Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

What Was Matt Heimbach’s “Distinguished Service” to the SCV?

Posted in Memory by Andy Hall on August 31, 2013
Heimbach SCV
Matt Heimbach (center) receives his membership in the SCV through the Col. William Norris Camp #1398 at Gaithersburg, Maryland, March 1, 2011. Just over a year later Heimbach would be awarded one of the national organization’s highest decorations. From the camp’s April 2011 newsletter.

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Matt Heimbach — founder of the White Student Union at Towson University, dabbler in Nazi ideology, and current darling of white supremacy movement — was awarded a Distinguished Service Medal (below, right) at the SCV annual meeting in Murfreesboro last year, along with “many of our own Va Flaggers.” This is according to this announcement, apparently from the Virginia Flaggers themselves, posted on several websites:

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MedalAt the same time the Flaggers were at the Hanover Tomato Festival AND Flagging the VMFA, the Sons of Confederate Veterans were holding their National Reunion in Murfreesboro, TN.  We were thrilled to learn that many of our own Va Flaggers received recognition for their work over the past year, including:
 
Commander-in-Chief’s Award:  Everette Ellis
Commendation Award:  Jamie Funkhouser
Heritage Defense Medal:  Billy Bearden, Jamie Funkhouser
Meritorious Service Medal:  Everette Ellis, Bob Harris, Ashleigh Moody, Mike Pullen,  and Tracy Wright
Distinguished Service Medal: Billy Bearden, Matthew Heimbach, Grayson Jennings, Tommy Thomas, Capt. Tucker, Willie Wells
Commander-In-Chief’s Ladies Appreciation Award:  Susan Hathaway

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There are a couple of interesting things about this. First, Matt Heimbach is explicitly embraced as one of “our own Va. Flaggers.” If the Flaggers themselves claim him as one of “our own,” that settles it for me.

Second, I’m really curious about what sort of “distinguished service” Heimbach did to receive such a prestigious award. According to the SCV’s most updated award manual (PDF), the Distinguished Service Medal is a national-level award, presented to SCV members who “have served the SCV in an outstanding manner for an extended period of time in a position of responsibility.” Heimbach only joined the organization in 2011 (above), which doesn’t seem to fit with the award’s requirement for recipients to hold “a position of responsibility” for “an extended period of time.” It’s hard to imagine many 21-year-olds receiving that award, so evidently the SCV national organization recognized Matt Heimbach’s little-more-than-a-year tenure as being especially “outstanding” in furthering the SCV’s goals.

How, exactly?

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Update, September 2: In August 2011 Heimbach received the SCV’s Army of Northern Virginia Scholarship, an award that includes “monetary renumeration, a certificate and an ANV medal.” So during the 2011-12 academic year, when Heimbach was serving as President of Towson’s Youth for Western Civilization, chalking up “White Pride” grafitti around campus and calling for the hanging of Nelson Mandela, he was doing it at least partly on the SCV’s nickel. Oops.

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GeneralStarsGray

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19 Responses

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  1. Jeffrey Fiddler said, on August 31, 2013 at 11:05 am

    Well, how about heading this: It’s about heritage not hate…..?????????????

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    • Andy Hall said, on August 31, 2013 at 11:45 am

      Heimbach is a singularly loathsome creature, but there’s a high tolerance of views and associations like his, so long as they’re cloaked in benign code words. Confederate Heritage folks make a big show of despising the Klan and Nazis, for example, but don’t say much about folks like Heimbach, J. Michael Hill (League of the South), Michael Cushman (Southern Nationalist Network) and Brad Griffin, who share many of the same beliefs, but often use loftier, more sophisticated language in articulating them.

  2. Andy Hall said, on September 1, 2013 at 1:29 am

    Corey Meyer reminds us that Matt Heimbach subsequently took his mad flagging skillz to the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery. Susan, Tripp and the crew back in the Old Dominion must be very proud.

  3. Jimmy Dick said, on September 1, 2013 at 11:46 am

    It’s pretty conclusive that the Virginia Flaggers are like a lot of groups of various types out there. They don’t want to prevent anyone from their groups because they really don’t have that many people without the extremists. The extremists don’t have a problem expelling anyone from their groups once they take them over like the League of the South is doing.

