An active-duty Marine is the subject of a criminal investigation after a series of posts emerged on social media this weekend showing his possible ties to a group associated with white supremacism.
The Naval Criminal Investigative Service is looking into derogatory comments attributed to a member of the Hawaii-based 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines, said 1st Lt. David Mancilla, a spokesman for III Marine Expeditionary Force.
"The command will address any misconduct at the appropriate judicial or administrative level," he said. "... The Marine Corps takes every instance of misconduct seriously, whether on duty, off duty or online. Any form of racism or discrimination undermines the core values of the Marine Corps and is not tolerated."
Mancilla declined to provide additional details about the investigation since it remains ongoing. The command is thankful to those who brought the posts to leaders' attention, he added.
Screenshots of posts made by the now-deleted @Jacobite_Edward Twitter handle were shared by Marine veteran Ed Beck on Sunday. The photos show that @Jacobite_Edward claimed in his Twitter bio to be a 20-year-old infantryman with connections to Society of Saint Pius X, a group long connected to racism and anti-Semitism, according to the Anti-Defamation League, which works to combat hate and prejudice.
Photos posted by Beck show the Marine under investigation allegedly shared a picture of a swastika, a meme that include the n-word, and a post encouraging violence against women in which he shared an image of his boot under the words "women respecting tool." He also allegedly joked about shooting feminists and shared photos of World War II-era Belgian politician Léon Degrelle, a Nazi collaborator.
Beck previously alerted officials when another Marine, Lance Cpl. Vasillios Pistolis, was bragging about his involvement in the deadly 2017 Unite the Right white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on social media, ProPublica reported. Pistolis was later kicked out of the service.
The Marine Corps and other military services are under fire from members of Congress to better screen enlistees and officer candidates for white nationalism and other extremist beliefs, The Washington Post reported Monday. That follows the arrest of Coast Guard Lt. Christopher Paul Hasson, a self-described white nationalist who was allegedly planning attacks against journalists and Democratic members of Congress.
Any participation by a Marine in a hate or extremist group will not be tolerated, said Maj. Brian Block, a Marine spokesman at the Pentagon.
"We are proud of the fact that Marines come from every race, creed, cultural background and walk of life," Block said. "We expect every Marine to treat their fellow Marines with dignity and respect. Those who can't value the contributions of others, regardless of background, are destructive to our culture, our warfighting ability, and have no place in our ranks."