F-18 squadron again drops ‘Crusaders’ moniker

The Beaufort GazetteJune 3, 2012 

— A controversial decision by local commanders to again refer to a Beaufort F-18 squadron as the “Crusaders” has been reversed by a three-star general, according to Marine Corps officials.

Lt. Gen. Terry Robling, deputy commandant for aviation, issued an order April 30 that Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 122 discontinue use of the Crusaders moniker and a logo that featured a red cross on a white shield. The squadron will retain its identity as the “Werewolves,” said Lt. Col. Joseph Plenzler, a Corps spokesman.

Robling’s order came about a month after the unit’s commanding officer, Lt. Col. Wade Wiegel, announced during a 70th anniversary party that the unit again would be known as the Crusaders, a nickname used by the unit from 1959 to January 2008.

In 2008, it was changed back to its World War II-era nickname, the Werewolves, before a combat deployment to Iraq later that year. The name change was partly because unit commanders thought the Crusaders nickname would not be well-received by Iraqis and others.

Wiegel’s decision to return to the Crusaders name drew the scorn of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, an Albuquerque, N.M., group that demanded the squadron stop using the name, which the group claimed illegally blurred the lines between church and state. The group also alleged the nickname would images of Christian conquests during the Middle Ages.

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