Leader Of Charlottesville White Nationalist Group Was A Marine Corps Recruiter

news
Dillon Hopper in Columbus, Ohio in 2012.
Photo via Facebook

James Alex Fields Jr., the 20-year-old Army basic training wash-out accused of running down counter-protesters demonstrating against hate groups in Charlottesville, Virginia, may not have been the only U.S. military veteran marching under the banner of white nationalism this weekend, Splinter reports.


Dillon Ulysses Hopper, the self-described “CEO” of the Vanguard America neo-Nazi hate group whose members appeared alongside Fields in a widely-circulated photograph taken at the rally, reportedly joined the Marine Corps in 2005. A veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Hopper’s military records show the 29-year-old New Mexico native (whose birth name is Dillon Irizarry) served as an enlisted Marine, an information security technician (MOS 0681).

What makes Hopper’s background even more troubling is his service at home. A Vanguard America representative told Splinter that Hopper has identified as a white supremacist since 2012, the same year he started a three-and-a-half-year stint as a Marine recruiter in Ohio, where he was assigned to recruit students in at least one high school. A photo from that era shows a clean-shaven, bespectacled Hopper standing in front of a Marine Corps recruiting poster.  

Dillon Ulysses HopperPhoto via Facebook

These days, Hopper reportedly goes by the name “Commander Dillon” — and his “army” was on full display at the #UniteTheRight rally in Charlottesville on Aug. 12, when the group marched alongside other extremist organizations in protest of the city’s decision to remove a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee. The ensuing clashes with counter-protesters left a 32-year-old woman dead and dozens more injured, sparking national outrage.         

Hopper managed to rise to the rank of staff sergeant and remained on active duty until January 2017, according to his military records. He claimed in an interview with Splinter that he became the leader of Vanguard America one year ago. Marine Corps policy prohibits members from participating in organizations “that espouse supremacist causes,” and violators face possible separation or non-judicial punishment. Evidently that wasn’t enough to deter Hopper.      

Hopper’s ascension to the head of Vanguard America may be evidence of a growing and troubling trend within the U.S armed forces. A 2008 FBI report found that “white supremacist leaders are making a concerted effort to recruit active-duty soldiers and recent combat veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.” According to Splinter, Hopper deployed twice overseas, serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2008 and in Operation Enduring Freedom in 2010. It is unclear if he ever saw combat in his role as an information security technician.

Hopper in 2017 in Pikeville, KentuckyPhoto via Anti-Defamation League

Vanguard America reportedly formed in California in 2015 and, according to its website, is guided by the belief that that America has been “brought to its knees by decadence,” and “White Americans will be a minority in the nation they built” if “current trends continue.”  To join the group, a person must be “of at least 80% White/European heritage,” and not a criminal or addict of any kind, explains the group’s website. “Homosexuals, transexuals, adulterers, or any form of sexual degeneracy,” also need not apply.        

Hopper told Splinter that he was not present at the Charlottesville rally due to the recent death of his mother. He also insisted that Fields is not a member of Vanguard America and the group had not yet been contacted by law enforcement.  

Hopper’s claim appears contradicted by the fact that Fields, who served in the Army for less than four months before washing out, was photographed standing in a Vanguard American formation holding a shield and wearing the group’s uniform: khakis, a white collared shirt, and a thousand-yard stare that seems to say, “this guy is really, really good at computer games.”

Despite the visual evidence, Hopper stood by his claim, saying in a statement to Splinter that Fields “is not affiliated nor was ever a member of my organization.”

“He was photographed in our ranks due to poor leadership and uncooordination [sic] at the event,” Hopper said. “He does not represent us in any way shape or form and we condemn his irredeemable actions.”

(Air Force photo / Tech Sgt. Oneika Banks)

Kirtland Air Force Base isn't much different from the world beyond its gates when it comes to dealing with mental illnesses, a base clinical psychologist says.

Maj. Benjamin Carter told the Journal the most frequent diagnosis on the base is an anxiety disorder.

"It's not a surprise, but I anticipate about anytime in the population in America, about 20% of the population has some form of diagnosable anxiety disorder, and it's no different in the military," he said.

Leading the way among the anxiety disorders, he said, were post-traumatic stress disorder "or something like panic disorder or generalized anxiety disorder."

Read More
(National Archives / Marine Corps Photo / WO Obie Newcomb, Jr., November 1943)

The DNA of a niece and nephew, who never met their uncle, has helped identify the remains of the Kansas Marine who died in WWII.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced that 21-year-old U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Pfc. Raymond Warren was identified using DNA and circumstantial evidence. Warren had been buried in a cemetery in the Gilbert Islands, where he was killed when U.S. forces tried to take secure one of the islands from the Japanese.

The Battle of Tarawa lasted from Nov. 20 to Nov. 23, 1943, and claimed the lives of 1,021 U.S. marines and sailors, more than 3,000 Japanese soldiers and an estimated 1,000 Korean laborers before the U.S. troops seized control, the agency said.

Read More
(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff. Sgt. Daniel Snider)

Arizona lawmakers are vowing to fight a plan by the Air Force to start retiring some of the nation's fleet of A-10 Thunderbolt II ground-attack jets — a major operation at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base — as part of a plan to drop some older, legacy weapon systems to help pay for new programs.

U.S. Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., a former A-10 pilot, and U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz., both vowed to fight the move to retire 44 of the oldest A-10s starting this year.

During a press briefing last week, Air Force officials unveiled plans to start mothballing several older platforms, including retiring some A-10s even as it refits others with new wings.

Read More

MOSCOW/SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea, whose leader Kim Jong Un was filmed riding through the snow on a white stallion last year, has spent tens of thousands of dollars on 12 purebred horses from Russia, according to Russian customs data.

Accompanied by senior North Korean figures, Kim took two well-publicized rides on the snowy slopes of the sacred Paektu Mountain in October and December.

State media heralded the jaunts as important displays of strength in the face of international pressure and the photos of Kim astride a galloping white steed were seen around the world.

North Korea has a long history of buying pricey horses from Russia and customs data first reported by Seoul-based NK News suggests that North Korea may have bolstered its herd in October.

Read More
Screenshot of a propaganda video featuring former Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - A high-profile local Taliban figure who announced and justified the 2012 attack on teenage Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai has escaped detention, Pakistan's interior minister confirmed a few days after the militant announced his breakout on social media.

Former Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan, who claimed responsibility on behalf of his group for scores of Taliban attacks, proclaimed his escape on Twitter and then in an audio message sent to Pakistani media earlier this month.

The Pakistani military, which had kept Ehsan in detention for three years, has declined to comment but, asked by reporters about the report, Interior Minister Ijaz Shah, said: "That is correct, that is correct."

Shah, a retired brigadier general, added that "you will hear good news" in response to questions about whether there had been progress in hunting down Ehsan.

Read More