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It looks like Dodge Hellonen won’t be dodging accountability after a judge sentenced the active-duty Marine to probation and 279 hours of community service–one hour for every Marine killed or wounded during the American Civil War.
Hellonen is one of three Marines known to have stormed the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021 in an attempt to violently overthrow the government and place Donald Trump back in power.
U.S. District Judge Ana Reyes said she couldn’t understand why Hellonen violated his oath to protect the constitution “against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” the Guardian reported on Tuesday.
Hellonen, 24, is just the first of three Marines who face sentencing for their roles in placing their personal ideologies above the peaceful transfer of power.
“I take full responsibility for my actions and I’ll carry this with me for the rest of my life,” Hellonen told the judge.
Extremism in the U.S. military
Notably, the sentencing of the active-duty marine highlights the struggle U.S. military officials are having as they try to weed out extremist groups from their ranks.
Shortly after Biden took office, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, the first Black man to serve in the role, ordered a one-day stand down of the military in order to discuss extremism and implement reforms.
“We owe it to the oath we each took and the trust the American people have in our institution,” his memo stated.
Meanwhile, a USA Today investigation July of 2023 found many of the reforms Sec. Austin sought to introduce either haven’t happened or haven’t produced results.
Ultimately, Republicans have been largely resistant to criticizing the ideologies of service members.
Alabama Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville has been the loudest voice of opposition. Earlier this year he refused to say white supremacists are racist in interviews with media. He finally relented in July and admitted that they are indeed racist by definition.
Yet, he’s still holding up dozens of new military appointments because of the Pentagon’s policy on abortions.
While Republicans and the FBI have launched investigations into Black Identity Extremists in an effort to go after nonviolent Black Lives Matter Protesters, they seem much less enthusiastic about eliminating white domestic extremists from the military.
In total, more than 600 people have been sentenced for federal crimes related to the Jan. 6 insurrection. Over 100 of them have served in the U.S. military, an Associated Press review of court records found.