A special operations combat medic course has changed its unofficial logo after realizing it looked strikingly similar to the symbol for a militia group, said Janice Burton, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School in North Carolina.
Matt Cox of Military.com first reported that the Trauma 3 course had nixed its original unit logo, which showed the Roman numeral III surrounded by thirteen stars, after a student taking the course in August recognized that the Three Percenters, a right-wing extremist group, uses the same symbol. (The feature photo, included at the top of the story, shows the original design on a morale shirt for the Trauma 3 Special Operations Combat Medic Course on the left, next to an image of the Three Percenter logo, on the right.)
The Three Percenters began as a militia group engaged in anti-government activities, but more recently it has also opposed left-wing activists, according to the Anti-Defamation League. According to the FBI, the group advocates overthrow of the government, and several of its members have faced domestic terrorism charges in recent years.
Burton explained that no one in Trauma 3 knew who the Three Percenters were when the unit adopted the symbol as its logo in 2016 – eight years after the Three Percenters militia movement began.
“The unit made an unofficial logo by Googling for a picture of the Roman numeral III, and one of the photos that popped had a roman numeral III and 13 stars,” Burton said in an email. “As there were 13 cadre members, they used it.”
When a student taking the course let the cadre know that the unit logo looked like the Three Percenters symbol, the course immediately changed its logo, Burton said. She also stressed that the Roman numeral III along with the thirteen stars were never part of an officially approved logo or crest. Instead, the former logo was used on the unit’s unofficial T-shirts, which are called morale shirts.
As a result of the Trauma 3 logo incident, students at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School can no longer wear any unofficial shirts while on duty, Burton said.
“Because those shirts don’t come through the command for approval – We don’t have oversight on them, the best answer is that everyone wears their official uniform while on duty,” Burton said.
Feature image: A photo composite showing an older logo for a morale shirt for Trauma 3 Special Operations Combat Medic Course on the left, alongside an image of the Three Percenter militia group’s logo, on the right. (Task & Purpose photo composite.)