    Andy, I think you all are doing a wonderful job of exposing the putrid mess that is driving the various heritage groups right into the ranks of the racist white supremacists. They’re not about history and they’re rapidly turning away from heritage. It’s all about hate now. They’re being co-pted left and right by people who do use that flag for a symbol of racism.

    • Andy Hall said, on September 1, 2013 at 12:09 pm

      This process has been going on for a long time. A lot of Confederate Heritage folks have so convinced themselves that the bad guys are the ones in white sheets burning crosses, that unless that see those things, they have no idea what a group actually stands for. They read some high-toned rhetoric about the nobility of Southerners, pride in the South and standing up against the “leftists,” and by golly, they’re all for that. Groups like the League of the South, American Renaissance and Heimbach’s own Traditionalist Youth have played into that, by dropping the older, more explicitly violent and confrontational language, but they still believe and promote mostly the same core ideologies.

      Along with that, they’ve also convinced themselves that any and all criticism of their activities is groundless, and so it’s immediately dismissed as just so much background noise.

      That said, I have no idea what this dude believes in.

  4. Michael Rodgers said, on September 1, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    Voltaire’s wisdom leads us to focus on the truth of history, and the truth has no stronger advocate than you, Andy. The SCV should honor you.

    Instead their up is down, black is white, heritage is history provocation is defense mindset leads them to horror, not honor.

    • Andy Hall said, on September 1, 2013 at 12:57 pm

      They provide a lot of good material to work with. They haven’t seemed yet to figure out that virtually every criticism directed their way by myself or others began with a press release or image or YouTube video they themselves put out.

      I’m sure they’re unhappy that they may get some grief for embracing someone like Matt Heimbach. Then again, they seem to see that as something separate and unconnected from embracing someone like Matt Heimbach.

  5. Neil Hamilton said, on September 3, 2013 at 11:13 pm

    Andy,

    It seems like the excuse is “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” If any organization reaches this point, where it will accept support from the likes of Matt Heimbach, they have not only lost their way, their point, and their one-time goals, but their very souls.

    Sincerely,
    Neil

    • Andy Hall said, on September 4, 2013 at 8:34 am

      Heimbach is a little different case because he’s working in an activist mode (and has been getting public attention for it since well before his Flagger parade marching), but there seems to be a high tolerance for old-fashioned bigotry and casual racial nastiness among some subsets of Confederate heritage types. References to the NAACP as the “tan klan” are common and unremarked-upon. Not long ago a member on SHPG showed up and commented on “coon” King and talked about how he celebrated when MLK “got popped.” He was admonished for posting that comment there, but not asked to leave, or removed. They don’t seem to care much if their members hold those views, so long as they express them elsewhere, in a way that doesn’t reflect immediately back on the group. What matters is their fealty to heritage; we’ve already seen two very prominent Flaggers, Billy Bearden and Tripp Lewis, come to the defense of Heimbach’s commitment to honoring his Confederate ancestors.

      But more broadly, yeah — they’re much more angry about people exposing the stupid/ridiculous/offensive stuff that goes on in their ranks, than they are with the people doing the stupid/ridiculous/offensive stuff in the first place.

  6. Woodrowfan said, on September 5, 2013 at 7:40 am

    and now he’s hanging out with neo-Nazis ranting about Jews and revolution. My, my, my, the flaggers are such good judges of character, aren’t they.

    http://littlegreenfootballs.com/page/301092_Racist_Former_Student_Leader_M

    • Andy Hall said, on September 5, 2013 at 8:52 am

      Heimbach’s open infatuation with Nazis seems to be of more recent vintage, although it also lies in a more-or-less straight progression from the white identity activism he’s been espousing for a couple of years, at least – these views tend to exist on a continuum, not in discrete, mutually-exclusive boxes. He’s apparently hanging around Stormfront these days, and has spoken openly about sharing a room with a National Socialist at the recent LoS convention, and discovering that they agree “on the fundamentals.” (Yes, the LoS attracts out-and-proud Nazis, too, also presumably “on the fundamentals.’)

