The leader of the neo-Nazi group that James Fields marched with in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday before allegedly killing a protester with his car served in the US marine corps until earlier this year.
Dillon Hopper, the self-styled “commander” of Vanguard America, is a recently retired marine staff sergeant and veteran of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Members of his white supremacist group marched in Virginia last weekend.
Hopper, 29, has been using his former name, Dillon Irizarry, when appearing in public for Vanguard America. But he officially changed his name to Dillon Ulysses Hopper in November 2006, according to court records in his native New Mexico.
Hopper’s active duty with the marines ended in January this year, according to a Department of Defense record. He has lived in California and Ohio since returning to the US. Hopper’s full service record could not immediately be obtained. His Facebook avatar is currently a cartoon image of Donald Trump building a wall.
Hopper and Vanguard America did not respond to messages seeking comment. Hopper’s identity was first reported by Splinter.
Fields, a 20-year-old military bootcamp dropout from Maumee, Ohio, has been charged with crimes including murder after allegedly driving his Dodge Challenger into a crowd of people in Charlottesville who were demonstrating against the far-right. The crash killed 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injured about 20 others.
Fields had been photographed standing among members of Vanguard America earlier in the day. He was pictured holding a shield bearing the group’s logo and was wearing the same distinctive outfit – white polo shirt and khakis – as many Vanguard members. The group has said, however, that Fields is not a member.
Vanguard America is only about a year old. It is one of a handful of new white supremacist organizations that are attempting to radicalize young white men across the country. Its manifesto is racist and its website URL references the Nazi slogan “blood and soil”. The group bars people who are not of white European heritage.
Hopper was promoted to staff sergeant by the marines in October last year, according to a local news report, and had been due to “train, teach and mentor” potential marine officers. The article said Hopper had joined the military shortly after graduating from high school in Roswell, New Mexico, in 2005.
In a speech to fellow Nazis in Pikeville, Kentucky, earlier this year, Hopper said that since taking over the leadership of American Vanguard he had tried to strengthen the group with lessons learned from his time in the military.
“I’ve kind of tooken [sic] that experience and scrubbed the Vanguard pretty good with it,” Hopper said, “and I’m getting a pretty good product.”
In an interview with the Guardian in May, a Vanguard America organizer from Texas, who would identify himself only as a “vice commander” named Thomas, said that a “large percentage” of Vanguard’s members are college-aged, and that most are in their early twenties. Members must be aged between 18 and 45.
Like Identity Evropa, a similar white nationalist group, Vanguard America seeks to recruit clean-cut, more professional white men, rebranding racist organizing in a preppier image. Visible neck and hand tattoos, for instance, are discouraged, and one organizer said that obese men would be disqualified from joining.
“We also uphold standards of dress and grooming and physical fitness because our ideology is one of strength and purity and self-improvement,” he said.
Thomas would not provide any details about the group’s process for vetting members, other than to say that it included an interview. A questionnaire once used by the group for screening, which was obtained by the Guardian, asked for details of applicants’ professions, beliefs and criminal histories. It asked how often they consumed tobacco or alcohol and “how long you’ve been ‘red pilled’,” a phrase used on the far-right to mean aware of supposed difficult truths.
Vanguard America has attracted attention by putting up racist posters on college campuses in areas such as Maryland, Washington DC and Texas.
In May, a 23-year-old black college student was stabbed to death by a white man on the University of Maryland’s campus. Richard Collins III, was about to graduate, and had just been commissioned as a second lieutenant in the US army.
The alleged killer had been part of a Facebook group named “Alt-Reich”, authorities said. The Vanguard America spokesman objected to links between made between Collins’s stabbing and the white nationalist posters that had appeared on campus.
“There are murders of all ideologies,” he said, going on to say: “We don’t promote this kind of action.”
Jon Swaine and Lois Beckett/ The Guardian/ In red an below are the Publisher of adamfoxie*blog International postings.
For future reference anyone I know and this blog is convinced of, any person that marched on Charlottesville, Charlotte, fighting as a member or admirer or accidentally there, of the KKK and Ultra right, White supremacy groups,
Will be posted here and their back grounds, for thousands here and abroad
to see for years to come.
For whomever decided to hit people over the head because they hated slavery and believed there is no white supremacy as long as this people defecate the same shit as everyone else.
This country fought mainly for Slavery. There would have been no civil war if there was no slavery and no emancipation speech by President Abraham Lincoln to start the process of being human again. Without slavery what ever issues there were would have been solved. Lincoln was warned but he knew he had no choice. Slavery had to go! Lincoln had to keep the union together.
To allow another nation to grow with slaves right next to the union would have been suicide for both and there would have been other wars to settle disputes. North Korea keeps slaves and look the problem we are having with them and they are at the point they can destroy another nation and they are on the other side of the world.
You don't need to have religion (I don't) to have decency and not abuse others to make you rich. That was the main issue happening and in this country and it started with our forefathers.
Slavery ended but the South somehow wanted to rewrite history so thy could feel good about themselves and so they wanted the conversation to be about fighting for their believes and how brave was their fighting. All true but their believes were to make money on men, women and children's back, health and lives.
They continued over the decades to separate blacks from whites like if they were better and so they told themselves. Well, Mr. Dillon and Mr.James Fields no such thing can be true. If you and others like you don't have a moral compass, plenty of us do!