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“Were-Saders” (Crusaders) VMFA-122 Marine Corps Inspired T-Shirt

History of the Design

Kari Huus of reported on the squadron,

A Marine fighter squadron challenged on its use of the “Crusaders” name and cross-and-shield symbolism as its insignia has been ordered to reverse the decision, and to return to identifying itself as “Werewolves,” the Marine Corps said on Thursday.

The news came a month after the nonprofit Military Religious Freedom Foundation blasted the use of the Crusaders name and logo — citing constitutional and practical objections — on behalf of dozens of soldiers, including Marines in the affected squadron, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 122.

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which advocates complete separation of church and state, welcomed the policy change.

“This is a great victory. Lady liberty is smiling today,” said Mikey Weinstein, president and founder of foundation. “We commend the Marine Corps,” he said, but added: “The Marines Corps does not get a gold star for doing the right thing because they shouldn’t have done the wrong thing in the first place.”

The squadron, based in Beaufort, S.C., used the Crusaders symbol from 1958 to 2008, when Lt. Col. William Lieblein pointed out that imagery invoking the Christian conquest and colonization of Muslim nations during the Middle Ages was counterproductive to the U.S. presence across the Arab and Islamic world.

“The notion of being a crusader in that part of the world doesn’t float,” he said, ordering the change to “Werewolves,” as reported by the Beaufort Gazette at the time.

As of May 18, legal counsel for Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos continued to defend the use of the Crusaders name and symbolism in a teleconference with a lawyer for the foundation.

The military attorney questioned whether the cross was a religious symbol and argued that the crusades were really military, not religious in nature, according to an account of the meeting verified by Caroline Mitchell, a lawyer from the firm Jones Day, which is representing the foundation.

In a letter to Navy Secretary Ray Mabus and Amos on Wednesday, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation threatened legal action to force a change in the squadron name. It also submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for all communication and documentation related to the return of the squadron’s name from Werewolves to Crusaders.

But Plenzler said Thursday that a decision made weeks ago by Deputy Commandant of Aviation Lt. Gen. Terry Robling had overruled the squadron commander who reinstated the Crusaders logo. “I can only tell you that there is not an aircraft with anything but a Werewolf within that squadron,” he said.

“We still demand that those who made the decision … be fully and aggressively prosecuted so this never happens again,” said Weinstein. “And we want a full accounting of how much money it cost taxpayers to change the name from Werewolves to Crusaders and back to Werewolves.” (Huus, 2012)

As a long time Crusader with no religious affiliations what so-ever, I decided to put a knightly presence to the werewolf mascot. This is a tribute to the squadron mascot “Mach Altus”, who is a little armored knight that has traveled the world over with the brave men and women that make up this unit. I have often depicted him on cruise book covers and t-shirts. This merging of the old with the new was a big hit with some of my old squadron mates so I came up with the t-shirt design.


This entry was posted on Tuesday, December 11th, 2012 at 8:23 am and is filed under t-shirts. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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