In May 2017 during a Confederate rally, Sgt. Michael J. Chesny, an explosive ordnance disposal Marine, and fellow Marine Staff Sgt. Joseph W. Manning were arrested and charged with trespassing after the two climbed a building in Graham, North Carolina, and hung a banner displaying a slogan that has been used by white supremacist groups.
It was recently exposed that Chesny allegedly operated under the alias ‘Tyrone’ in an online chat forum where he posted more than a thousand messages, including one that questioned the legality of running over protesters blocking the roads, just weeks before last year’s deadly Charlottesville, Virginia, protest, Al Jazeera reported Tuesday.
“The guidance to Marines is clear: participation in supremacist or extremist organizations or activities is a violation of Department of Defense and Marine Corps orders and will lead to mandatory processing for separation following the first substantiated incident of misconduct which is what occurred with these former Marines,” Nat Fahy, a spokesman with Marine Corps Installations East, told Marine Corps Times in a statement Wednesday.
Manning, a combat engineer and instructor at the Corps’ engineer school aboard Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, was separated from the Corps in December, according to Marine officials.
“Association or participation with hate or extremist groups of any kind is directly contradictory to the core values of honor, courage, and commitment that we stand for as Marines and isn’t tolerated by the Marine Corps,” Fahy said.
“The acts of bigotry and racial extremism that were committed by these two individuals run contrary to our core values and are what ultimately led to their separation from the Marine Corps.”
Both Chesny and Manning had served on multiple deployments overseas, according to releasable information from their service record books.
Chesny had deployed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and Afghanistan. During these deployments he served as an infantryman, not an EOD tech.
Manning served three tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan where he earned three combat action ribbons.
Chesny had three good conduct medals and Manning had four. Good conduct medals are relatively common in the military, and are awarded to enlisted service members who perform three consecutive years without getting into trouble.
Shawn Snow is the senior reporter for Marine Corps Times and a Marine Corps veteran.