He was arrested after he helped unfurl a white nationalist banner and pleaded guilty to trespassing, but Sgt. Michael Chesny could still make staff sergeant.
Chesny, an explosive ordnance technician, was selected to be promoted by a staff sergeant promotion board that met on July 12, said Mike Barton, a spokesman for Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina, where Chesny is stationed.
“Selectees are assigned a seniority number, which is used to rank them in order for promotion over the coming year,” Barton told Marine Corps Times.
The North Carolina-based Marines were arrested in May at a pro-Confederate rally. One remains in the Corps, the other may soon be separated.
Although the results of the promotion board were announced on Sept. 7, Chesny has remained a sergeant, Barton said.
“Sgt. Chesny’s promotion was put on temporary hold by his command pending successful resolution of his civil adjudication, including payment of any fines imposed by his sentence,” Barton said. “Barring other, unforeseen issues, he could be promoted to staff sergeant as soon as practical after he has settled with the court.”
Chesny and fellow Marine Staff Sgt. Joseph Manning were arrested on May 20 after they climbed a building in Graham, North Carolina, and unfurled a banner with the letters “YWNRU,” which reportedly stands for “You will not replace us,” a slogan used by a white nationalist group.
Both men pleaded guilty to trespassing on Tuesday and were sentenced to pay fines and court fees. Chesny’s attorney declined to comment on Thursday.
Once Chesny settles all matters connected to his arrest, including paying any fines, his command will decide whether to promote him, Barton said.
“I won’t speculate on when that might be,” Barton said. “He is currently eligible, pending the command’s decision to terminate the hold.”
Chesny joined the Marine Corps in November 2007 and has since deployed to Afghanistan once and made two other deployments with Marine expeditionary units, Barton said in May. He made sergeant in May 2013 he has served twice at Camp Pendleton in California; the Marine Corps Security Force Regiment in Norfolk, Virginia; Eglin Air Force Base, Florida; and Cherry Point.
His military awards include three Marine Corps Good Conduct Medals and the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, NATO Medal-ISAF Afghanistan.