Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has asked the Marine Corps to investigate the matter and take necessary action, according to Pentagon reports.
The Pentagon spokesman George Little said, “Racist and anti-Semitic symbols have absolutely no place alongside the men and women of America’s armed forces.”
General James Amos, the Marine Corps Commandant has also joined the damage control attempts and went on record apologizing to “all offended by this regrettable incident.”
General Amos said, “I want to be clear that the Marine Corps unequivocally do not condone the use of any such symbols to represent our units or Marines.”
The furor happened over an apparently unintentional use of initials by the Scout Snipers of Marine Corps in a photo taken in 2010 in Afghanistan. The description of the photo said that the “SS” lookalike flag had been used by the Marines in reference to Scout Sniper.
The Marine Corps has admitted of being aware of the photo since last November, and that the local command had made a procedural investigation but did not find the action to be racially motivated.
It was determined that the Marines concerned were unaware of the similarity to the “SS” logo to the flag they had adopted, and had to take a formal instructional class so that they understood the implications of the act.
“SS” or “Schutzstaffel,” was the dreaded logo of Adolf Hitler’s elite paramilitary forces, and the SS were heavily involved in war crimes, the Holocaust, and systematic persecution and extermination of millions of Jews.
General Amos has ordered commanders to find whether the SS or other unauthorized symbols are in use by any marine groups. He has also asked the commanding general in charge of training and education to review the current curriculum of the sniper school to ensure the discontinuation of any objectionable symbols.