A weekend of violent clashes between white nationalists and counter-protesters in Charlotte, Virginia, seems to have surfaced an unsettling military connection. James Fields, the Nazi-obsessed driver of the Dodge Challenger that mowed down bystanders on Aug. 12, washed out of Army basic training after just a few months; on Aug 14., Splinter reported that Dillon Ulysses Hopper, head of the nationalist group Vanguard America, served as a Marine recruiter for several years. Every branch may prohibit such associations, but the Department of Defense has worried about the rise of extremism in its ranks for years.
This may look bad, but fear not: the 82nd Airborne is here to set the record straight on what constitutes a real Army paratrooper — and real American valor.
On Aug 13., former Obama administration official Brandon Friedman posted a photo of a man wearing what appears to be the insignia of the elite Army paratrooper unit on a hat while throwing up the traditional Nazi salute:
When another Twitter user called the 82nd Airborne’s attention to the photo, the PAO behind the account laid down the law:
The message is clear. You can deck yourself out in fatigues and other tacticool gadgets, praise the troops until the cows come home, and even try to serve your country like Fields did — but at the end of the day, real American patriots don’t bear the symbols of fascism proudly but destroy them on sight. And if any would-be white supremacist tries to tell you otherwise, the 82nd Airborne is here to deliver some much-needed wall-to-wall counseling.