Library - Reading Room
Supporting Materials for Sir! No Sir!
Armed Forces Day
Armed Forces Day, May 16: All across the U.S., the paranoia of the Brass was so great that the threat of GI demonstrations (real or imagined) was enough to cause the Brass to cancel their regularly scheduled Armed Forces Day "celebrations" at the following bases: Ft. Ord, California; Grissom AFB, Indiana; Ft. Banning, Georgia; Ft. Jackson, South Carolina; Ft. Meade, Maryland; Ft. Bragg, North Carolina; Grand Forks AFB, North Dakota; Key West, Florida; Sacramento, California; Goldsboro, North Carolina; Ft. Polk, Louisiana; Quantico, Virginia; Andrews AFB, Virginia; McDill AFB, Florida; Phoenix City, Alabama; Great Lakes Naval TC, Illinois; U.S. Army Aviation Systems Center, St. Louis, Missouri; U.S. Army Tank Center, Detroit, Michigan; Charleston Naval Base, South Carolina; Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Maryland; Ft. Rucker, Alabama; Pickitanny Army Base, New Jersey; Ft. Dix, New Jersey; Altus AFB, Oklahoma; Ft. Monmouth, New Jersey; Bunker Hill, Indiana; Pope AFB, North Carolina; Cairns Army Air Field, Alabama.
So far as we have been able to ascertain, GIs held actions on the following bases the weekend of May 16:
Fort Dix, New Jersey: 3000 people attempted a repeat of last October's successful march onto the base. Marchers were gassed. Few GIs were present at the rally, as they had been ordered restricted to base.
Fort Devens, Massachusetts: GIs and civilians held a picnic and some 70-80 civilians leafletted the base. First issue of a bi-weekly newspaper, Morning Report, distributed.
Fort Bragg, North Carolina: GIs held a rally of over 3000 people, about 750 of them GIs. Following the rally people moved onto the base and leafletted. Speeches by Mark Lane, Jane Fonda, Rennie Davis, and GIs.
Fort Meade, Maryland: GIs held a march and rally towards the base. 500-600 people, with about 100 GIs present. There were speeches by Abbie Hoffman, Sue Schnall, a Black Panther, GIs, and revolutionaries from Spain.
Fort Benning, Georgia: GIs put the military on trial, heard testimony from the audience, and found it guilty of war crimes, genocide, etc. About 500 people, with 150 GIs. First anti-war action in the history of Columbus, Georgia.
Fort McClellan, Alabama GIs led the way, holding the first antiwar demonstration ever in Anniston.
Grissom AFB Indiana GIs leafletted the post May 16. A May 17 rally was disrupted by right-wingers, with no chance for GIs to speak.
Camp Pendleton, California: Marines were restricted to the base. Army guys held a rally and march. About 5000 people, 200 GIs, heard Tom Hayden, a Black Panther, and others. Platoons assigned to riot control received for the first time orders to shoot to kill in case of disturbances on the base. Units known to be sympathetic were put on riot control but were not given ammunition.
Charleston Naval Base, South Carolina: GIs held a rally, their first anti-war demonstration. About 1000 attended, with about 200 GIs. Rennie Davis was among the speakers.
Fort Riley, Kansas: John Froines and an editor of th AWOL Press (local GI paper) spoke to a rally of 1300 people, 400 of them GIs. First action of this sort.
Fort Lewis, Washington: GIs held an all day festival-picnicworkshop. About 200 people came, with about 50 or 60 GIs.
Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota: GIs and GI Wives for Peace held Friday, May 15, workshops with Dave Dellinger, John Froines, and Phil Ochs. Saturday, about 1000 people demonstrated in an anti-ABM action at Nekoma, N.D.
Fort Hood, Texas: 800-900 people marched through iKilleen to a rally, almost all of them GIs. Another 500 followed on the sidewalks.
Fort Carson, Colorado: GIs held a festival of life in Colorado Springs, attended by about 500 people, about 30 of them GIs.
Fort Ord, California: The Brass freaked out. GIs held a march and rally. 3000-4000 people, with about 100 GIs. Most GIs were assigned to their barracks, riot control training or make-work details. Trenches were dug along the edge of the Post fronting on Route 1, and miles of sharpened concertina wire had been rolled out in case the marchers charged.
Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana: GIs held a festival of life and workshops. 600-700 came for the afternoon, with 150-175 GIs. Speakers included a WWI veteran.
Fort Bliss, Texas: It was People's Armed Forces Day at Ft. Bliss, as GIs held a folk and rock music festival, with about 1000 GIs.
Great Lakes Naval Training Center, Chicago, Illinois: Over 500 demonstrators rallied and heard speaches May 16. The Armed Forces Day displays were cancelled due to what Rear Admiral H.S. Ronkin called the threat of "dissident elements."
And, of course, Chanute ....
A Four Year Bummer, vol. 2, no. 4