiers, 8 or 9 would not recognize the flag.

    When you have a nation unwilling to pay teachers much above starvation wages, an entertainment industry which normalizes ignorance, and an advertising industry bent on destroying any reasoning facilities children might have developed despite the odds, this is what you get.

  22. 22
    llewelly

    Brownian:

    I’m not sure if that’s supposed to be an indictment or a validation.

    It’s an indictment, but an indictment of America’s embedded disrespect for education.

    Whether hylidae understands that, I do not know.

  23. 23
    Chris Rodda

    @ hylidae

    There’s a little flaw in how you collected your data. You only asked those Marines if they knew what the symbol meant when they saw it by itself. If you had asked them to go find a flag to buy that has the initials SS on it, as at least one of the Marines must have done to get the flag in the photo, I think they all would have immediately found out what that symbol meant even if they didn’t know before. I would think even saying the letters SS out loud to them would have made at least some of them have a lightbulb go on in their heads.

  24. 24
    kevinkirkpatrick

    I have to go with the old adage, “Never attribute to malice that which is plausibly explained with ignorance”. Though I’m well aware of the role the SS played in Nazi Germany, I certainly didn’t recognize the SS-logo in that decontextualized situation. That’s with 3 liberal-arts BS degrees and an MS; most likely far more formal education than any of the guys posing in that picture… see hylidae’s post: I would put a huge amount of money that surveying any group of 12 marines, you’d rarely find a single one who fared better.

    AN issue I have with the blog entry itself: at this point, we have no back story to how the flag came to this group. Yes, probably, the person who purchased it knew it was Nazi propoganda and may have even been a Nazi-sympathiser of some sort. I could see such a person having the exact moral standards that would make it “funny” to say – “hey, Sniper Scouts, I’ve got an old kick-ass flag with your teams initials painted as lightning bolts – you want it for your group photo?”

    Should the incident be investigated? Hell yes – my guess is that there is probably at least one “bad apple” in play that needs to be dealt with – harshly. But the notion that all these guys were proudly posing next to a Nazi-Germany and American flag seems far-fetched, almost conspiracy-theorist.

  25. 25
    kevinkirkpatrick

    One more note – the marines’ naivety here is far more understandable if the image demonhauntedworld posted is a USMC officially-endorsed Sniper Scout emblem. Its resemblence to the Nazi SS logo is undeniable, and could make the logo in the Nazi-SS flag seem quite plausibly just a rendition of the official USMC Sniper Scouts logo.

  26. 26
    Chris Rodda

    @ kevinkirkpatrick … The last paragraph of your comment is exactly the point. We want an investigation. And now that’s going to happen. Somebody bought this flag and that person or persons had to have known what they were buying. It’s that person or persons, and anyone in charge of these guys who was aware of the flag and what the symbol is, who need to be rooted out. Obviously, nobody is looking to punish the guys who really didn’t know what the flag meant when they posed with it.

  27. 27
    Michael Brew

    Well, according to this new story, it’s been used as a symbol for the Scout Snipers since the ’80s, so the person who originally introduced the double sig is probably long since out of the USMC. It doesn’t sound like it was ever officially endorsed, but symbols usually don’t need to be approved by anyone but the commander of the unit adopting the symbol. It’s more of a tradition kind of thing. However, given that it’s in regulations that the double sig cannot be used as a tattoo, I’d think the senior NCOs would have picked up on it or maybe even the responsible commanders.

  28. 28
    Olav

    “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

  29. 29
    tommccann

    Does it matter what the folks ‘back home’ think about this little stunt? To the people of the countries that the US occupies, the US army IS the SS. It would serve you better to think about the effects of US colonialism on the people of the countries you occupy as well as those that are under threat.

  30. 30
    Michael Brew

    Equating the US Army with the SS is a gross amplification. Besides, I don’t think anyone here would object to leaving as it’s doing us at least as much harm as them.

  31. 31
    sailor1031

    Well Mr KevinKirkPatrick if your three BS degrees mean you STILL can’t identify an SS flag then they are just so much BS. And your MS is just More Shit.

