Sniper Sniper Sniper Flag

SAN DIEGO — The Marine Corps ss flag some damage control Thursday after a photograph appeared on an Internet blog showing one of its sniper teams in Afghanistan posing in front of a flag featuring a logo resembling that of the Nazi SS. The Marines will not face discipline, because investigators determined they believed the symbol was meant to represent sniper scouts and not the racist group that murdered millions of Jews, gypsies and other people in World War II.

The SS (Schutzstaffel), or “Security Service,” was a police and military force of the Nazi Party that operated separately from the general army and pledged an oath of loyalty to Hitler. Headed by Heinrich Himmler, it grew from a small unit tasked with protecting Hitler to an army of more than 52,000 by the time Germany seized power in 1933. Himmler used the SS to establish a police state, screening applicants for physical perfection and racial purity and imposing a four-year mandatory term of service. SS members included secret police agents, military troops, and guards at concentration camps and other detention centers.

Decoding the Symbolism: The SS Flag and Its Historical Significance

In 1934, the SS branched into two subdivisions: the Allgemeine-SS, which maintained the Nazi state, and the Waffen-SS, which fought in battles. Both were named for the letter “S” in their logo, which was based on the sowilo rune, a pre-Roman symbol that resembles a lightning bolt. It was used in both divisions of the SS because it emphasized speed and accuracy.