Marine Lance Corporal Will Be Kicked Out Over Racist Social Media Posts

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Pvt. Mason Mead, then a student in an Assaultman Course with Infantry Training Battalion, School of Infantry East, measures buffer material for a grape charge at ETA-7 demolition training range on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., on Jan. 11, 2018. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Ursula V. Smith)
Pvt. Mason Mead, then a student in an Assaultman Course with Infantry Training Battalion, School of Infantry East, measures buffer material for a grape charge at ETA-7 demolition training range on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., on Jan. 11, 2018. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Ursula V. Smith)

A Hawaii-based lance corporal who shared a slew of racist social media posts -- including one of himself in blackface -- will be separated from the Marine Corps with an other-than-honorable discharge.

Lance Cpl. Mason Mead, an infantry assault Marine with 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines, admitted guilt May 7 to advocating supremacist ideology, said Lt. Col. Kelly Frushour, a spokeswoman for III Marine Expeditionary Force. Mead will be discharged as soon as he completes his final administrative and medical requirements, she said.

"The Marine Corps takes every instance of misconduct seriously, whether on duty, off duty, or online," Frushour added. "Any form of racism or discrimination undermines the core values of the Marine Corps and is not tolerated."

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The Naval Criminal Investigative Unit launched an investigation into Mead's social media posts earlier this year after screen shots emerged that showed he had shared a photo of a swastika, a quote from a Nazi collaborator, and an image of himself in blackface. He did so using the now-deleted Twitter handle @Jacobite_Edward.

Some of Mead's other posts encouraged violence against women and feminists.

Mead, who's from Alabama, joined the Marine Corps in 2017, according to his service records. His unit has spent the last six months in Okinawa, Japan, as part of the Unit Deployment Program. That has been his only deployment.

He's at least the fourth Marine to be investigated this calendar year for inappropriate social media posts.

In February, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing launched an investigation after a Snapchat video showed two Marines wearing black face masks and making disparaging racial remarks. First Lt. Fredrick Walker, a 3rd MAW spokesman, declined to comment on that case.

"[The command] will continue to allow the military justice process to work," he said.

In April, 4th Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company launched a similar investigation after Pfc. Anthony Schroader, a reservist, allegedly sent a photo of Marines putting their boots in the shape of a swastika to Max Uriarte, the creator of the popular "Terminal Lance" comic. Uriarte is Jewish.

Officials with Marine Corps Forces Reserve did not immediately respond to questions about the status of that case. A spokesman there told Task & Purpose in April that there is "no place for racial hatred or extremism in the Marine Corps."

Three other Marines have been discharged in recent years over their participation in white supremacist behavior.

Lance Cpl. Vasillios Pistolis was kicked out after bragging about his involvement in the deadly 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. And Staff Sgt. Joseph Manning and Sgt. Michael Chesny were discharged following their arrest for hanging a banner with a white supremacy message on a building during a 2017 pro-confederate rally.

-- Gina Harkins can be reached at gina.harkins@military.com. Follow her on Twitter @ginaaharkins.

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