Christopher Semok, who enlisted in the Marine delayed-entry program in September, was released from his training obligation this month after photographic evidence of his involvement in extremist organizations came to light.
ATL Antifacists posted several tweets documenting his involvement, with the first on September 30, 2021, which identified Semok as responsible for neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic vandalism in Broward County, FL.
On January 22, 2021, the same account identified Semok as a Patriot Front member participating in training in Tallahassee, providing his Telegram username as “American Himmler.”
While it’s unclear how the Marines became aware of the posts, a spokesperson for Marine Corps Recruiting and Command told Task and Purpose that they were aware of the potential links and referred further questions to the Corp’s 6th Recruiting District, headquartered at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina.
The district issued a news release regarding Semok, stating that a preliminary inquiry and interview had been conducted, during which Semok had admitted his involvement, but did not disclose at his enlistment as he was no longer affiliated.
Semok later contacted several news outlets to confirm that he has broken ties with extremist groups.
“Despite my previous affiliations, I’m no longer affiliated with that life,” Semok told Task and Purpose, “It isn’t who I am anymore and I denounce it. I’m currently working with a de-radicalization case worker to assist in my journey with leaving the movement behind and erasing it from my life for good.” Semok reportedly encountered individuals in these groups during his early teens.
In March of 2021, the Marine Corps issued training entitled “Stand Down to Address Extremism in the Ranks.” A SECDEF Memo included in the training reads, “We will not tolerate actions that go against the fundamental principals of the oath we share, including actions associated with extremist or dissident ideologies. Service members, DoD civilian employees, and all those who support our mission, deserve an environment free of discrimination, hate, and harassment.”
A blue ribbon committee, Countering Extremist Activity Working Group, was commissioned to evaluate extremism among service members and to what extent it might exist.
In an effort to prevent the spread of extremist ideologies, the Defense Department revised it’s policies in 2021, restricting military personnel from advocating “supremacist, extremist, or criminal gang doctrine, ideology, or causes, including those that advance, encourage, or advocate illegal discrimination based on race, creed, color, sex, religion, ethnicity, or national origin” whether on or off duty.