Military chiefs weigh in after Trump's Charlottesville comments

People gather for a vigil in response to the death of a counter-demonstrator at the

Top US generals issue veiled criticism of Donald Trump's Charlottesville comments: 'The Army doesn't tolerate racism ...

And to the extent the service chiefs realize they're also messaging the president, she said that "they are probably reminding Trump of that, as well".

The military's first reaction came from Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson, who on Saturday night issued a news release calling the bloodshed in Charlottesville "shameful".

"We grow up and learn to obey the chain of command, and my chain of command is secretary of the Army, secretary of Defence and the president", Mr Milley said.

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller wrote on Twitter Tuesday evening that there is "no place for racial hatred or extremism" in the Marines.

From left, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein appeared on Capitol Hill in September to testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Army chief Gen. Milley told CNN on Wednesday that he tweeted for one reason only: "My message is to the troops".

"It's against our Values and everything we've stood for since 1775", he said, also on Twitter. "Our core values of Honour, Courage, and Commitment frame the way Marines live and act", he said on Twitter.

The Air Force's chief of staff, Gen. David Goldfein, and the chief of the National Guard Bureau, Air Force Gen. Joseph Lengyel, issued statements later Wednesday saying they "stand with" their fellow service leaders.

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Lengyl added: "Our diversity is our strength".

Defense officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they were unaware of any active-duty servicemembers who were under investigation for participating in the demonstrations. One woman died and 19 were injured when a vehicle, which police said was driven by 20-year-old James Alex Fields Jr. of OH, slammed into people demonstrating along a crowded, narrow street near the University of Virginia.

Fields, who is charged with second-degree murder in the death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer, was recruited by the Army and sent to basic training in August 2015.

The leader of one of the groups that participated in the rally is said to be a Marine veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and later worked as a recruiter.

Dillon Ulysses Hopper describes himself as the "CEO" of the Vanguard America neo-Nazi hate group, according to a Task & Purpose report.

In a raucous exchange with reporters Tuesday at Trump Tower in New York, Trump expressed sympathy for those who seek to preserve statues and monuments to Confederate leaders from the Civil War even as numerous communities moved to take them down as a gesture of racial healing.

The 82nd Airborne Division, whose paratroopers jumped into Europe to defeat the Nazis, used Twitter on Monday to disavow a man photographed giving a Nazi salute while wearing a hat with the division's insignia.

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