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Marine Corps officially bans Confederate flags from all bases

A Confederate Flag. (edward stojakovic/Flickr)
June 08, 2020

The U.S. Marine Corps has officially ordered the removal of all Confederate flags from its bases, including depictions of flags such as on items like bumper stickers, clothing, posters, and mugs.

The Marine Corps announced the order to remove any Confederate flag displays from its bases on Friday. The order was also published on social media accounts such as Facebook and Twitter.

“The Confederate battle flag has all too often been co-opted by violent extremist and racist groups whose divisive beliefs have no place in our Corps,” the order states. “Our history as a nation, and events like the violence in Charlottesville in 2017, highlight the divisiveness the use of the Confederate battle flag has had on our society.

“This presents a threat to our core values, unit cohesion, security and good order and discipline,” the order continues. “This must be addressed. Reference(a) charges commanders with the authority and responsibility to take reasonable, necessary, and lawful measures to maintain law and order, and to protect installation personnel and property. The Marine Corps shall remove the Confederate battle flag from all installation public spaces and work areas in order to support our core values, ensure unit cohesion and security, and preserve good order and discipline.”

The full details of the order list some exceptions to the removal rules. Exceptions from the removal rule include displays, such as works of art, educational or historic displays where the Confederate flag is present, but not the main focus.

Another exception from the removal rule allows for state’s flags that include elements of the Confederate flag. State-issued license plates with those same Confederate flag elements are also allowed.

Confederate soldiers’ gravesites are another exception from the rule.

“It is impossible to specify every possible exception that may apply,” the order states. “Commanders are expected to apply their best judgment informed by the spirit and intent of this MARADMIN. If a commander encounters questionable circumstances, the Command Staff Judge Advocate shall be contacted for legal review and advice.”

The order allows for inspections of all work areas, common areas, and public areas on Marine bases and facilities, along with secure facilities, open bay barracks, and shipboard berthings. The order does not include inspections of assigned individual barracks, housing, and the personal vehicles of individual Marines.

Reports first circulated in February that the Marine Corps had come to a decision on removing the Confederate flag. In April, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger officially announced his decision on the Confederate flag and described his thought process behind the ban.

The Friday orders now provide specific instructions for what symbols should be removed, what places should be inspected, and what exceptions may exist to the rules.