Marine Corps Identifies Pfc. Who Threatened Asians on Camera

A U.S. Marine holding a cell phone.
A U.S. Marine holding a cell phone. (U.S. Marine Corps/Sgt. Rebekka Heite)

The Marine Corps has identified a man who posted a video to social media showing him spouting racist slurs toward people of Chinese descent, insinuating they will meet a bullet should he encounter them in the fleet.

A Marine official with Training and Education Command identified the Marine in the video as Pfc. Jarrett Morford, 20, from Windsor, Colorado. The Marine, who did not respond to a request for comment about the video, graduated from boot camp this summer and is training for a communications job at Twentynine Palms, California.

In the video, Morford says China will "pay for what they have done to this country and the world" following the novel coronavirus pandemic. The junior-enlisted Marine cites tweets from President Donald Trump, who he refers to as "the honorable Trump," that blame China for the spread of the virus, which has killed more than a million people worldwide.

After making a racist slur, Morford says that if someone of Chinese descent "comes up to me when I'm in the fleet, say 5.56, b--ch. That's all I gotta say. Say 5.5 f---ing 6!" he yells, presumably referring to 5.56mm ammunition.

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The video was posted to Twitter on Thursday by an Army noncommissioned officer, according to the user's bio, who asked, "Anyone recognize this racist? It's hard to tell where he's at, and sadly no name tapes."

The Marine Corps initiated an investigation to identify the Marine.

"There is no place for racism in the Marine Corps," said Capt. Joe Butterfield, a Marine spokesman at the Pentagon. "Those who can't value the contributions of others, regardless of background, are destructive to our culture and do not represent our core values."

He said that Morford's command will take appropriate action.

The Marine Corps did not address questions about whether leaders are concerned the commander in chief's comments are leading to division, racism or other problems in the ranks, or if they've shared those concerns with White House leaders.

Trump has repeatedly called the coronavirus pandemic "the China virus." In a video pinned to the top of his Twitter feed, he said the rampant coronavirus spread in the U.S. is not the fault of the American people, but of China.

"And China's going to pay a big price, what they've done to this country," Trump said. "China's going to pay a big price, what they've done to the world. This was China's fault. Just remember that."

The Marine Corps' top general has said his service must be ruthless in rooting out racism in the ranks.

"And when you find it, you've got to separate it like a cancer quickly, because it clearly will spread," Commandant Gen. David Berger said in late September. "... Nothing crushes cohesion faster than that kind of a one-off in a unit. It just starts to tear apart the fabric at the tactical level. We can't have that."

Editor's note: This story has been updated to identify the Marine in the video.

-- Gina Harkins can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @ginaaharkins.

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