Each year, companies and allies alike take to social media on June 1 to express support for LGBTQIA+ persons with rainbow displays for Pride Month. This year, the U.S. Marine Corps joined them with a post of a helmet sporting a row of multi-colored 5.56 mm NATO rounds and a message for queer troops.
“During the month of June, the Marine Corps takes #Pride in recognizing and honoring the contributions of our LGBTQ service members,” the post reads. “We remain committed to fostering an environment free from discrimination, and defend the values of treating all equally, with dignity and respect.”
Unfortunately, the graphic and message did not seem to resonate for many commenters on Twitter and Instagram.
“Quit being woke,” wrote user @LandonWall87.
Another called out the Corps for getting involved in identity politics.
“All Marines are green,” wrote user @Jonathan.Mawby. “No colors. No preferences. No special treatment or celebration of any sub-group or category. Just Marines. Leave it at that. Keep social experiments, trendy buzz words, and politics out of it!”
On Twitter, former Fox News producer Kyle Becker wrote, “The culture wars are not one the Marines were formed to fight. You represent all Americans & not just Woke socialists weaponizing sexual orientation to attack traditional nuclear family & Christian values. Tolerate, yes. Champion a side in a cultural debate? Not your mission.”
Some, however, took to the comments to defend LGBTQIA+ service members and praised the Marine Corps for supporting Pride Month.
“Why is it the majority of people bitching are the ones who never served?” wrote user @hey_its_baloo. “Good leaders understand that representation matters. The LGBTQ+ community has served in every war and engagement since the beginning of this country.”
Another, completely unrelated initial impression, however, was that the image missed the mark, but in a more comical way.
Scores of commenters noted that the helmet looked like it was holstering a row of crayons — a famous stereotype snack for Marines, who are often classified as crayon-eaters for their perceived lack of intelligence.
A few other users also pointed out that the helmet graphic looks eerily similar to the promotional materials for Stanley Kubrick’s “Full Metal Jacket” (1987). The image on the posters features the same helmet-ammo design, but is marked with the words “Born to Kill.”
Military Times reached out to the Marine Corps, which did not wish to comment on the record about the graphic, its conception, or responses to the posts on social media.
According to Maj. Jim Stenger, a Marine Corps spokesman, the graphic was generated out of Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps.
Sarah Sicard is a Senior Editor with Military Times. She previously served as the Digitial Editor of Military Times and the Army Times Editor. Other work can be found at National Defense Magazine, Task & Purpose, and Defense News.