  32. 32
    tommccann

    @michaelbrew: its always difficult for the bad guys to see themselves as such, particularly in this case as you live in one of the most heavily propagandised nations on earth. You’ve seen how the US media reports (or rather doesn’t report) stories close to home such as the Occupy protests; what chance of hearing the truth from Iraq or Afghanistan? I’m not suggesting that your boys are building gas chambers, but you sure as hell aren’t there handing out lollipops either.

    Almost the entire world sees the US as a aggressive bullying colonialist force, upholding no higher principles than ‘might is right’ and ‘oil is ours’.

    Of course, back home you are sold wonderful stories; that your brave boys are spreading democracy, education and sanitation, just as occupying forces have done since Cortez in Mexico.

    I doubt that many people in Iraq and Afghanistan view the US army as being much different from the SS. When an army has killed your son, broken your door down, run your car off the road, tortured your cousin to death, you don’t particularly care what symbols are on the uniform of the oppressor.

    As for Iran (because sure as eggs are eggs, they’re next) there are 45 US army bases surrounding that country on all sides. Tell me, who is threatening who there?

  33. 33
    Michael Brew

    I have a pretty good grasp of what’s going on. What I’m saying is that (a) trying to equate the U.S. Army with Nazis is both inappropriate and inaccurate and (b) you don’t have to get haughty; much of the country, military included, would like to pull out as well.

  34. 34
    tommccann

    @michaelbrew: how do you know you have a good grasp of what’s going on? Also, your previous comment that “it’s doing us at least as much harm as them” would be funny if the situation wasn’t so tragic. That’s like a man kicking another man’s head complaining because his boot got scuffed in the attack.

    I’m sure the citizens of Nazi Germany all thought that their boys were out there doing a fine job, defending other countries from the communists. It’s time the people of the US took a long hard look at how they’ve (along with Britain) been treating the rest of the world for the last half century.

  35. 35
    Michael Brew

    Godwin’s Law sure isn’t going fix it.

  36. 36
    tommccann

    @michaelbrew: it would be pretty difficult not to mention nazis in a story about the SS

  37. 37
    kevinkirkpatrick

    Hi sailor1031,

    What level of historical detail about WW2 do you think one ought to have to validate his or her eduation? In my opinion, this would certainly include knowing what the SA and SS were, understanding the role they played in Hitler’s rise to power, and comprehending the atrocities against humanity they carried out. More generally, I’d say a well-rounded education should leave people able to talk through all of the major players and events leading up to the war, occuring during the war, and drawing the war to a close.

    But flat recognition of the SS insignia (with no surrounding context)? Don’t get me wrong – I’m certain that I’ve seen the insignia numerous times in WW2 photos, books, movies, and the like – but for me, compared to the events actually being depicted, it made a relatively small impression on my memory.

    Anyway, I just don’t feel that lacking THAT specific piece of knowledge invalidates my (or anyone else’s) entire educational career. If you want to make a case otherwise, I’d be interested to hear it.

    Thanks!

  38. 38
    renaissance13

    They knew very well what that SS flag was. It’s absurd they are feigning ignorance at its origins. It’s not like the swaztika, SS symbol, and other Nazi icons disappeared after WWII. They have used by anyone from skinheads, KKK to many other white pride type of groups. Nope, ignorance is an excuse I’m not buying.

  39. 39
    Michael Brew

    It’s not so difficult to refrain from making hyperbolic analogies to Nazis, however, which is what Godwin’s Law is, in fact, about. You have to do more than simply mention Nazis to invoke it.

  40. 40
    maxamillion

    kevinkirkpatrick says:
    Hi sailor1031,

    What level of historical detail about WW2 do you think one ought to have to validate his or her eduation?

    CF

    These Hogan’s Heroes critics who confuse the POW camps with the concentration/death camps speaks more about the quality of the general public’s level of historical awareness than the quality of what William Shatner would call, “Just a TV show!”[18]

  41. 41
    tommccann

    @michaelbrew: I’m not making an analogy, I’m making an equivalence. There is a qualititative difference. As for hyperbolic, I couldn’t agree more. Those damned Iraqis and Afghans, always making a fuss over nothing, eh?

  42. 42
    ianken

    Maybe they’re just hard core member of the Kiss Army.

    http://www.kissonline.com/kissarmy

    It’s not like these guys are indefinitely detaining anyone or, say, ignoring war criminals. Or extending executive power beyond what the previous administration did. Or throwing civil liberties under the bus, or indiscriminately drone smacking brown people in Kerblamostan.

