A Marine and alleged neo-Nazi who allegedly participated in and the deadly “Unite the Right” rally last year in Charlottesville, Virginia, was found guilty at a summary-court martial on Monday and is likely to get booted from the Corps.
Lance Cpl. Vasillios Pistolis’ sentencing produced some confusion after Task & Purpose reported Monday the Marine was sentenced to 28 days of confinement, reduction in rank to private, and forfeiture of two-thirds pay for one month.
Emily Gorcenski, an activist who confronted white supremacists at the Charlottesville rally, tweeted that the Corps had just let a neo-Nazi stay in the Marines.
But that is not entirely accurate.
Pistolis has about a week to file for leniency before the convening authority in his case initiates any action. That means no final decision has been made regarding separation.
If precedence has bearing in this case, Pistolis is likely to be separated.
Two Marines, Sgt. Michael J. Chesny and Staff Sgt. Joseph W. Manning, were both separated from the Corps in April and December, respectively, for ties to white supremacist groups.
“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 about Chesny and Manning’s separation.
Gorcenski helped expose Chesny’s white supremacist ties and others associated with the “Unite the Right” rally.
Gorcenski told Marine Corps Times that she is sure there is more to Pistolis’ story and that it is not over yet.
ProPublica reported Pistolis’ ties to a neo-Nazi organization known as Atomwaffen Division and his actions during the Charlottesville rally.
According to the Anti-Defamation League, Atomwaffen Division is a neo-Nazi organization “whose members are preparing for a race war to combat what they consider the cultural and racial displacement of the white race.”
Alarmed by the revelation that members of the military were caught participating in Atomwaffen Division, Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., sent a letter in early May to Defense Secretary James requesting information on investigations into white supremacist activities within the military.
Pistolis is assigned to Combat Logistics Battalion 8, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, based out of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
Shawn Snow is the senior reporter for Marine Corps Times and a Marine Corps veteran.