The U.S. Army is directing troops to remove a Bible inscription that a vendor etched into the serial numbers of weapon scopes, Fox News has learned.
Soldiers at Fort Wainwright in Alaska told Fox News they received a directive to turn in their scopes so the Bible references could be removed.
The scopes were made by Trijicon and referenced New Testament passages in John 8:12 and Second Corinthians 4:6. The verses appeared at the end of the scope serial numbers – “JN8:12” and “2COR4:6.”
“The biblical verse (JN8:12) must be removed utilizing a dremel type tool and then painted black,” read instructions on how to remedy the matter.
After the letters and numbers were scraped off, soldiers were directed to use apply black paint to ensure the verses were totally covered.
“The vendor etched those inscriptions on scopes without the Army’s approval,” Army spokesman Matthew Bourke told Fox in a written statement. “Consequently, the modified scopes did not meet the requirement under which the contract was executed.”
Bourke said the vendor agreed to remove all Bible references on future deliveries. “Some of these scopes had already been fielded,” Bourke explained. “Corrective measures were taken to remove inscriptions during the RESET/PRESET process in order to avoid a disruption in combat operations.”
A similar issue came to light during a 2010 investigation by ABC News. At the time the Army and Marine Corps said they were unaware of the biblical markings.
Trijicon did not return phone calls seeking comment. A company spokesman told ABC News in 2010 that the inscriptions had always been on the sights and there was nothing wrong or illegal with including them.
The company told ABC they believed the issue had been raised by a group that is “not Christian.”
One of the Fort Wainwright soldiers who received the order to remove the inscription told Fox News that hardly anyone was aware of the religious reference.
“It blows my mind,” the solider said. “It doesn’t help the Army do its mission to take off a biblical reference.”
The soldier, who is a Christian, said he had to comply so “someone doesn’t get offended.”
“We have classes on equal opportunity – things that are clearly irrelevant to our mission – which is to kill the enemy.”