Marine Corps Snipers Posed With Nazi Logo
Scout sharpshooters stood with flag whose logo resembles that of SS
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 10, 2012 1:01 AM CST
Updated Feb 10, 2012 6:00 AM CST
Sniper scouts from Charlie Company, 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, pose for a photo in Afghanistan in front of an SS flag.   (AP Photo/knightarmco.com)

(Newser) – In what commanders say was the result of an ignorance of history, not racism, Marine Corps scout snipers in Afghanistan apparently adopted the logo of the Nazi SS. The military launched an investigation after a photo surfaced in November of snipers posing with what looks like the logo of the Nazi special unit responsible for killing millions. Probers determined there was no malicious intent—Marines believed the SS symbol was meant to represent "sniper scouts"—although the logo had apparently been used for years, reports AP. The Marines involved were not disciplined, and the incident is now being used as a training tool, says a military spokeswoman.

The commander of the Jewish War Veterans of the USA says he accepts the Marines' explanation. "We believe that these young men likely did not understand the significance of this symbol, and we call on the Marine Corps to increase education on American history,” he tells the Marine Corps Times. "This issue goes beyond one of racism or anti-Semitism. Our fellow Americans fought and died to stop the Nazis, and it is shameful for any member of the military to display the symbols of Nazi Germany." The Military Religious Freedom Foundation and a leading Jewish organization don't believe the use of the symbol was a mistake, and they are calling for the Marines involved to be punished.