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4 years 11 weeks ago, 10:00 AM

Pkato

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Confederate Flag

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

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Posted: May 04, 2010
8:23 pm Eastern

By Chelsea Schilling
© 2010 WorldNetDaily

U.S. Marine hoists Confederate flag during World War II (photo: WWII in Color)

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 reportedly 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)

'This is an insult to us'

As for Andrews, he walked into the local Marine recruiting station in Madison, Tenn., that had turned the recruit away. He met a staff sergeant and informed him of his family's defense of Tennessee during the Civil War and his own service in Vietnam.

"I had thought about it, and the more I thought about it, the more I felt like this is just not right," he said. "I thought, if we just sit here, we're going to be slapped around and stepped on forever."

In a recent commentary posted on numerous blogs, Andrews recounted his experience:

"I informed the young sergeant that my family had defended the state of Tennessee (also his home state) against a sadistic invasion under that flag and to call our sacred flag of honor a 'hate symbol' was an insult to all southerners, but especially to those southerners who had risked or even given their lives in service to the Marine Corps. Southerners had served at Belleau Woods, at Tarawa and Iwo Jima, at Inchon and the Chosin Reservoir, and at Khe Sanh and Hue City, but now we are no longer wanted in the politically correct, don't-offend-any-minorities military?"

(Photo: The Florida Patriot)

The sergeant politely explained that the policy was handed down by headquarters.

Andrews continued, "I asked the sergeant if he had taken out the trash yet. He replied that he hadn't.

"I then said, 'Please add these to the day's garbage,' and returned my lieutenant's bars, my gold and silver Marine Corps emblem from my dress blues, my shooting badges and my Vietnam ribbons.

"I, like many of you, have always been told, 'Once a Marine, always a Marine,' and 'There are no ex-Marines, only former Marines,' but for me that is no longer true."

Andrews told WND he was born in the South, raised in the South and will always be a Southerner.

"This is an insult to us," he said. "We've laid our lives on the line in the Marine Corps since there was a Marine Corps. We fought in every campaign that the Marine Corps has been involved in. When I was in Vietnam, there were Confederate flags at every base, every fire-support base over there. Nobody said anything about it. There were state flags, Confederate flags, and it was no big deal."

Andrews said he is not angry. Rather, he is disappointed in the Marine Corps.

"I thought if it had been a bunch of political hacks or a school board or a local government or some municipality that was pretty spineless anyway, I really wouldn't have been surprised," he said. "That happens all the time. But I felt that the Marine Corps had a little more backbone and a little more character than that."

Asked what he would say to people who believe the Confederate flag represents racism and slavery, he responded, "I'd say they don't know much about history. Slavery existed under the United States flag much longer than it ever did under the Confederate flag."

He added, "It's pitiful to bring up historical topics to some of our young people today. They just stare at you like you're from outer space. If you're going to be led around by the nose in this country by the government, if you can't figure out what's true and what's not and what kind of propaganda they're giving you, that's a sad situation."

Cemetery in Lewisburg, Pa., with graves of Union soldiers marked with U.S. flag and grave of Confederate soldier with Confederate flag. (photo: Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs)

Confederate flag: Symbol of 'terrorism' or independence?

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, or NAACP, recently fought to ban the Confederate flag from the South Carolina Statehouse. NAACP leaders have said the Confederate flag "supports the evils of slavery" and "represents terrorism."

However, in his 1999 commentary, columnist Walter Williams argued, "It must be ignorance, an ignorance I once shared. The NAACP crowd sees the Confederate battle flag as a flag of slavery. If that's so, the United States flag is even more so. Slavery thrived under the United States flag from 1776 to 1865, while under the Confederate flag a mere four years."

(Re-enactment photo. Source: Politics and Culture)

He explained, "The birth of both flags had little or nothing to do with slavery. Both flags saw their birth in a violent and proud struggle for independence and self-governance."

Williams noted that the flag naturally symbolizes resentment for those individuals who see the War for Southern Independence solely or chiefly as a struggle for slavery.

