Two active-duty Marines stationed in North Carolina were arrested for trespassing at a May 20 Confederate Memorial Day rally where they allegedly unfurled a large banner with a slogan used by white nationalists, Corps officials told the Marine Corp Times.
Sgt. Michael Chesny, an explosive ordnance disposal technician based at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, and Staff Sgt. Joseph Manning, stationed at the Marine Corps Engineer School at Camp Lejeune, were arrested after scaling a building in downtown Graham, North Carolina, before displaying a banner with a quote from George Orwell’s novel “1984” and the letters “YWNRU.”
The letters reportedly stand for “You will not replace us,” a slogan commonly associated with the white nationalist group Identity Evropa, reported the Times-News.
The two Marines were each charged with first-degree trespassing, a misdemeanor offense, and released on $1,500 bond.
“Once the investigation is complete, the commanding officer’s action can range from taking no action and letting the civilian authorities prosecute the case, to administrative actions such as formal admonishment, non-judicial punishment or administrative separation from the service,” said Mike Barton, a spokesman for Cherry Point. “The commanding officer may refer the case to a court-martial if the investigation determines the misconduct was serious enough to warrant a prosecution of crimes not already handled through the Alamance County criminal court.”
The U.S. Marine Corps updated its policies in 2009 to prohibit active advocacy for “supremacist doctrine, ideology or causes” that deprive others of civil rights, reports RawStory.
The Marine Corp Times adds:
Manning’s command is working with civil authorities on the matter and has not decided whether to take any disciplinary action against him, said Capt. Joshua Pena, a spokesman for Training and Education Command.
A combat veteran, Manning joined the Marine Corps in June 2002, Pena said. His military awards include the Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbon, Iraq Campaign Medal and Afghanistan Campaign Medal. Information about Chesny’s awards was not immediately available on Tuesday.
Since joining the Marine Corps in 2007, Chesny has deployed to Afghanistan once and made two other deployments with Marine expeditionary units, Barton said. His military decorations include the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, NATO Medal-ISAF Afghanistan and three Marine Corps Good Conduct Medals.