Confederate Flag Raised at U.S. Army Base in Germany by 'Unknown Individual'

Military police are investigating after a Confederate flag was found raised outside of a U.S. Army Base in Germany on Monday.

The flag was found flying outside of 2nd Cavalry Regiment headquarters at Rose Barracks in Vilseck, Germany, and was removed upon discovery, officials told Military.com.

The unknown individual also entered the headquarters building between Sunday night and Monday morning and stole an American and a German flag, regiment spokesman Maj. John Ambelang said. In the morning, the battle flag was also found on a flag pole.

"The regiment takes this misconduct very seriously," Ambelang said in a statement. "Should the culprit be identified, the command will take appropriate action after considering all the facts surrounding the incident."

He continued that commanders engaged their soldiers at a morning formation to discuss the seriousness of the incident. There are around 4,800 soldiers living at Rose Barracks.

The incident comes more than one year after former Defense Secretary Mark Esper effectively banned displays of symbols that do not "promote unity and espirt de corps." While the ban did not specifically name the Confederate flag, it is considered prohibited.

"Flags are powerful symbols, particularly in the military community for whom flags embody common mission, common histories, and the special, timeless bond of warriors," Esper wrote at the time.

In February, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin issued a memo tasking supervisors to spend one day leading discussions and training focused on addressing extremism in the ranks.

Confederate flag supporters demonstrate on the nor
Military police are investigating after a Confederate flag was found raised outside of a U.S. Army Base in Germany on Monday. Pictured are Confederate flag supporters demonstrating on the north steps of the capitol building 06 April 2000 in Columbia, SC. ERIK PEREL/Getty Images

Austin previously said that although there's a small number of service members who follow extreme ideologies, the number is "not as small as anyone would like."

A Quinnipiac University poll released a few months later in June found that the majority of Americans, around 52 percent, were in favor of removing Confederate statues from public spaces—up 13 percent from a similar poll from three years ago.

While Nazi imagery is banned in Germany, the Confederate flag is sometimes used as a symbol of the country's far-right movement as well as throughout Europe.

If identified, the individual who raised the Confederate flag may face criminal charges and may have violated the military's extremism policies.

"This criminal behavior does not align with the Army's values," Ambelang said. He did not return Newsweek's request for comment by the time of publication.

He added that the regiment is working with military police to review camera footage of the base.

Officials also have asked anyone with information on the incident to contact the Department of Emergency Services on Rose Barracks at +49 966-283-3397.