"The idea that President Abraham Lincoln waged war against the South to abolish slavery is fiction created by the victors," he explained. "Here's an oft-repeated sentiment by President Lincoln: 'I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.' Slavery simply emerged as a moral front for northern aggression."

Williams explained that significant factors that led to the war included states' rights and tariffs Congress enacted to protect Northern manufacturing interests. He also cited professor Edward Smith, director of American studies at American University, who has calculated that between 60,000 and 93,000 blacks served the Confederacy.

"These black Confederate soldiers no more fought to preserve slavery than their successors fought in WWI and WWII to preserve Jim Crow and segregation," Williams wrote. "They fought because their homeland was attacked and fought in the hope that the future would be better and they'd be rewarded for their patriotism."

Williams then suggested the NAACP make an effort to memorialize and honor black Confederate soldiers.

Meanwhile, a May 9, 2000, survey by Gallup Poll News Service posed this question to Americans, "Do you, yourself, see the Confederate flag more as a symbol of Southern pride, or more as a symbol of racism?"

A full 59 percent of all respondents said they believe it is a symbol of Southern pride, while only 28 percent saw it as a symbol of racism.

"It's kind of a hot topic for us right now," the Tennessee Marine recruiter said of the Marine Corps policy on Confederate flag tattoos. "Personally, I don't have any problems with it. I have friends, both white and black, who don't have any problems with it. But there are also those out there who do see it as being racially biased."

Patrolman Kato
Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself.
They are the American people's liberty teeth and keystone
under independence. -- George Washington
4 years 11 weeks ago, 10:15 AM

Builtf0rdtough

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wow. its American history. has nothing to do with racism

"Socialism is the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy"-Winston Churchill
4 years 11 weeks ago, 10:36 AM

HampsterW

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IMHO

at a time when the military is hard up for recruits and struggling
to convince veterans to re up, they may want to rethink this kind
of bullshit.

Change you can truly believe in comes from the barrel of a gun---------------------------------------------------------------------------------Ron Paul 2012----Vote the bastards out!---------------------------------
4 years 11 weeks ago, 7:58 PM

Pkato

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Hey Hamp

I have not heard this...last thing I heard was all services were meeting their numbers.

Patrolman Kato
Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself.
They are the American people's liberty teeth and keystone
under independence. -- George Washington
4 years 11 weeks ago, 8:06 PM

HampsterW

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but not long ago they were having a hard time meeting thier quotas.

Change you can truly believe in comes from the barrel of a gun---------------------------------------------------------------------------------Ron Paul 2012----Vote the bastards out!---------------------------------
4 years 11 weeks ago, 12:44 PM

raffycanlas

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confederate flag

maybe they dont want a losing flag? lol

I'm just another damn yankee with a loaded gun looking for some fun!
4 years 11 weeks ago, 3:47 PM

CharlesW

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not funny

There is American blood on that flag

A little rebellion is good medicine for the government Thomas Jefferson
4 years 11 weeks ago, 1:04 PM

HampsterW

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LOL!

Change you can truly believe in comes from the barrel of a gun---------------------------------------------------------------------------------Ron Paul 2012----Vote the bastards out!---------------------------------
4 years 11 weeks ago, 2:46 PM

ivantank

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would have a problem with a tatoo of all things..I guess the skirts have takin over

I have reasons for the things I do, just don't expect them to be reasonable
4 years 11 weeks ago, 8:23 PM

ecaman

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Confederate flag

I had a friend in PA who had a Confederate flag bumper sticker. His car was vandalized four times. Twice it was spray painted (tagged) with anti-Confederate, anti-white "messages". He finally removed it, saying it was costing him too much to keep it. He reported it to police each time, with no results. By the way, this guy wasn't southern, but a native-born Philadelphian.

If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. (Mark Twain).
4 years 11 weeks ago, 8:35 PM

luckybychoice

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you to have a confederate flag tattoo,they would have issued it to you.Just getting a tattoo is a violation of the UCMJ,but it is overlooked unless you get an offensive or questionable tattoo,but going in a recruit would be held to a higher degree of scrutiny than someone that has been thru bootcamp and then hit the tattoo parlor.Nothing to see here folks,lets move along.

i tried being reasonable,i didn't like it, NRA LIFE MEMBER,USMC VETERAN
4 years 11 weeks ago, 11:27 PM

aimstr8

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hey tell the kid,

the kkk and skin heads are hiring..LOL... Send the kid a link to the wed site... you guys are funny as hell......www. racist jobs.com. The confederate flag as a piece of american history. this is too funny. i love stopping by this sight on my overnight shifts. you guys never fail to amuse me. Thanks Gunslot Family....

