[image-1]

In a memo that surfaced last Wednesday, Marine Corp Commandant Gen. David Berger ordered all Marine installations to get rid of symbols of the Confederate States of America, military news outlet Military.com first reported.

Berger’s memo also included a list of more progressive initiatives designed to make the military branch more open and inclusive.

Among the reported provisions are orders to find ways to move more women into combat jobs, review the possibility of year-long maternity leave for women, and extend parental leave policies to same-sex partners.

Contemporary debate over Confederate symbols resurfaced in 2015 when a racist mass-murderer killed nine worshippers at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, hoping to start a race war. Photos that the killer took of himself with the flag before the racially motivated killings has prompted questions surrounding what to do with the names, monuments, and symbols that could glorify racism and oppression.

The Emanuel killings prompted South Carolina lawmakers to overwhelmingly vote to remove the Confederate flag that flew outside the state capitol just weeks later.

The Marine Corps has taken steps since that time to be more sensitive to the Civil War flag’s connection to white supremacy. In 2016, the Corps refused to allow an 18-year-old Arkansas man with a tattoo of the Confederate flag to enlist, according to the Marine Corps Times.

Several Marines have also been investigated in the past few years for alleged links to white supremacist groups, and one was booted from the Corps after involvement in the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville.

One of the Marine Corps’ two training bases sits 80 miles south of Charleston at Parris Island. The other is in San Diego, Calif.