    But hey, get outraged about a bunch of jarheads with poor taste. Whatever it takes to get ya’all to gloss over the actual scary crap that’s going on in government. Left-wash the current administration to your hearts content.

  43. 43
    Michael Brew

    Tommccann, an equivalency is a subcategory of analogy. You’re still comparing the similarities between two distinct things, but additionally suggesting that, not only are they similar, but so similar as to be interchangeable.

    You also seem to be applying an opinion to me and, presumably, the folks in general who read this blog, to the effect that we don’t give a damn about the crap that does go down downrange. That is a patently false assumption.

    You do realize that a large portion of the people here are fairly liberal, and even those here who belong to the military don’t necessarily agree with the conduct of the war–especially any violations of the rules of war committed by the military’s members–right?

  44. 44
    Alex

    Don’t mention the war!

  45. 45
    laschesis

    Well I recognized it for what it was immediately.

    Also having exercised my googlefu on US Marine Tattoo policy

    http://www.marines.mil/news/messages/Pages/MARADMIN029-10.aspx

    and then

    http://gbgm-umc.org/umw/anti-hate/symbolsofhate.html

    Its obvious that the use of Sig Runes as deployed by the SS are not allowed being “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.”

    So someone I would say knew exactly what that flag meant – whether it was one of the marines posing under it or not.

    Ignorance is no excuse for violation of the law – and given the area of operations and its previous and current political/religious tensions in the area they seem to have been singularly ill informed and/or undereducated.

    I was under the impression that the US Marine Corp considered itself an elite military unit with the appropriate pride in its history and battle honours.

    Or perhaps my British perspective is wrong?

  46. 46
    doktorzoom

    I wonder if this thought has ever occurred to them…

  47. 47
    michaelnoone

    If this photo is taken in a similar context to the Abu Graib abuse photos then one can conclude some very disturbing things about elements of the USA military.

  48. 48
    Aquaria

    I think they all would have immediately found out what that symbol meant even if they didn’t know before. I would think even saying the letters SS out loud to them would have made at least some of them have a lightbulb go on in their heads.

    They knew very well what that SS flag was. It’s absurd they are feigning ignorance at its origins.

    :::Snicker:::

    :::Chortle:::

    I can’t believe anyone is this unaware of how stupid Marines can be. Or, hell, how stupid most people that age are. But especially people that age who are Marines.

    The Marines are the branch notorious for being an acronym for “Muscles Are Required; Intelligence Not Essential, Sir!”

    They’re not always the brightest bulb in the chandelier. Some of them are smart–but it’s by accident, usually. You don’t want smart for landing on a beach and shooting while getting shot at, after all.

    This kind of attitude sums up why Marines are stupid–from a Marine:

    we dont have a reputation for being stupid. we have a reputation for doing what none but us can do. sometimes you need someone who relies more on physical and mental toughness. not educational prowess. we are that someone.

    so congratulations air force guy with your desk job and your A+ average in calculus. i will take being a Marine and getting a D in algebra but being able to walk 26 miles with the weight of all YOUR world of warcraft books on my back. and your 3.7 gpa wont help you stay on a rope on the side of a helicopter. calculus never saved my life.

    This jarhead is proud of being a moron.

    This is what the Marines look for.

  49. 49
    Aquaria

    Any squids here who can confirm the old joke about every time you flush a toilet, you send a marine out to sea?

  50. 50
    harold

    Well Mr KevinKirkPatrick if your three BS degrees mean you STILL can’t identify an SS flag then they are just so much BS. And your MS is just More Shit.

    Wow, what a stupid comment. It got a polite reply from the person it was directed at, so please understand that this is my reaction.

    All those idiots getting their PhD in molecular biology or astrophysics, never once formally studying Nazi flags – all BS.

    For full disclosure, I have a science education, and yes, I did recognize the thing.

    so congratulations air force guy with your desk job and your A+ average in calculus. i will take being a Marine and getting a D in algebra but being able to walk 26 miles with the weight of all YOUR world of warcraft books on my back. and your 3.7 gpa wont help you stay on a rope on the side of a helicopter. calculus never saved my life.

    This jarhead is proud of being a moron.