It's been a long hard road. but I'm still truckin!!
4 years 11 weeks ago, 4:22 AM

greg az

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This is important to me aim, i actually agree with your feelings its the employees responsibility to comply with management.. quite right fighting windmills will not feed the family. Nor do i have a problem with a more liberal view.. Your call i think were all secure enough to handle valid debate on this type of issue.. and might well be more balanced by your presence..

The issue that caused me to alter your nick, was the following comment.. I don't like condescending attitudes making fun of those i respect.. The last two times you were in the room you made fun of the members ..

"The Confederate flag as a piece of American history. this is too funny. i love stopping by this sight on my overnight shifts. you guys never fail to amuse me. Thanks Gunslot Family"....

That was the second of two comments, the other one happened last time you were on..

So i stand by what i said at the begining, and assume you can find us less amusing.. If thats the case im sure will be happy to listen to your thoughts..

a man has to hold his word, hold his beliefs, and hold a good sight picture.
4 years 11 weeks ago, 12:05 AM

greg az

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Sorry about the "hook" there.. for what it's worth were not a bunch o knuckle dragging homophobes.. but lets cut to the chase, you come on.. make a couple of "normal" comments and then one like above..

I'm really at odds on how to deal with you, as you seem rational enough, then do the "bunch o retards" thing.. i don't think you fit in the troll category, and apparently our Pres (who's on at the moment) has decided you don't offend enough to delete and subsequently ban.. May i suggest an open mind..

Fact is, of the 35 or so "regular" members a number are MENSA category.. A lot of us are recovering democrats, some post liberal, a few are reformed VVAW who are working off a little guilt from being used by the left 40 plus years ago.. Please remember Churchill's quote..

"A man who's not liberal when young, has no heart, one who's not conservative as he ages has no brains".. Point is simple, if your interested in guns stick around, if your purpose is simply to go after a conservative.. Your dealing with men on this site, not posturing..

I have to add this.. Your comment, and i quote "The confederate flag as a piece of American history, this is too funny" is obscene.. I wont dignify it with any other words.. Men, and Women died under that flag.. I have no idea what could be more a part of American history than that flag.

a man has to hold his word, hold his beliefs, and hold a good sight picture.
4 years 11 weeks ago, 4:27 AM

aimstr8

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again i thought

some of these post where jokes. i really didn't mean to affend anyone. I was thinking at the time i was reading the post about the kid trying to get into the marines with a confederte flag tattoo was funny and at best rather stupid on the kids behalf. would you agree? again no offense.. and yes the confederate flag is in part a piece of american history. its what it stands for that i may be somewhat confused about. the south lost the right to own slaves right? you don't think slavery was kind of wrong? its kind of like saying the swastika is part of Germany history and the Jews should be ok with it being flown at town hall. right? and tattooed on young german recruits. i just think it would be stupid and or real funny to have had the chance to see the drill sargents expression at the sight of a confederate flag tattooed on one of his recruits day one of boot camp and with the military being a high minority mixture nowadays. that poor kid would have been put thru hell..again no offence with your flag greg az.

It's been a long hard road. but I'm still truckin!!
4 years 11 weeks ago, 4:36 AM

greg az

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I mean that absolutely... its late, and im going to bed, sure did NOT read that last time, but we all err.. If that's the case then i apologize..end of story.. and i will delete my last..

a man has to hold his word, hold his beliefs, and hold a good sight picture.
4 years 11 weeks ago, 4:43 AM

greg az

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I believe we have had a diffrence of openion that might have more to do with communication than politics... would you do me a favor and delete my comments that are negative to aimsr8 here.. Thanks guys appreciate it..

a man has to hold his word, hold his beliefs, and hold a good sight picture.

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