By Wade Livingston
The Island Packet (Hilton Head Island, S.C.)
Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Robert B. Neller released a video Tuesday in which he condemned those responsible for or with knowledge of the online sharing of nude photos of female Marines.
Neller called the scandal — which played out in Marines United, a Facebook group with 30,000 members — “embarrassing to our Corps, to our families and to the nation.”
He asked potential victims to report information to their commanders, chaplains or victims advocates. And he told his subordinates to support Marines who come forward, and safeguard them from retaliation.
The Naval Criminal Investigative Service is investigating an undisclosed number of Marines revealed to have shared hundreds, possibly thousands, of nude photos of their female counterparts.
In the Facebook group, hundreds of members shared or posted links to photos of naked service members with their full name and rank included, according to Thomas James Brennan, a Purple Heart recipient who served in the Corps and who first reported the story for The War Horse and the Center for Investigative Reporting.
“It’s pretty apparent that male Marines are being very vocal in support of their female colleagues,” said Lt. Danielle Phillips of the Office of Marine Corps Communication. She added that several fellow Marines had reached out to check on her.
It’s unclear if any personnel at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort or Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island have been affected by the scandal. Phillips said the Corps is trying to respect potential victims’ privacy and ensure their safety in the wake of the scandal.
“NCIS is investigating those who are posting explicit photos without the permission of the person in the photos, which is potentially a felony,” Naval Criminal Investigative Service spokesperson Ed Buice said Monday. “Beyond that, NCIS does not discuss the details of ongoing investigations.”
Neller called the photo-sharing “selfish” and “unprofessional.”
“(I) don’t think such behavior is that of true warriors or of true warfighters,” he said.
Neller implored Marines to do their jobs and reminded them that they are “all in” everyday.
“(If) that commitment to your excellence interferes with your ‘me time’ ... then I have to ask you, Do you really want to be a Marine?”
©2017 The Island Packet (Hilton Head, S.C.)