Two active-duty U.S. Marines were arrested after driving hours from their homes to take part in a pro-Confederate rally last week in North Carolina.
Sgt. Michael Chesny and Staff Sgt. Joseph Manning were arrested for trespassing after draping a white nationalist banner over a building in downtown Graham during a May 20 demonstration, reported the Times-News.
The pair unfurled a banner that quoted George Orwell’s “1984” — “He who controls the past controls the future” — and the letters, “YWNRU,” which stands for “you will not replace us,” a slogan linked to the white nationalist group Identity Evropa.
The group has gained followers in recent years by blanketing college campuses with white nationalist literature, although it’s not clear whether either Marine is directly involved with Identity Evropa or similar groups.
The Marines told arresting officers they had gone to the rally to record video of protesters from the Industrial Workers of the World to prove the social group wasn’t peaceful.
Chesny serves as an explosive ordnance disposal technician based at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, and Manning serves in the Marine Corps Engineer School at Camp Lejeune.
The servicemen were each charged with first-degree trespassing, a misdemeanor offense, and released on $1,000 bond the same day as their arrest.
The incident is under investigation by military personnel.
The U.S. Marine Corps updated its policies in 2009 to prohibit active advocacy for “supremacist doctrine, ideology or causes” that deprive others of civil rights.
Both Marines are decorated combat veterans who served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.