A Marine Corps unit tweeted out a warning to its followers on Friday, advising them “don’t be a lone shooter” on Martin Luther King Day weekend, before quickly deleting the unintended reminder of Dr. King’s assassination.
U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command, based out of Camp Lejune in North Carolina, serves as the Corps’ component within the U.S. Special Operations Command. Since 2005, they have been deployed worldwide to “conduct foreign internal defense, special reconnaissance, and direct action.” On social media, the unit tweets out from the account @MARSOCofficial, mostly sending out pictures to boost morale among its followers and issue safety advice. “Walking point this #weekend? Make sure you have backup. Stay safe!” a tweet from January 10th reads.
On Friday, the account sent out a tweet encouraging Marines to always stick with a partner when conducting patrols. In doing so, however, they invoked the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “Don’t be lone shooter #MLK weekend! make sure you’ve got security- stay safe!” the tweet read, including a picture of a single Marine aiming a gun out of an open window:
The MARSOC public affairs office confirmed to ThinkProgress that is the official account of the unit and that a staffer “may have” sent out the tweet in question. “We can pull that,” Gunnery Sgt. Robert Storm, the public affairs officer on duty, told ThinkProgress. The tweet was deleted minutes later. Sgt. Storm was unable to provide more details about the genesis of the tweet, but Capt. Barry Morris later reached out to ThinkProgress to explain the thinking behind the tweet.
“Marine leaders will frequently take the opportunity to remind their personnel to make wise decisions and look out for each other especially before a long holiday weekend,” Morris wrote in an email. “The intent of our recent post was to remind personnel to partner up when going out over the weekend and to look out for each other using military jargon.
“When we were alerted to the potential that this military post could be viewed as insensitive or offensive when combined with the historical facts concerning Martin Luther King Jr., we immediately took it down and apologize for any untended disrespect or misperceptions,” he continued. “Commanders and Marines everywhere are being encouraged this weekend to reflect on Dr. King’s work and the principles he upheld. Martin Luther King day empowers individuals, strengthens communities, bridges barriers and moves everyone closer to realizing Dr. King’s visions — we are proud to remember Dr. King’s life, sacrifices and accomplishments.”
(HT: Jon Rue)
This post has been updated to include comment from Capt. Morris.