Two men have been booted out of the Army National Guard after an anti-fascist organization revealed their alleged membership in a religious group that has ties with white supremacy, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on Thursday.
Brandon Trent East and Dalton Woodward were identified by a group known as the Atlanta Antifacists when published a report on their ties to a Norse pagan group, Ravensblood Kindred. The group is part of the Astru Folk Assembly, which has reportedly endorsed white supremacy.
The Army National Guard investigated the group's allegations against East and Woodward, ultimately kicking them out earlier this month. East told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the Alabama National Guard sent him a separation notice on Dec. 14. Woodward's terms of separation, who was serving in Afghanistan at the time the report was published, were not revealed. Woodward's unit returned from deployment in June.
East will have 45 days to contest the investigation's findings, a spokesman for the Alabama National Guard told the Associated Press. The army recommended a general discharge for East, a step down from the traditional honorable discharge.
East told the news outlet that he joined the group looking for an alternative way to express his spirituality and worship the way his ancestors did centuries ago.
“The whole race thing started with me finding Asatru or Odinism or whatever you want to call it and seeing that as a better option than Christianity as a spirituality," he said.
Both men reportedly attended a 2017 speech by the avowed white nationalist Richard Spencer at Auburn University with photos showing East carrying a sign that read: "The existence of our people is not negotiable," with Woodward's sign reading: "We have a right to exist."
“I just went there because at the time I heard he was talking about the recent removal of Confederate monuments. That’s something I wanted to hear," East said. “And it turned into a something a little worse obviously.”
Both signs reflect the so-called "14 words," a popular motto among white supremacists who claim nonwhite groups are replacing white people.
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