FILE PHOTO: Navy Adm. Michael Gilday, chief of naval operations, arrives to testify to the Senate Armed Services Committee about military housing on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., December 3, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States Navy is working to ban the Confederate battle flag from all public spaces on Navy installations, ships and aircraft, the Navy said on Tuesday, as the military and the country as a whole grapple with questions about racial inequality.
The announcement comes as there have been waves of protests across the United States and other countries over the past two weeks sparked by the May 25 death of George Floyd, a black man killed while in Minneapolis police custody.
In a statement, the Navy said Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Mike Gilday had directed his staff to begin crafting an order that would prohibit the flag “from all public spaces and work areas aboard Navy installations, ships, aircraft and submarines.”
“The order is meant to ensure unit cohesion, preserve good order and discipline, and uphold the Navy’s core values of honor, courage and commitment,” the statement added.
The move follows the Marine Corps ordering the removal of the Confederate flag from all its installations, including prohibiting depicting the flag on mugs and car bumpers.
The military has been doing a mixture of damage control and soul-searching on race amid the protests, as Republican President Donald Trump sent in the National Guard to control demonstrations and threatened to deploy active-duty troops.
In response, service chiefs have issued poignant statements on race relations.
Reporting by Idrees Ali; Editing by Chris Reese