Report: Special Forces Enlisted Leader Tells Soldiers Not to ‘Wear or Post’ Extremist Images

A US soldier stands by a Bradley Fighting Vehicle (BFV) during a patrol in the countryside near al-Malikiyah (Derik) in Syria's northeastern Hasakah province on February 2, 2021. (Photo by Delil SOULEIMAN / AFP) (Photo by DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP via Getty Images)
DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP via Getty

The senior enlisted leader at a unit in charge of training Special Forces candidates recently sent out an email to soldiers that warned them not to wear or post on social media “extremist logos,” according to a recent report.

According to SOFREP, the 1st Special Warfare Training Group (Airborne)’s command sergeant major’s email said:

As of today, you are not authorized to wear or post any of [the attached] images. Doing so could result in military punishment. Please make sure this gets out to everyone in your formation. We don’t want our folks getting hemmed up because they weren’t informed. We — and the [commanding general] — have more important things to worry about and don’t need to waste any more time justifying logos. Some of these extremist logos may have been innocently and unknowingly incorporated into team/committee logos within SWCS; regardless of any good intentions, if you recognize any of these logos in any schwag you’re sporting, stop wearing the shirts, tear off the stickers on the water bottles, and let’s replace them with symbols that aren’t tied to extremism. Enough said.

It is not clear what the attached images were.

However, the report confirmed recent Breitbart News reporting that commanders at the U.S. John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School recently briefed Special Forces candidates and trainees not to affiliate with certain symbols that could be considered extremist or else face punishment. At least one commander had distributed slides from the New York Police Department’s Intelligence Bureau that listed about two dozen symbols that included Pepe the Frog, as first reported by Breitbart News.

A spokeswoman for JFKSWCS had told Breitbart News:

Army policy directed all subordinate commanders to review current emblems and discuss the issue of extremist symbols with their Soldiers. In keeping with good order and discipline as prescribed in Army policy and Secretary of Defense guidance, Commanders in each of the units within the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School made it a priority to emphasize that extremist organizations’ objectives are inconsistent with the Army’s values, goals and beliefs.

Our leadership discussed this information with their Soldiers to better educate them on current offensive symbols and logos. Commanders further reminded Soldiers they represent the Army, both on and off duty. While the results of any association with extremism were discussed, at no time did the leadership advise Soldiers that there would be specific consequences based upon alleged affiliations.

The briefings and instructions come as Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has vowed to rid the military of “racists and extremists.” Last week, the Pentagon announced that Austin had directed a 60-day “stand-down” across the department — a period of time during which commanders are directed to speak with troops under their command about extremism in the force.

Details on the stand-down are scant, but on Monday Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said discussions should include the “importance of the oath of office that service members take, a description of impermissible behaviors and procedures for reporting suspected or actual extremist behaviors with accordance to the DOD instruction.”

 

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