(CNN) -- The military is investigating a "shocking and deplorable" YouTube video that seems to show a Marine throwing a puppy off a rocky cliff.
The black-and-white puppy makes a yelping sound as it flies through the air.
"That's mean, that was mean," one companion says off-camera, addressing the alleged puppy thrower by his last name. The fate of the animal is not known.
The Marine is identified on the video and in other Internet postings as a lance corporal stationed at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe.
It's not clear where the video was shot, although the man who appears to throw the puppy and another Marine are in full combat gear with helmets.
"This is a shocking and deplorable video that is contrary to the high standards that we set for every Marine," Marine Corps spokesman Maj. Chris Perrine said at a news conference Monday night.
"We will investigate this and take appropriate actions," Perrine said. Watch other Marines and civilians react to the video »
He said the Marine is being kept safe in view of the anger over the alleged incident.
Perrine added that the majority of Marines conduct themselves honorably.
"There are many examples of Marines who adopt pets and bring them back from Iraq and demonstrate their compassion on a daily basis," he said.
If the video is deemed legitimate, the lance corporal could face a charge of conduct unbecoming a Marine, Perrine said. There could be administrative action, nonjudicial punishment or a court-martial, he added.
"It's all governed by the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and anything from reduction in pay to reduction in rank to confinement to discharge from the Marine Corps" is possible, Perrine said. If others are involved, they too will be disciplined, he said.
"Certainly, there's a lot of outrage, and a lot of people are upset about it. I think every Marine is upset about this video," he said. "We hope that it turns out not to be what it looks like." E-mail to a friend