VIDEO: An Inside Look At The Ideology Driving Some Veterans To Join Neo-Nazi Groups

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As America stumbles out of yet another long, hot summer in which its racial tensions have turned violent, some veterans are in the thick of it, making news in all the wrong ways. There’s the self-styled “CEO” of a U.S.-based neo-Nazi hate group who, it turns out, was a Marine recruiter once. There’s the fellow racist who stood with that CEO’s organization in Charlottesville, hours before allegedly plowing his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing one. He was in the Army, however briefly.

There’s an easy temptation for news media and other novices to see a trend here, a necessary connection between the categories “veteran” and “racist,” just as they like to occasionally connect “veteran” and “mass murderer.” That’s simply wrong, and most people know it. The Joint Chiefs of Staff wasted no time after Charlottesville in denouncing race hate and reminding white supremacists that there was no place for them in the ranks. Vets, individually and with virtually every service organization in the country, reminded everybody else that the U.S. military is 2-0 against enemy white supremacist regimes. Even the 82nd Airborne’s Twitter account spent some time dunking on neo-Nazis this month.

But… there’s something happening here. Take the case of Nathan Damigo: former Marine 0311, veteran of two Iraq deployments, convicted felon, and founder of Identity Evropa, a crew of haircut-coding Nazi hipsters (no, really, “nipsters” are a thing) whose “identitarian” shtick about Muslims and Jews watering down civilization probably sounded better in the original German.

As this Task & Purpose video shows, Damigo and Identity Evropa are actively cultivating contacts with fellow vets — and for some, the group’s authoritarian, minority-bashing ideology connects.

A few “fashy” eugenics enthusiasts do not represent even a speck next to the majority of American military veterans. But the increasing boldness of ex-military neo-fascists and white nationalists makes it worth asking: How do former service members get from defending the U.S. constitution to here? And just how many Nathan Damigos are there out there?

"It's kind of like the equivalent of dropping a soda can into canyon and putting on a blindfold and going and finding it, because you can't just look down and see it," diver Jeff Goodreau said of finding the wreck.

The USS Eagle 56 was only five miles off the coast of Maine when it exploded.

The World War I-era patrol boat split in half, then slipped beneath the surface of the North Atlantic. The Eagle 56 had been carrying a crew of 62. Rescuers pulled 13 survivors from the water that day. It was April 23, 1945, just two weeks before the surrender of Nazi Germany.

The U.S. Navy classified the disaster as an accident, attributing the sinking to a blast in the boiler room. In 2001, that ruling was changed to reflect the sinking as a deliberate act of war, perpetuated by German submarine U-853, a u-boat belonging to Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine.

Still, despite the Navy's effort to clarify the circumstances surrounding the sinking, the Eagle 56 lingered as a mystery. The ship had sunk relatively close to shore, but efforts to locate the wreck were futile for decades. No one could find the Eagle 56, a small patrol ship that had come so close to making it back home.

Then, a group of friends and amateur divers decided to try to find the wreck in 2014. After years of fruitless dives and intensive research, New England-based Nomad Exploration Team successfully located the Eagle 56 in June 2018.

Business Insider spoke to two crew members — meat truck driver Jeff Goodreau and Massachusetts Department of Corrections officer Donald Ferrara — about their discovery.

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That was from a video posted on YouTube on Sept. 26, 2012, several weeks after Tice went missing near Damascus, Syria, while working as a freelance journalist for McClatchy and the Washington Post.

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For example, the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service tweeted and subsequently deleted a Gilbert Gottfried-esque misfire about the "Storm Area 51" movement.

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