August 18, 2022

Spotter Up

In Depth Tactical Solutions

USMC Scout/Snipers, Lightning Bolts and Nazi Symbols, Part 2

4 min read

One day “H” and then Sergeant Nathan Hunt (my replacement instructor) began to toy with ideas and drawings of an alternate symbol to the already controversial Nazi SS lightning bolts circulating throughout the Marine Corps Sniper community.  Nate had just gone through the Scout/Sniper Advance Course in Quantico and was handpicked by us to be my replacement from 2/2 STA platoon at Camp Lejeune.

Nate was a strong and well-respected HOG and unbeknownst to me would go on to stay in the Marine Corps and is currently ready to become a Master Gunnery Sergeant; he remains a good friend to this day.  He’s been instrumental throughout his career in helping the community and continues to do so he has probably done more for the Marine Scout/Sniper community during the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) than most in the Corps.

Nate, along with “H” began drawing an SS intertwined within itself and an arrow behind it, which derived from the Marine Scout/Sniper position we’d use to mark on a map overlay when briefing higher-ups.  It was a mark all Snipers knew and what it stood for, it showed the position where the snipers were and which way they were facing by way of the “S” with an arrow going through the center of it.  What came out of it was a symbol that finally got rid of the SS lightning bolt and “Nazi symbol Marine Scout/Snipers were associated with.” It was a complete one-eighty of the first symbol and rightfully so.

First SS hand drawn logo (Photo courtesy of M/Sgt Nathan Hunt)


This symbol came to fruition in a cube at Scout/Sniper Instructor School Quantico, Virginia; in the spring of 2001.  Actually the first Marine who got that tattoo was a Marine Sergeant that attended the same Scout/Sniper Advance course that Sgt Hunt did, he sent us a picture of it back in the spring of 2001 from Camp Lejeune.

Fast-forward 16 years later, and the logo is still around, and has been, since its informal inception.  Many HOG’s don’t know its history or lineage, but it was trademarked and copyrighted by Master Sergeant Hunt several years ago.

Why was it trademarked and copyrighted?  Good thing you ask.  Remember the disdain I saw the higher command had for what they were seeing in the fleet Scout/Sniper platoons via the SS tattoo?  Well it just so happens we (the entire School house) were approached by Marine Corps Systems Command to develop a new radical uniform on direct orders from the Marine Commandant.

What came of it was the Marine MarPat with slanted pockets (something Marine Scout/Snipers put on their Ghillie suits because it made getting stuff out easier when we were stalking) along with the colors that “H” personally briefed the Commandant and Officer In Charge of the program on and how we picked them and why.  The Marine Corps ran with our proposal and color choices.

3/6 Scout/Sniper Platoon with SS logo


During that process the Marine Corps utilized NATIK (a civilian component that worked with us in the R&D), however, it knew this was an Army component and would probably copy the new and radical MARPAT idea, so it copyrighted the pattern and colors by printing a small Eagle, Globe and Anchor every ten inches on the fabric roll.

Sure enough, what happened after the Marine Corps announced the new Marine Pattern?  You guessed it! It taught me a valuable lesson about protecting what’s yours and something you thought of or created, other wise known as Intellectual Property or IP.

Master Sergeant Hunt along with Gunny “H” (retired) sat around drawing something for our community to have and to get away from a symbol with a stigma attached to it.  Here we are in 2016 and it’s still going strong, although now that symbol is owned copyrighted and Trademarked by Master Sergeant Hunt.  His quiet professionalism over the years has ensured that the logo will forever be ours, after all many view us as a bunch of damn cowboys, and this way some millennial or Xbox “sniper” couldn’t lay claim to something that never was intended for anyone but us.

Semper Fi

Author holding USMC Scout/Sniper Chuck Mawhinney’s Sniper rifle used in Vietnam and attributed with 103 confirmed kills (Photo courtesy of Alex Popovic)


Pictures attached:
  1. Navy Seal Bone Frog Tattoo Class 265 (Photo courtesy of
  2. Marine Scout Sniper Platoon with SS logo (Photo courtesy of small wars journal)
  3. First SS hand drawn logo (Photo courtesy of M/Sgt Nathan Hunt)
  4. Tom Berenger Sniper 2 movie with first unofficial SS logo hat (USMC snipers were technical advisors on the movie)
  5. 3/6 Scout/Sniper Platoon with SS logo (Photo courtesy of snipers
  6. Author holding USMC Scout/Sniper Chuck Mawhinney’s Sniper rifle used in Vietnam and attributed with 103 confirmed kills (Photo courtesy of Alex Popovic)

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