The Commandant of the Marine Corps on Tuesday released a powerful video message aimed at those in the Corps who are defending or engaged in the sharing of nude photos of their colleagues that has cast a black mark on the military service.
"Do you really want to be a Marine?" Gen. Robert Neller asked, in a video posted on the Defense Media Site.
The video comes in response to a scandal involving a private Facebook group called Marines United, where many of its nearly 30,000 members were found to be passing around nude photos of female Marines, or photos stolen without consent from their colleagues' Instagram accounts. Comments on the photos often denigrated their service or encouraged sexual assault, as the explosive investigation by The War Horse news revealed.
The Corps came under fire following the report, especially since the problem has been known for years, as an article written about a similar Facebook group showed more than two years ago.
"We are all teammates. Brothers and sisters. Marines," Neller said. "That we are seen by our fellow citizens as men and women of honor and virtue, possessing an unbreakable commitment to each other and to the nation."
Neller, who has to be careful to not exercise unlawful command influence over what is an ongoing investigation, said that "it appears" that some Marines have forgotten some of these truths by acting unprofessionally while online.
"So let me cut to the chase," he said. "When I hear allegations of Marines denigrating their fellow Marines, I don't think such behavior is that of true warriors or warfighters."
The Corps' top general told victims' of the abuse to report it to their units or their chaplains, and further instructed his enlisted and officer leaders to support victims in coming forward.
"There is no time off for Marines. We are all-in 24/7, and if that commitment to your excellence interferes with your 'me time' or if you can't or are unwilling to commit to contributing 100 percent to our corps' warfighting ability by being a good teammate and improving cohesion and trust then I have to ask you, 'do you really want to be a Marine?' Neller said.
Watch the video:
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