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Supporting Materials for Sir! No Sir!
Connie Investigation Begins
The recent incidents on the KITTY HAWK, the CONSTELLATION, and other ships have brought Navy racism into the open. Faced with open rebellion by blacks, the government has been forced to react. Officials have expressed a double-edged concern about the problem of racism and about the breakdown of military discipline. They have appointed commissions, scheduled hearings and drafted suggestions that will probably attack the second problem more directly than the first.
---Rep. Floyd Hicks has started hearings in the House Armed Services Subcommittee on "alleged racial and disciplinary problems" on Navy ships. The chairman of the sub-committee, F. Edward Hebert, stated, "I share the concern of many members of Congress over the apparent breakdowns of discipline in the Navy."
---Adm. Zumwalt made a similar expression of concern, stating he felt the "resolution of our racial tension" was very important, but adding "and let me stress here as well as later on, I mean resolution within the framework of disciplined orderly military operations. " He stated general goals of creating an atmosphere in which discrimination would be unacceptable, punishing officers who discriminate and rewarding those effective in implementing policy on improving race relations.
---Following these general statements, a specific order has come down that all navy flag officers will have to attend seminars on racial problems before next May.
---In a related story, a Pentagon taskforce appointed in April to study nonjudicial punishment reported recently the racist use of Art. 15s (Captain's Mast) must be ended if racial strife in the military is to be ended. The authors of this report stated that they feel their report was as broad in scope in racial strife in the military as the Kerner Commission was civil disorders.
Camp News, vol. 3, no. 12