Military police are investigating after someone raised the Confederate flag at a US military base in Germany
An unknown individual stole US and German flags from the 2nd Cavalry Regiment headquarters in Germany overnight. A Confederate flag was also found raised on a flagpole at the installation. Military police are currently investigating the unusual incident.
US military police are investigating after someone stole American and German flags and raised the Confederate flag at a military installation in Germany sometime between Sunday night and Monday morning.
"An unknown individual entered the 2d Cavalry Regiment's headquarters building," located at the Rose Barracks in Vilseck, Germany, and stole the flags, unit spokesperson Maj. John Ambelang told Army Times, adding that "the Confederate battle flag was also raised on a flagpole outside of the regimental headquarters."
The Confederate battle flag was "removed immediately" after regiment officials discovered it, Ambelang said.
"This criminal behavior does not align with the Army's values," the spokesperson said, explaining that "it is also a violation of the Department of Defense policy."
In June 2020, then Secretary of Defense Mark Esper issued a memo on what flags may be flown at American military installations.
"Flags are powerful symbols, particularly in the military community for whom flags embody common mission, common histories, and the special, timeless bond of warriors," Esper wrote at the time.
"The flags we fly must accord with the military imperatives of good order and discipline, treating all our people with dignity and respect, and rejecting divisive symbols," he said.
Though the memo did not specifically mention the Confederate flag, the restrictions effectively prohibited the display of the rebel banner from the Civil War, a flag that is widely associated with racism and hate.
The US military is steadily removing the Confederate legacy by not just banning flags but also by pursuing new base names for installations named after Confederate leaders.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff previously condemned the Confederacy before Congress, calling it an "act of treason" and arguing that the US military needed to take a hard look at things like flags, base names, and statues honoring people who "turned their back on their oath."
Army Times noted that the incident in Germany may also violate the US military's extremism policies, which have come under review in the aftermath of the January 6 riot at the US Capitol.
The 2nd Cavalry Regiment had commanders stress the seriousness of the incident at its headquarters to troops, and military police are, according to Stars and Stripes, reviewing video camera footage from the base to try to track down the person responsible.