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U.S. Marine Corps Investigation Neo Nazi Within

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The Marine Corps is investigating a deployed machine-gunner with possible neo-Nazi sympathies who told a Jewish journalist earlier this week on Instagram that her religion is “that of satan.”

Talia Lavin, who published a book last week on how white supremacists organize online, said that Marine Lance Cpl. Joseph Mercurio “randomly commented” on her Instagram profile with the antisemitic remark. Then she clicked over to his account and found in his bio below “USMC 0331” a quote from a prominent white nationalist leader and lyrics from a Neo-Nazi punk rock band.

Additionally, Mercurio’s username included “88,” which is commonly used in neo-Nazi circles as shorthand for “HH,” or “Heil Hitler.” Mercurio, 20, an infantryman with 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, removed the numbers from his username and the quotes soon after Lavin posted the screenshots.

By Wednesday, Mercurio’s bio said only “USMC 0331.” But a review of Mercurio’s Facebook profile by Task & Purpose found an antisemitic cartoon traced back to The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website.

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A native of Pennsylvania, Mercurio graduated from Marine recruit training in Sept. 2019. He has been with 2/4 since Nov. 2019.

“I can confirm that the command is investigating,” said Capt. Joe Butterfield, a Marine spokesman. “Further information is limited because the investigation is ongoing.”

“We are serious about holding ourselves accountable,” Butterfield said. “We have spoken clearly on the Marine Corps’ position on racial hatred, extremism, and behavior incongruent with our core values: it will be investigated immediately, and if substantiated, the individual(s) will be held appropriately accountable.”

The outing of a suspected Nazi sympathizer in the ranks comes weeks after another Twitter user posted a video on Oct. 8 of Marine Pfc. Jarrett Morford, 20, in which he threatened to kill Chinese people after he finished training and got to his unit. More than two dozen Marines have been investigated over extremist or racist ties since 2017, including at least one officer.