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American flag stolen at US Army barracks in Germany, Confederate flag raised in its place; investigation underway

A Confederate Flag. (edward stojakovic/Flickr)
October 05, 2021

Both an American and German national flag were removed from inside the U.S. Army’s 2nd Cavalry Regiment headquarters at the Rose Barracks in Vilseck, Germany on Monday and a Confederate flag was found flying on a nearby flagpole.

“An unknown individual entered the 2d Cavalry Regiment’s headquarters building,” Regiment spokesperson Maj. John Ambelang told Army Times. “Additionally, the confederate battle flag was also raised on a flag pole outside of the Regimental Headquarters.”

Ambelang said the incident took place at some point between Sunday evening and Monday morning.

Ambelang said the Confederate flag “was removed immediately” after unit officials arrived to begin their duties for the day.

Ambelang said military police are now investigating the theft and the raising of the Confederate flag at the Rose Barracks, a U.S. Army post attached to U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria. The Rose Barracks serve as the headquarters to the 2nd Cavalry Regiment a unit of about 5,000 people.

Ambelang said the theft of the flags constitute larceny of government property.

He said the act “is also a violation of the Department of Defense policy [on display of the Confederate flag].”

In July of last year, the Department of Defense banned displays and depictions of the Confederate flag on U.S. military installations and other U.S. military property. The DoD policy bans all displays of the Confederate flag, except for “museum exhibits, state-issued license plates, grave sites, memorial markers, monuments, educational displays, historical displays, or works of art, where the nature of the display or depiction cannot reasonably be viewed as endorsement of the flag by the Department of Defense.”

Ambelang said the unit believes this incident was an isolated act of misconduct by a single perpetrator.

“As with any misconduct, the command will take appropriate action after considering all the facts surrounding the incident,” Ambelang said. 

He said punishment for the flag thefts and raising of the Confederate flag could be dealt with through administrative or judicial disciplinary actions up to trial by court-martial, the Washington Post reported.

The Army Times reported Confederate flags have been flown by far-right elements in Germany for years. Jordan Brasher, an assistant professor of geography at Columbus State University wrote in The Conversation that in Germany the Confederate flag serves as a “stand-in” for the Nazi swastika, which has been banned in Germany since the Holocaust.”

Army Times reported 2nd Cavalry Regiment leaders took the incident seriously perhaps because of the added local significance. The unit held full formations after the flag was discovered.

“Commanders at all echelons across 2CR engaged their Soldiers at a morning formation on the seriousness of the incident,” Ambelang said.