A 19-year-old marine with Charlotte roots was kicked out of service in July, nearly a year after he allegedly participated in last August’s deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Vasillios “Billy” Pistolis was removed from the Marines on July 11, the Jacksonville Daily News reported last week.
According to multiple media reports, an investigation was opened into Pistolis’ conduct after a news article said he participated in the violent rally in Charlottesville on Aug. 12, 2017.
Pistolis’ alleged involvement with the group Atomwaffen Division was documented in the story. In the report, he is alleged to have committed violence at the rally, including assaulting a transgender woman.
His removal from the Marines came after he was convicted at a court martial in June of disobeying orders and making false statements, ProPublica reported. He was sentenced to a month of confinement at the brig, according to The Daily News.
“The Marine Corps’ stance on membership in extremist or hate groups remains the same: There is no place for racial hatred or extremism in the Marine Corps. Our strength is derived from the individual excellence of every Marine regardless of background. Bigotry and racial extremism run contrary to our core values.” a Marines spokesperson said in a statement to the newspaper.
Pistolis is from Charlotte and attended Ardrey Kell High School, the Observer reported in May. He graduated from the school in 2016, Principal David Switzer confirmed.
His father, George Pistolis, told the Observer in May that he had no knowledge of his son’s alleged ties to neo-Nazis and declined to give a comment on the allegations.
The Atomwaffen Divison is recognized by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an extremist group with neo-Nazi ideology. Members say they are preparing for a race war in the United States, ProPublica and Frontline PBS reported.