Coast Guard Commandant Karl Schultz announced the banning of Confederate flag imagery in a move akin to earlier prohibitions by the Navy and Marine Corps and, more recently, the Department of Defense.
“While the Confederate battle flag may be symbolic of different beliefs, it divides Americans and threatens our black shipmates,” he said in a July 17 statement. “There is no benefit from a display of divisive symbols in our disaggregated and geographically widely dispersed workforce, and I have determined that the Confederate battle flag is uniquely divisive,” he added.
The decision comes after the Secretary of Defense announced on July 17 that Confederate flags would no longer be permitted at military bases and other installations within the jurisdiction of the Department of Defense (DoD).
Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said in a memo issued to members of the military on Friday that the Confederate flag was not among the flags allowed to be flown.
“We must always remain focused on what unifies us, our sworn oath to the Constitution and our shared duty to defend the nation,” Esper wrote. “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.”
“In our military environment, such division clearly endangers loyalty, discipline, and morale; undermines unit cohesion and mission effectiveness; and marginalizes segments of our workforce,” Schultz said, explaining the decision.
Schultz said that, effective immediately, displays or depictions of the Confederate flag are prohibited in all Coast Guard workplaces and operating facilities, as well as related public and common access areas. The ban extends to barracks, automobile bumper stickers, as well as clothing and other apparel.
Exceptions to the ban include state flags or state-issued license plates. Prohibited display of the Confederate flag also does not include private spaces, such as inside family housing.
“It also does not apply to displays or depictions where the flag is only an incidental or minor component, such as in works of art, or in educational, or historical displays,” Schultz said.
Schultz earlier resisted banning the Confederate flag, although he _