A marine administrative message (MARADMIN) outlined the ban which would even prohibit wearing marines T-shirts or drinking coffee from mugs that feature the flag on installations in the U.S. and abroad.
Marine commanders will have to find and get rid of any displays of the flag within work spaces and public areas on their installations and “must exercise best judgement and discretion” when conducting inspections.
No other military branch has announced such a policy, which comes as the U.S. Army faced criticism for not renaming bases named for Confederate leaders, Military.com reported.
“The Confederate battle flag has all too often been co-opted by violent extremists and racist groups whose divisive beliefs have no place in our Corps,” the marine statement said. “This presents a threat to our core values, unit cohesion, security, and good order and discipline. This must be addressed.”
The guidance defines the flag as the ensign “carried by Confederate armies during the Civil War, most notably by the army of northern Virginia, but also was carried by other Confederate states’ armies.”
In February, after issuing a directive to start the removal of Confederate materials from Marine Corps installations, Commandant Gen. David Berger told Military.com that “things that divide us are not good… When on government property, we have to think as a unit and how to build a team, a cohesive team.”
The order comes as nationwide protests sparked by Floyd’s death, some of which have turned violent, have prompted some mayors and governors to remove Confederate statues and displays from public areas, amid a racially-charged debate over police brutality.
On Thursday, it was announced that Confederate monuments would be removed from Indianapolis and Richmond, Virginia. There had been earlier removals in Alexandria, Virginia, and Birmingham, Alabama.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said that the statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee in Richmond, the capital of the Confederacy, would be removed.
“The legacy of racism continues, not just in isolated incidents. The legacy of racism also continues as part of a system that touches every person and every aspect of our lives,” he said, according to ABC News.
The Rev. Robert Wright Lee, a descendent of Robert E. Lee, backed the monument’s removal, telling reporters: “There are more important things to address than just a statue, but this statue is a symbol of oppression.”