      But Heimbach was a known quantity in 2011-12, when he was busy stirring up trouble at Towson with the YWC. That’s what makes his medal from the national SCV the following summer, and the Flaggers’ proud announcement of that award as being to one of “our own Va. Flaggers” notable. Billy Bearden has assured us that the awards — he received the same award at the same time — go through a rigorous review and vetting process, but that apparently doesn’t involve use of the Google machine.

      I’ve said before (as have others) that I don’t believe the Flaggers share Heimbach’s views on race. I also don’t think they cared, so long as he could march with them (as he did) or be cited as an example of their success (as he was). It’s only when he gets exposed for what he is, and was even then, that they’re anxious to insist that they had nothing to do with him. Even so, both Tripp Lewis and Billy Bearden have come to his defense, insisting that Heimbach’s “a good guy” and that what’s important is his commitment to Confederate heritage. I believe them when they say that, at least as far as their priorities are concerned. Some of us try to look at the larger picture, though.

  7. Michael Rodgers said, on September 7, 2013 at 7:59 am

    The SCV has three problems: (1) external antagonism, (2) internal sabotage, and (3) structural relationships.

    The first thing for the SCV to do to solve the …

    first problem is to recognize that critics like Andy are not antagonists but friends. Alas, the SCV very typically (but not always: they do a lot of good work that we don’t hear about) chooses to seek to create more external antagonism, making the problem worse instead of better.

    second problem is to recognize that Matt Heimbach does is not a lifetime-award winning honoree but a horrific saboteur. He’s using the SCV and undermining them and they’re paying him and giving him awards to do it? Wow, that’s a problem.

    third problem is to recognize that the UDC, first of all, and all the other war (not just Civil) remembrance organizations, next, are all — and should be — interested in the same thing, which is to investigate, understand, and explain the war experience from the perspective of the soldier and his/her family.

    OK, that’s my diagnosis and advice, to take to heart or to ignore. My perspective is that of a problem-solver who likes people and organizations to achieve the best that they can achieve. I think that my state is held back by people who prefer to be disagreeable to each other instead of just disagreeing and by failing to live up to Coski’s call for government displays of the Confederate flag to be such that it is seen “as an unambiguously historical or memorial symbol.”

  8. pycarecen said, on September 7, 2013 at 9:36 am

    I’m sorry, but in all of the concern over a Jew-hating racist Neo-Nazi, you guys missed the real import of the Flagger post: “At the same time the Flaggers were at the Hanover Tomato Festival”! What the heck do tomatoes have to do with Confederate Heritage? My understanding is that tomato cultivation began in Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala 2,500 years ago. Shouldn’t the flags of those countries, that gave us salad’s best ingredient be flown at the Hanover Tomato Festival? Why the Confederate flag? The fact that many of the tomatoes at the Festival were likely picked by people from those countries is a further argument for the heritage of the tomato to be truthfully depicted. The tomato is the number one Central American immigrant to this country. Let’s fly the green red and white flag of Mexico and the blue and whites of Central America at all tomato festivals in Virginia. Return the flags. Restore the honor. Eat a tomato.

    By adopting this crusade, the flaggers will show they are not just a bunch of bitter old white people. They will extend a welcoming hand to the very people whose own ancestors made fried green tomatoes and ketchup-based barbeque sauces possible and acknowledge the uncompensated appropriation of this lovely fruit by North Americans like themselves.

    Que Dios le bendiga y su tomate.

    • Andy Hall said, on September 7, 2013 at 11:27 am

      You’re having too much fun.

      • pycarecen said, on September 7, 2013 at 12:11 pm

        That’s why I go on Dead Confederates!

    • Jolene Blow said, on September 8, 2013 at 12:54 am

      Wow, you’re full of hate, pycarecen

      • Andy Hall said, on September 8, 2013 at 9:26 am

        Not hate. Ridicule. Much more effective, and healthier, too.

    • Woodrowfan said, on September 11, 2013 at 5:07 pm

      . . . and tomatoes were a key ingredient used by the “Negro Cooks Regiment” discussed here some time ago!

      • Pat Young said, on September 12, 2013 at 11:13 am

        So they really are very rainbowey.

        Of course there were the all-white tomatoes that the Conservative Citizens Council tried to get people to eat.


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