    Technically, it sounds to me as if he is insecure and defensive about his academic issues.

    Getting a D in algebra doesn’t help you to hike with a heavy pack or stay on a rope on the side of a helicopter. Plenty of guys with A+ in calculus and a 3.7 GPA can do both of those things. But academic ability is required for other things.

    The military assigned the A+ in calculus guy to his job because they can both be trained to hike with a heavy pack, but the D in algebra guy can only hike with a heavy pack, and can’t be trained to do the other job. (I’m assuming he actually tried when he got his D – I was a jackass in high school, although I did alright in math.)

    Although I am completely opposed to current wars and current insane level of military spending, I do very strongly appreciate the willingness of both of these hypothetical guys to do what they do.

    SS flag story – obviously, at one point, an actual nazi sympathizer picked out the flag for the group. Probably no others recognized it. I don’t think that’s a huge indictment. The group was a “sniper scout” group, that style of “s” is used by marines themselves as was shown above, and that style of “s” has also been used by rock groups http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:200px-Kiss_destroyer_album_cover.jpg. At least two founding members of Kiss are Jewish. Try to figure out who the real closet nazi is.

  51. 51
    harold

    Oops –

    “Try to figure out who the real closet nazi is” refers to how the Marine Corps should handle this incident. It is not intended to refer to any members of the rock band Kiss.

  52. 52
  53. 53
    ashleybell

    sorry…

  54. 54
    coryat

    How frightening.

    Hylidae:[...]the unanimous response [of colleagues] was some variation of “people are too sensitive”.

    I find the reaction of your colleagues almost as alarming as the original story. People are blowing brown people’s shit up in Afghanistan whilst self-identifying through a flag as white supremacists, and people are being sensitive?

    I suspect I’m entertaining some unfairly nationalistic attitudes on this but of the British squaddies I know (admittedly only about 4, but range of ages, rank etc) I can’t conceive of this ever being allowed to happen, or of one of them decrying sensitive attitudes in this situation. Jesus fucking Christ. I realise this is wholly anecdotal so I’d been interested in other people’s feedback / actual data (my google-fu is weak this early in the morning)

  55. 55
    johnnyautonomous

    Dismissing ignorance of history as an excuse by concluding that the Marines, themselves, went on-line and bought the flag themselves…

    Uh…….maybe somebody SENT it TO them? There goes the theory that they “must have known since they (obviously) went to the website…” It COULD have happened that way…..And, yes, those Marines REALLY could be lacking a basic (or advanced) knowledge of history… but, you DO say that…

    So, with incomplete information, the casual reader (not you, I hope) invariably will draw the desired conclusion-that Marines (and by extension all Veterans) are to be reviled, blah, blah, blah. WAR is to be reviled, not those who fight it.

    Mr. Rodda, you are an idiot.

  56. 56
    Mike Morrison

    Old article is old, I know. But reviewing some of Ms. Rodda’s past writings for a little bit of ammunition against a couple of ignorant fundies I happen to know.

    To the few on here who are attempting to defend their ignorance of history because they have studied entirely different subjects than what they earned their high-level university degrees, such as harold@#50:

    “All those idiots getting their PhD in molecular biology or astrophysics, never once formally studying Nazi flags – all BS.

    For full disclosure, I have a science education, and yes, I did recognize the thing.”

    If I was shown that flag when I was 12 years old (and probably even younger….I think I was in 4th grade when learning about WWII for the first time,) I would have recognized immediately for what it was.

    I know those with PhD in molecular biology or astrophysics did not just magically appear out of thin air with that sort of an education to obtain those high-level and respectable degrees! I find no excuse for anyone not to have picked this up along the way somewhere or the other, unless you just did not pay one lick of attention in the first 13 years of formal education, whether public or private.

    You would also have been devoid of ever having stepped foot in a museum, or at least watched one of the seemingly hundreds of movies that have been produced, as well as books, magazines, newspapers, or even websites in more recent decades.

    Now, one thing I did not know, was the Sniper Scouts. When someone pointed that out above with a link to their logo, I can see that most of those Marines could be excused for mistaking that for the Sniper Scouts logo. However, I would think that at least one of those Marines would have used that excuse. Instead the official reply was: “We didn’t know what it was.” Indefensible, that!

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